Greetings; it's been a long time since we have communicated.
I'm really glad you have decided, along with Mr Javed Akhtar, to fight through legal authorities, to stall the release of the ZANJEER re-make until your terms and conditions are adhered to. It was heartening to learn that you have taken this route. In fact, I believe the Rs 6 crore price tag is too little. It should have been higher than that.
I am of the firm opinion that classics should not be touched. Even if some producer or director has the urge of making money because of 'creative inability' or 'creative lethargy' or 'creative bankruptcy' (or whatever it is that gives them this brilliant idea), there should be a process and also a price tag (to attain the rights) which is so high that it immediately dissuades any such 'creative geniuses'.
In my review of CHASME BADDOOR I mentioned just that: ''In future, I hope a regulatory body [in its bid to protect the creativity of old] is set up to screen remakes. I also hope there is a huge fee on making remakes which would automatically deter producers from venturing into tampering with classics.''
What you are fighting for is justified. Being from the creative field, I can very well understand your thoughts on your work being tampered with. And if at all they do want to make a re-make, then they jolly well pay the price quoted. I know it is too late, but if you can [after consultation with your lawyers] hike up the asking rate; it would do well for the entire film industry in general and also for the paying public.
Why should the paying public be subjected to something that they have already seen and know? Ok, there will be new actors, newer treatment and better sound quality in songs [but not necessarily better songs]. But why even get near a classic?
CHASMEE BADDOOR was a recent example of how a classic was marred. RGV's AAG was a blunder and the recent HIMMATWALA, a 'Blockbuster disaster'.
As a personality who has been with the industry and seen its growth, I think it would be nice if people like you, form a team and come forward to protect the rights of old classics. Stalwarts of old have worked hard to create something in that era and they need to be compensated handsomely if their work is being recreated, reworked or remixed.
Most often, all re-makes are just done for the love of money, as you have rightly pointed out in your recent interview, ''not for the love of cinema.''
Today, most filmmakers boast that their film has crossed the Rs-100 crore mark. And it is this mirage that is luring 're-makers' to venture into making a quick buck and tarnish the image of Bollywood.
I hope, yours and Mr Akhtar's voice is heeded to and many right-minded personalities from the industry come out in open support of your demands.
We need a voice that speaks the truth. Recently, what Ajay Devgn did was quite appreciative. He took on the might of Yash Raj Films. We all know the SON OF SARDAR and JAB TAK HAI JAAN debacle.
I am not looking forward to ZANJEER, but I will be closely following the case.
Wish you both success and I do hope it sets a precedent.
Sincerely Martin D'Souza
(This weekly column tries to be as honest as honest can be... )