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Remix row: Javed Akhtar, Sameer demand credit for original lyricists; will take battle to court

The controversy erupted last week after AR Rahman expressed his displeasure at the remixed version of his song 'Masakali.' 

Our Correspondent

It looks like the controversy that was sparked by the release of the single, ‘Masakali 2.0’ is here to stay. Lyricists Sameer and Javed Akhtar have decided to go to court against music labels for not giving credit to original lyricists in the remixed version of old songs. 

Sameer told the news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), “What's happening is not right. We are totally against it and are also planning to take this to court to fight it. Because we give them (music labels) rights for a particular film only, but they're recreating and utilising the songs in different films and projects. I spoke to Javed Akhtar, as he is the chairman of Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), and we all are planning to go to court. That’s the only solution, otherwise they won't stop.” 

The lyricist is specifically upset over the remix of the song ‘Dilbar,’ which he had written for Sirf Tum (1999). The song was remixed in Satyameva Jayate (2018), for which he wasn’t given credit as lyricist. 

“They credited Shabbir Ahmed, who has written only two lines of the song in the beginning. The rest of it all is my original work. In future, how will the coming generation know who's the original writer? The credits are done in a way, they’ll think it’s penned by someone else. Most of the writers who are part of the recreations openly take credit for the new work, on stage and even at award functions. How can they do this?” asked Sameer. 

Citing another example, Sameer added, “Even Javed sahab's song, 'Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga' was recreated by somebody and the writing credit was given to someone else. The worst part is, the person who's writing, they don't know what are the original writer's thoughts. They write anything without connecting with the thought and that's sad.” 

Sameer also raised the point of not giving any monetary compensation to the original writers of the song. “They’re (labels) also not giving a single rupee to them. This is absolutely unethical. It’s our moral right and they can't take it away. If you want to recreate and the original writer is still alive, why don't you approach them and ask them to write whatever extra you want? Because they know we won't be ready to give rights for this. The new writers don't have any morality. They need money to survive, so they take up the work. We have to fight this,” he added. 

The controversy erupted last week after AR Rahman expressed his displeasure at the remix of his song ‘Masakali’ from Delhi 6 (2009). This was soon followed by lyricist Prasoon Joshi and singer Mohit Chauhan, who were associated with the original song, expressing similar thoughts on the remix.