Copyright issues continue to plague Bajrangi Bhaijaan before release date

Published July 15, 2015
Adnan Sami Khan sings 'Bhar Do Jholi' in a scene from 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'. — Bollywoodlife.com
Adnan Sami Khan sings 'Bhar Do Jholi' in a scene from 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'. — Bollywoodlife.com

Bajrangi Bhaijaan has been a problematic film release for Pakistan from the get-go. Earlier, speculation was rife that the Salman Khan-starrer wouldn't hit screens in Pakistan because of its sensitive subject matter. Then, Adnan Sami Khan's rendition of famous qawali 'Bhar Do Jholi' was released, and there was uproar about the producers' failure to acquire its rights.

Although the film's distributors, Everready, were confident about its release in Pakistan, EMI Pakistan has shown its reservations and has requested the Censor Board of Film Censors (CBFC) to look into the matter. As per the document below, the board issued a notice to the distributors asking them to resolve the issue, so the film can be given its Censorship Certificate:

An excerpt of the legal notice issued by CBFC — Courtesy: EMI
An excerpt of the legal notice issued by CBFC — Courtesy: EMI
An excerpt of the legal notice issued by CBFC — Courtesy: EMI
An excerpt of the legal notice issued by CBFC — Courtesy: EMI

EMI had earlier sent a legal notice to the filmmakers, singer and music distributors on July 9, barring the qawali's use in the film without the fulfillment of legal formalities.

Talking about the notice, Zeeshan Chaudhry, representative of EMI Pakistan said that the company has not yet been approached by the filmmakers or the singer, but Satish Anand, CEO of Everready, is in talks with them: "Satish Anand has approached us and he was offering to remove the song for Pakistan, which we refused as the song has been utilised and released already."

Read more: EMI Pakistan sends legal notice, bars use of 'Bhar Do Jholi' in Bajrangi Bhaijaan

He stressed that removing the song was not a solution: "It's not acceptable because it has already been released, so they must fulfill licensing formality and now we are also approaching internationally to stop the release if they do not settle the matter amicably."

Also read: Adnan Sami sings his first qawwali for Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Chaudhry also said that same will be applied to India and that the company's stance is clear: "Our stance is simple: that Indian film industry must learn to give due respect to Pakistani music. There is no harm in using music from Pakistan but they must secure license as per copyrights law worldwide. In the past, Indian film industry's producers and directors have exploited content from Pakistan without licensing and this is probably our first step to realise this."

But will Censor Board allow the film nevertheless?

Chaudhry hopes that the board fulfills its duty: "We have registered our complaint and raised the issue, the rest is censor board's duty to fulfill. It's their role now and about time to contribute their part to protect Pakistan's copyright."

Slated to release on Eid, Bajrangi Bhaijaan is likely to clash with Mahira Khan's Bin Roye and Yasir Nawaz's Wrong Number.

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