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Akhtar has divided the industry

TheRowdiest IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 17 February 2006
Posts: 30077

Posted: 23 December 2010 at 4:12pm | IP Logged

'Akhtar has divided the industry'

Vickey Lalwani, MUMBAI MIRROR, Dec 24, 2010, 12.00am IST

The government is amending its copyright laws to protect singers and lyricists. Bollywood is responding to this with a strike on Jan 6. 

It's a shrill climax to an old story, starring the poor writer with rubber chappals and the producer in his Mercedes. Now the writer wants his due for that chartbuster that earned the producer his Mercedes in the first place. 

Earlier this month, the Parliamentary Standing Committee, headed by Oscar Fernandes, presented its Copyright Amendment Report. 

Buzz is that the Bill will be passed early next year. But producers are very upset with this new Copyright Act, because it will give composers and lyricists a share over income earned on their work. 

Producers are loath to any such provisions. Producers have called for a strike on 6 January 2011. "No film unit will shoot anything, come what may," says a source. 

Confirming this, senior producer Pahlaj Nihalani said, "Yes, there will be a strike on 6 January. Producers khatam ho chuke hain. We are giving the composers sufficient money. Out of 100 films only the music of around 10 sells. Why should every music-related person in every film become a shareholder?" 

Nihalani said that lyricist Javed Akhtar has been chiefly responsible in getting the Bill passed against the producers. "I fail to understand why the government is siding with Akhtar. This government is anti-film industry to begin with. And Akhtar has divided the industry," said Nihalani. 

Rakesh Roshan, who is also actively involved in spearheading the producers' campaign against this copyright amendment (and who incidentally had also once coughed up Rs 2 crore to Ram Sampath for plagiarising his music, as per a Bombay High Court order) refused to comment. 

Javed Akhtar said, "Yes, I am aware that the producers have called for a strike on January 6. But it's a strange situation. Why a token strike? They should go for a lockout. They are the owners, we are just the workers," he said sarcastically. 

Continued Akhtar, "Everybody can express his happiness or unhappiness in some way or the other. I think there are still other ways to get their point across, they should talk to the concerned bureaucrats. But then, to my best knowledge, I think they have already done that. 

And if their point of view has not been accepted, then I think they should review their point of view. You know what, I think that most producers are missing the point." 

Added Akhtar, "We are expecting the bill to be passed in February. What we have asked for is completely ethical and justified." 

When contacted, lyricist Sameer told Mumbai Mirror, "The bill is in our favour. Sirf thapa lagna baki hai. I am surprised that producers are sill so hung up on their stand. 

The copyright rule which they're opposing, which will hopefully come into force, exists all over the world. Why are our producers so against it?" Paying up is not music to anyone's ears.

TheRowdiest IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 17 February 2006
Posts: 30077

Posted: 23 December 2010 at 4:22pm | IP Logged

Javed muted

The film industry is known for being one big family. But after the copyright issue, in which famed lyricist Javed Akhtar lobbied in parliament for the rights of writers and singers, a visible crack has appeared in this faade of camaraderie.

The Film Federation of India, the mother body of all film associations, has "advised members of the film federation to not employ the services" of the iconic writer. The decision was taken yesterday morning in Chennai by its newly elected president, T.P. Agrawal. 

When contacted Agrawal put it mildly, saying, "Yes, it is true. We have advised members of the film federation to ban Mr Javed Akhtar till the time that this entire copyrights issue is sorted. Our whole point is that the producer is the one who takes the entire risk.

If Javed Akhtar wants a percentage as royalty, then he should also be liable to incur a percentage of the losses, if any. If we agree to one such demand, then tomorrow the singer will come up, then the music composer, and then the actor and so on.

What will the producer do and how will he make films? The producer won't be able to make any money. I just want to say that if you want royalty, then don't take our money. Merely let's work as a partnership and also share the losses, if any."

When we asked Agrawal what would happen if someone went ahead and still worked with Akhtar, he said, "We can't force anyone but it is an advice given to everyone. We will think about it when the time comes."

Ashoke Pandit, senior executive member of AMPTPP, Association of Motion Pictures & Television Programme Producers, is accusing Javed Akhtar of a more personal agenda. He said, "Why is Javed Akhtar saying this at the fag end of his career? Why didn't he raise these issues when he was at his peak? Basically his whole idea is to not allow any newcomers to mushroom in the industry.

Instead of being with the producer, you are damaging the producer. It's a good thing that everyone has come together and taken a decision."

When contacted Mukesh Bhatt said, "I am not aware of this decision as I have not spoken to either party. However, having said that, I think it is more out of emotions than a decision. I think that the way in which the government has handled the whole copyright issue which has created the divide in the film industry.

As a Senior VP of the Guild my grouse is not against the composer or the lyricist; it is against the government."

Despite repeated calls and text messages to Javed Akhtar, at the time of going to print, he was still unavailable for comment.

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