Last week Salman Khan, his director Anees Bazmee and producer Bhushan Kumar could not fully enjoy the premiere of Ready in Dubai. They were sitting tense wondering if the latest legal trouble for the song ‘Character Dheela‘ would stall the Friday release of their costly film.
The trio breathed a collective sigh of relief only when the honourable High Court ruled on Wednesday evening in the producer Bhushan Kumar’s favour.
But Bhushan now wants the honourable Supreme Court’s advice to the lower courts not to entertain last-minute harassment petitions, to be taken far more seriously.
Says the irate producer, “Can you imagine, this gentleman who claims the ‘Character Dheela‘ song is his wanted to stop our 100-crore film for a mere Rs. 45,000? Yes, that’s all he wanted as compensation! There have to be more stringent rules against such eleventh-hour harassment of film producers whose films are attempted to be stalled by petitioners out to make a fast buck.”
The ‘Character Dheela‘ song spelt more trouble for its producers than they had bargained for. Just a few days before the film’s release, the self-styled poet-lyricist Mohameed Turkish Azam, who claimed the current Salman Khan anthem ‘Character Dheela Hai‘ is plagiarized from his repertoire and who lost the case in a lower court, filed a case against the song and the film’s producers in the honourable Mumbai High Court.
Like many big releases before which have faced legal hurdles at the last minute, there was a panicky fear that the release of Ready might be stopped. But the Ready co-producer Bhushan Kumar who was in Dubai for the film’s premiere drops a shocker when he reveals that Azam wanted only Rs. 45,000 as compensation.
Says Bhushan, “With due respects to the legal system, I don’t think any court would take this seriously. And hasn’t the honourable Supreme Court decided that the honourable High Court should not entertain such last-minute arm-twisting tactics? See, legally or morally we didn’t have to pay anything. The Sessions Court had also dismissed his claims with a fully detailed report. And I’m sure when the honourable High Court read the lengthy report from the lower court, it did the same. However, if worse comes to worse we were ready to deposit Rs. 45,000 in the court. He was asking for that sum of money and credit for the song. He wanted to show that the song is his. Yeh ghalat hai.”
Apparently, Azam needs the money. And there’s a fear among the Ready makers that the gentleman may resort to other legal means to stall the film. Says Bhushan Kumar, “With due respects, Azam is not doing well as a lyricist. This is a publicity stunt for him, and not for us, as some seem to think. We’re quite peeved by this unnecessary attempt to put road blocks in front of us. I think he wants to come into the limelight. Why else after the clear lengthy verdict from the Sessions Court did he go to the honourable High Court?”
Bhushan further reveals that Azam is apparently not a part of any authorized writers’ association. “The association he claims to be registered into is not a government-recognized association. Moreover in 2003 there was another song with similar lyrics. And even if as he claims there are 2-3 lines similar in our song to his song, so what? Has he put his lines into any public domain? A cassette? A book? A trade magazine? How is anyone to know you’ve used similar lines until they’re put in the public domain? If he had done so then he could complain of copyright violation.”
Bhushan says he has no problem with giving over compensation money when justified. “But in this case it’s wrong in principle to give him money. There’s something fishy here. Just a few lines ‘Kudiyon Ka Nasha Pyaare Nasha Sabse Nasheela Hai / Jisse Dekho Yahan Woh Husn Ki Baarish Mein Gila Hai‘. Why would a reputed lyricist like Amitabh Bhattacharya steal these lines? What is so great about those lines? Amitabh wrote our song in front of me. He gave us 40 mukhdas. We selected this one. It’s as simple as that.”