Tajdar Amrohi, the son of the late maestro Kamal Amrohi, of the 1972 hit Pakeezah fame, is girding his loins for a battle royal with HMV and the producers of the British movie East is East. The movie, East is East, is an observation of the sub-continent's diaspora coming to terms with the alien culture in London. The first round has gone to East is East, which stars Om Puri. It has won the first round after the plaintiffs, Mahal Pictures Limited, failed to get a stay from a city civil court last week on the release in Bombay. Tajdar Amrohi, of Mahal Pictures Ltd. has threatened to file a suit for damages in the high court before July 10. East is East released promos all over India in private channels. The promos contained snippets of songs from Pakeezah. Tajdar claimed that HMV has cheated him by using the songs in bad taste and without his knowledge. "The songs were being used in a sequence where an English couple are seen smooching," says Amrohi, adding, "First, this is a violation of copyright since our 1971 agreement with HMV entitled them just to manufacture our tapes and records for 10 years. An arrangement with a third party was not part of the contract, which again was not renewed after 10 years." Tajdar Amrohi is asking HMV to share the royalty accrued to its UK subsidiary from the film producers for the usage of the song track and also a cut of the DVD sales of the movie East is East. Tajdar claimed that HMV has deliberately hidden the receipts of royalty payments, as the same was not mentioned in the last set of royalty statements sent by HMV. Officials of Star Entertainment Limited, the distributors of the movie said that the court was satisfied that HMV had the authority to sell the rights to the U.K.-based cine makers. "The producers have given royalty to HMV and the issue is settled," says a Star Entertainment Ltd official, adding, "Two songs from Pakeezah are played in the backdrop for just about a minute each. The number 'Inhi logo ne' plays on the radio as a couple dance to it, and 'Chalo dildar chalo' plays in the background as one of the characters drives a car. Star Entertainment is surprised by the ruckus created by Tajdar over the song usage. Defending himself, Tajdar said that he was not after money but was safeguarding the honor of his late father. He opined that the songs drew people, not to the original film but a farce, which sought to attract people on basis of Pakeezah songs. He said that the reluctance of the music industry to confront bigwigs has resulted in this free-for-all. People refuse to take the trouble of making new songs as they can get away with rehashing old hits. The younger generation, which has grown in the absence of the Pakeezah glory, would be misled into thinking that the songs are a part of the East is East soundtrack. HMV officials were unavailable for comment on Monday. Informed sources, who agree with HMV countered that the songs were used as a comment or commentary on our cultural consciousness, of which Pakeezah had become an inseparable part. The song has not been used for its stand-alone value, rather as a reflection of the Indian consciousness. The film is running in Eros and Cinemax in Bombay. This is one film which has sure spilt out of the sets onto the Gordian labyrinths of the legal world.
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