Less than a month ago, a case was registered in a Kolkata court against Sajid Nadiadwala’s Akshay Kumar-starrer, Housefull, for using lyrics and a tune from the 1981 Kalyanji-Anandji composed song, Apni to jaise taise from Laawaris.
The bench court had “prima facie” passed judgment in favour of Laawaris producer-director Prakash Mehra’s sons, and the heirs of Kalyanji-Anandji, asking for the song to be removed from the film, as well as from the music album. But the judgement was appealed, the injunction was stayed, and the movie released without any problems.
Now, music company Saregama, which had not commented on the case earlier, has finally spoken, and thrown its weight behind Nadiadwala. Says Apurv Nagpal, managing director of Saregama, “We didn’t comment earlier because the matter was sub-judice, and it was obvious that Sajid had not done anything wrong. But since the media has been unfairly holding him responsible, we thought it was time we spoke up.”
“Sajid Bhai is a veteran of the industry and would not indulge in any unethical business practices,” he continued. “The dispute was always between Saregama and Prakash Mehra’s sons.”
Matter of honour
The verdict on the case will be out on June 21, but it wouldn’t affect the film, which has been running successfully in theatres already. Nadiadwala says it’s a “matter of honour” now. “For 21 years, my company hasn’t had a litigation,” he says. “We actually had to look for a lawyer when I got the notice. We had legally bought the rights, and are just hoping that it comes through in court.”
“I’ve been getting songs from Saregama for 15 years now, and I had no idea that there was anything unlawful in this method,” he continues. “I hope the court’s judgement will help clear this confusion, so the industry knows the right way of acquiring songs.”
Saregama is now confident that the case will be ruled in their favour. Says Nagpal, “Even when there was a case regarding the songs in Don, we won it. Their idea was to put a stay on the film, so as to get us on the negotiating table, but we are glad that didn’t happen.”
Nadiadwala, on the other hand, just hopes that there is no “bitterness” caused by this. “We are all part of the same fraternity after all,” he says. “I made a courtesy call to Punit (Mehra’s son) immediately after I got the notice, since I had spent a lot of money in shooting the song. But yes, I’ll definitely never get a song like this again, unless I get a go-ahead from all concerned parties.”
Punit Mehra remained unavailable for commment.