December 28, 2010 05:45:56 PM IST Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
The row over whether composers and lyricists should get royalty has got uglier with Javed Akhtar being banned by the Film Federation of India. The producers of the film industry have raised the ante and they do not seem to be in a mood to share the booty from the efforts of the song writer and the music director, as it is being demanded by Javed Akhtar. They need to pause and think for a moment, whether the two biggest hits of the current year Munni Badnam hui from DABANGG and Shiela Ki Jawaani from TEES MAAR KHAN would have got the bumper initial opening at the centres that matter, i.e. Mumbai and Saurashtra. It is the songs which are the medium of publicity for a film and are the initial catalytic factors in bringing the crowds in to the cinema halls.
So far, producers had been enjoying all the benefits after the songs became hit in perpetuity and the original creator of the song, i.e. the song writer and the music director would sit in the sun twiddling their thumbs. With Javed Akhtar leading the way, things could improve for the writers and the music composers. The bone of contention which the producers do want to reconcile to is the "performing rights". Once a song becomes a hit it is performed in all the available platforms all over the world, and those who perform it make a killing out of it, then what is the harm in the original creators' contention that he may also be given his due share. And how much share is he asking for, 12.5% for himself and 12.5% for the music directors, while 75% of the royalty would continue to vest with the producers. Is it a demand that is justified?
All over the world, performing rights vest with the song writers and the music directors, and India is the only country where they have been deprived from these rights. It is after all the intellectual property, and the creator of the intellectual property needs to be given his dues. Javed Akhtar during the course of one of the programmes had informed that when a song writer signs a contract, he has to declare that thenceforth he would not have rights over the song all over the world, and even in different galaxies. If that is the case in reality, then it is a scenario that needs to be corrected.
Scores of singers, music directors etc., all have died in penury, their families have been reduced to abject poverty, but a producer meeting the same fate is a rarity. Producers need to veneer around the fact that in the present times where their films are falling nine a dozen at the box office, it is the creation these song writers that help in bringing the initial crowds at the box office. Both the warring parties need to meet half way down, as the producers are not going to turn pauper if they share 25% of their income that they were pocketing, but would rather earn gratitude from song writers and music directors for this magnanimous effort. And as a gesture of gratitude the song writers and music directors would indeed give them more soulful creations that would set the box office on fire with a vengeance.