Vijay Babu with Ann Augustine in "Nee-Na". Image Credit:

Expat life makes you miss the goodness of your mother’s home-cooked food, your local hang-out spot or the movies that are being shown in your neighbourhood theatre.

Three 22-year olds from Kochi — Blaise Crowly, Vivek Paul and Gautham Vyas — have come up with what they say is a solution for the latter part of Malayali expat problems.

The three developed, which aims to provide Malayali movies online globally at the same time as they release in theatres. According to Paul, 80 per cent of Indian film piracy occurs outside of the country due to lack of accessibility and high costs.

The site launched on July 20 with 15 movies including Nee-Na by Lal Jose, Njan Steve Lopez by Rajeev Ravi and Compartment by Salimkumar; prices are from Rs180 (Dh10.50) for a movie.

“During my European tour, I met many Malayalis who complained about their inability to watch new Malayalam movies as and when it was released in India,” said Jose in a statement. “They also shared that they were forced to watch pirated versions as they had no option to watch them legally.”

tabloid! caught up with two of the founders, Crowly and Paul, to find out more about their website.

What gave you the idea for the website?

Crowly: Four years ago, when I was on the phone with a friend, both of us were really bored as there were no new movies available online with good quality. That’s where I got the idea to start the website. It was a lengthy process as it took one year for market research and another year to perfect the technology. Last October we had the active launch, which was successful.

How does your website work against piracy?

Paul: Our website works on a pay-per-download system. A person has a username through which they can log in and download a movie. Our technology assures that movies that are bought can only be downloaded once onto one system. The movies cannot be shared or copied from one system to another. However, once downloaded, the films can be watched any number of times.

How did you convince filmmakers to be a part of your website?

Paul: Less than 30 per cent of Malayalis across the world have access to the latest content. We introduced our technology to the Kerala Producers Association and we came up with a licensing agreement. We have left it up to the producers to choose which countries they wish to showcase their content. We also work on a revenue sharing model where the producer gets 70 per cent of the revenue. The price per movie will be Rs180, but those with HD quality will cost Rs300. Producers can track how their films are performing through a dashboard.

Will be available in the UAE?

Paul: For now Compartment by Salimkumar and Njan Steve Lopez by Rajeev Ravi will be released in the UAE. We plan to add two or three more movies to this list. Every week new content will be available.

Do you plan on expanding your website to include movies from other regions?

Paul: Yes, we have plans to diversify in the next three months. We are already in talks with the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries and are hoping to approach Bollywood in the coming months as well.