The upside of downloading

Accessing movies on the Internet and watching them at leisure is the hottest trend. Why pay hundreds of rupees to watch a movie in cinemas when you can stay at home and watch it — downloaded or DVD — at leisure? This is a question many Bangaloreans are asking themselves. While some feel movies are meant to be watched in theatres, others prefer to watch them at home and save money. They watch only 3D movies and exclusive movies in theatres.

“I go to the multiplex depending upon the movie, probably once a month. I prefer to go for the morning show and pay less. Of course, downloading will be easier, but I don’t have the time. Whenever I have the time, I feel I should spend it with my friends at the theatre, eating popcorn and having fun,” says Guruprasad, who never downloads movies.

But for many other tech-savvy youngsters, watching a downloaded movie or a streaming movie from sites such as Youtube seems to be an easier, economical and time-saving method. They prefer downloads as they feel they can watch the movie at leisure and even store it on a DVD or a hard disk, if they like it and feel it is exceptional.

The unlimited download plan that is being provided by BSNL and by most other data service providers seems to be a popular choice as students feel they can save a lot of money.

There are some, however, who are opposed to downloading as it contributes to the piracy market. “I go to the theatre once or twice a month, mostly Gopalan Cinemas or Inox, as they are closer to my home. I mostly watch comedy and action movies in the theatre and go watch them only if they are good. When I go with my friends, it’s a great way to hang out with them. While 3D and action movies are what I would watch in the theatre, I download most of the comedies,” says Sampreeth Bekal, a first year student at SJB Institute of Technology.

Sagar Mathad watches only two out of 10 movies in the theatre. “I watch any movie with a lot of hype in the theatre and I prefer PVR Cinemas as I think it is cheaper. As long as it is not more than Rs 250, I don’t mind paying. However, I do have an unlimited download plan at home. So I download and watch a lot of movies. It is just easier, economical and I can watch it at leisure. Besides, I can watch old movies this way,” he says.

“Why would anybody wish to go to a multiplex and spend a fortune? The movie may also not live up to our expectations. It is a gamble we wish to avoid,” says Vamana, an engineering student. As a result, Vamana now watches her movies downloaded from the Internet, courtesy torrent sites.

Kavya Hebbar, a student of St Joseph's College of Arts and Sciences, is another hardcore fan of watching downloaded movies at home. "I watch action flicks in multiplexes, usually PVR or Inox. I wouldn't mind paying Rs 250 for a really good movie. Otherwise, I prefer to keep the expenditure below Rs 200," says Kavya.

The city’s working population also appears to be increasingly going for downloaded films. Some of them attribute their lack of interest in theatres to cleanliness concerns. “You never know who has been sitting in the chair beside you. It is much easier to download movies from the Internet and watch them in your living room,” opines Ravi Malur, an IT professional.

Malur, who owns a high-speed data connection, prefers to download movies (as per the fair usage policy), before getting on to his daily work on the Internet at home. “The downloading trend is a worldwide phenomenon. You cannot dispute the fact that while multiplexes provide better quality, there is no guarantee that the movie is worth the watch,” he explains.  

Preferred torrent websites that provide pirated content, in some cases legal content if it is old, have kept the service providers and their consumers a happy lot. However, the big question is whether anyone can substitute the thrill of watching a movie in the theatre? While most today would sacrifice the thrill for a cheaper substitute, others say if the movie is worth a watch, people will throng the nearest theatre for a second viewing. In recent years, only a few movies have lived up to their hype. This has only triggered a rise in the number of weekend downloaders.

People watching movies in regional languages prefer to go to the local theatres which screen only movies of a few languages. Sampige Theatre, located next to Mantri Mall in Malleswaram, screens only Tamil and Kannada movies. Kaveri is another popular theatre which screens movies in regional languages only and English movies very rarely. Tickets in these theatres also cost much lesser than in theatres like Inox and PVR Cinemas.
One such fan of regional movies is Abhishek Kulkarni.

“I go to movies rarely as I don’t get much time. I download 90 per cent of my movies and watch only big banner movies like Avatar in the theatre. I prefer to go to Inox theatres, mostly in Garuda Mall or Mantri Mall. When it comes to movies in regional languages, I prefer to watch them in Sampige or Kaveri, sometimes at PVR in Forum Value Mall,” he says.  He feels that money is not an issue if the movie is really good or he really wants to watch it. But, he prefers downloads as they save time and money. “Besides, it saves on the travel time,” adds Kulkarni.


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