Vishal Dadlani on remixes: ‘It has to be done with consent and respect, credit original creators before anyone else’
Vishal Dadlani says you end up not really owning the rights to the music you make but you do make music for a specific project.
Singer-composer Vishal Dadlani, of music director duo Vishal-Shekhar, says artistes don’t have an objection to their songs staying alive beyond their time but it is disrespectful to recreate a hit without proper consent and credit. The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the indie pop scene bursting with both, original songs and remixes of popular retro numbers.
The trend, which had virtually faded, bounced back in the last decade and soon became a standard fare with music labels, primarily T-Series, recreating singles in a majority of their film albums.
The decision to recreate classics has been called out by musicians time and again for the unimaginative manner in which they are produced, often without the original creator’s consent, something that Dadlani finds unfair. “Nobody has an objection to their songs staying alive beyond their generation or time. But it has to be done with consent and respect. You can’t just randomly insert a guy singing two lines, pop it onto my song and then credit the song to that person,” Dadalni told PTI. Last year, the composer said that he would take legal action against anyone who attempted to recreate the duo’s songs without permission, after their chartbuster track Saaki Saaki from their 2004 film Musafir was recreated for John Abraham starrer Batla House.
Earlier this year, Vishal-Shekhar stepped in to re-work on the already re-created version of their hit track, Dus Bahane for Baaghi 3 after objecting to the remixed version. The 47-year-old composer said music directors in Bollywood have “very little power” to put an end to the trend. Calling the contracts in the industry “severely unjust”, Dadlani said, “You end up not really owning the rights to the music you make but you do make music for a specific project.”
The composer said it is not right for producers, directors or record labels to change the project without the consent of the original creator. “You can’t just take a song created for one film and use it into another without consent.” Dadlani has been behind some of the biggest hits of the last two decades, including Om Shanti Om, Dostana, Anjaana Anjaani, and Sultan.
The composer said in situations where one is unable to seek consent from the original creators, the least an artiste can do is to credit them before anyone else. “If you have access to the composer, take consent. But even if you don’t, the original composer and lyricist’s name should be above and beyond everything else because the song came from their heart. Get consent, show respect and credit original creators. This is the way forward,” he added.
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Dadalni is currently seen on MX Player’s show Times of Music, which features 20 composers gracefully reinventing each other’s iconic tunes. Dadalni said many guests on the show, including veteran Anandji Shah, of duo Kalyanji–Anandji have voiced their displeasure on the remix trend.
“Anand bhai said that this (remix trend) is like you raise a child with a lot of love and somone else kidnaps it. It is that heartbreaking for a composer.”
For their episode on Times of Music, Vishal-Shekhar have re-imagined composer-singer Bappi Lahiri’s iconic Yaad Aa Raha Hai Tera Pyaar from the 1982 musical hit, Disco Dancerx starring Mithun Chakraborty. Though Lahiri’s track—penned by Anjaan—continues to be a huge dance hit, for Dadlani, the song is ultimately about a man missing his mother.
“We found the soul of the song and it became an emotion for us. We realised the song is dedicated to the character’s mother in the film. Even though it is a dance track, it is a song with a lot of depth. We liked the dual nature of the song,” he added.
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