Within hours of Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi's Master hitting the screens for Pongal, the film was leaked online. Piracy website TamilMV, which earlier in the day carried leaked videos from the film, uploaded the entire movie on their site. Directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, Master was supposed to release in theatres last April but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Previously, leaked videos from Master were being circulated online and the film's crew had appealed to fans not to pass on the clips. The Tamil film industry has been fighting an endless battle against online piracy. However, despite attempts to put an end to the practice, new movies have routinely found their way to online piracy websites.
In October last year, the domain of notorious piracy website TamilRockers was blocked, reportedly due to the intervention of Amazon. Several new releases on the Over-the-Top platform had been leaked on TamilRockers within hours of the premiere. This includes Ponmagal Vandhal and Penguin.
In November, Suriya's Soorarai Pottru was leaked hours before the official premiere on Amazon Prime Video and the film was also circulating on Telegram. The film was the first big budget Tamil film to release directly on OTT.
Master has Vijay Sethupathi playing the antagonist. The film also stars Malavika Mohanan and Andrea Jeremiah. Master is the first major Tamil film to hit theatres after they reopened with 50% occupancy. Earlier, after Vijay met the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, the state government permitted 100% occupancy in theatres. But following wide criticism and a rap from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Madras High Court, the permission was revoked. Apart from Master, Silambarasan's Eeswaran has also released for Pongal.
This is Vijay's first collaboration with Lokesh Kanagaraj who made the superhit film Kaithi with Karthi in the lead. His last film was Bigil which was released for Deepavali 2019 and had him play dual roles.
Watch: Master trailer