Vishal Dadlani on warning to music ‘vultures’: ‘We also started this really unfortunate trend, which is why we must finish it’
Singer-composer Vishal Dadlani speaks up on how some musicians in Bollywood have made careers out of ‘stealing’
Serving old wine in a new bottle - that’s something Bollywood filmmakers have been practising in abundance in recent times by cashing in on the popularity of old chartbusters and dishing out their remixed versions. Composer Vishal Dadlani of the Vishal-Shekhar duo has taken a hard stand against it. In a recent social media post, Dadlani issued a “warning”, saying, “I will sue anyone making remixes of Vishal and Shekhar songs. I’ll even move court against the films and musicians... Make your own songs, vultures!”.
Read: Music is my religion, my life: Vishal Dadlani
He also urged people to not remix the duo’s songs without their “permission, due credit and remuneration”. “Especially the musicians doing it. This will become very, very personal, even if you are a friend,” wrote Dadlani, who has heard that after Saaki saaki, reworked versions of Dus bahaane, Deedaar de, Sajnaaji vaari vaari and Desi girl are in the pipeline. Dadlani expresses his concerns to us in an interview. Excerpts:
What irked you to put out this warning?
It is time.
Is it directed towards a specific person?
No, it’s directed towards a system of disrespect and misappropriation.
You mentioned that remixing songs is not the problem, but giving due credit is.
Credit, creative approval and remuneration must go to the original composers. Creative approval, above all.
Who is to blame?
People who want a quick, cheap, low-grade solution for songs to promote their films.
While you have pointed out “especially the musician doing it”. Shouldn’t music labels take the onus of following due process even if they wish to remix old numbers?
Musicians need to respect each other first. Only then will anyone else do so. If you are asked to remix one of our songs, shouldn’t you at least make a call to us and clear it first?
As a composer, do you feel there are enough legal rights to support you in your fight?
It’s the agreements that are forcibly made with every composer. Virtually, every single one is signed under duress, in the guise of best-practice. Thankfully, even those are very specific that the song(s) are being created for a specific film or project, and hopefully therefore they can’t just be attached anywhere. I guess we’ll find out in court the next time a Vishal and Shekhar song is remixed.
It has almost become formulaic to have one remixed number in today’s films. Your thoughts?
At a time where formulaic films aren’t working, perhaps a formulaic approach to music should stop too?
Even you have brought out reworked versions of Bachna Ae Haseeno, Humein Tumse Pyaar Kitna and Disco Deewane. What’s your defense?
I don’t need a defense. Yes. We too have reworked songs. Perhaps, five times, in a career of 350 songs. Each time, the original composer has been credited first, and where possible, spoken to personally. We have paid tribute. We also started this really unfortunate trend, which is perhaps why we must also finish it, if possible. Sadly, some people have made careers out of stealing other people’s work.
When contacted for a comment, Bhushan Kumar, whose music label has recreated O Saki Saki, clarifies: “Music labels, not the original composers own the copyright. So we are doing it rightfully under the law. Who is he to stop any musician to do it or music label to remix a song which is owned by them? They have the right to royalty, which they are getting for any remix that we do.”
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