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Piracy of ‘Udta Punjab’, ‘Great Grand Masti’ burns Rs 36-cr hole in Balaji’s pocket

MUMBAI: Balaji Motion Pictures, the film production arm of Balaji Telefilms, has incurred an approximate loss of Rs 36 crore (Rs 360 million) due to piracy of two of its movies Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor-starrer ‘Udta Punjab’ and Vivek Oberoi, Ritesh Deshmukh-starrer ‘Great Grand Masti’, which was the third instalment of the ‘Grand Masti’ franchise.

Udta_Punjab“Piracy of our two movies led to a lower profit on ‘Udta Punjab’ and loss on ‘Great Grand Masti’ (released in July 2016), resulting in an approximate loss of revenue of Rs 360 million,” the company said.

‘Udta Punjab’ was leaked online on torrent website allzmovies.in. The owner of the site was later arrested by Mumbai police. ‘Great Grand Masti’ was leaked online three weeks before its release on 22 July, prompting the producers to release it on 15 July.

The company has earned revenue of approximately Rs 18.61 crore (Rs 186.1 million) from the satellite, digital and other rights of ‘Azhar’ and ‘Udta Punjab’. The revenue is expected to accrue to the company in the second quarter of the fiscal.

Further, the company has successfully closed revenue deals for the satellite, overseas, audio and theatrical rights of two upcoming films, Tiger Shroff-starrer ‘A Flying Jatt’ and Arjun Kapoor-starrer ‘Half Girlfriend’ for Rs 68.97 crore (Rs 689.7 million). ‘A Flying Jatt’ will release on 25 August and ‘Half Girlfriend’ in April 2017.

Great Grand MastiBalaji informed that three films are in production and one unnamed in development. It is also working on a Punjabi film titled ‘Super Singh’ with Brat Films. The film is expected to release in the first quarter of FY18. Another Hindi untitled film is under finalisation and is expected to release in Q3 of the next fiscal year.

The motion pictures arm had posted revenues of Rs 53.44 crore (Rs 534.4 million) on the back of ‘Azhar’ (released 13 May) and ‘Udta Punjab’ (17 June). In Q1 of FY16, the company had earned just Rs 1.04 crore (Rs 10.4 million) as there was no major film release during that quarter.

Balaji Motion Pictures posted EBITDA of Rs 31 lakh (Rs 3.1 million) compared to an EBITDA loss of Rs 2.32 crore (Rs 23.2 million) for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year.

The current quarter includes marketing and distribution spends of Rs 12.27 crore (Rs 122.7 million) for ‘Azhar’ and ‘Udta Punjab’ as per the company’s accounting policy and not inventorised to next quarter for its satellite and digital rights monetisation.