Kantara plagiarism row: Makers asked to refrain from using Varaha Roopam song in film
Deccan Chronicle.| Sashidhar Adivi
It's advantage Thaikkudam Bridge' in plagiarism row with Kantara makers
Court has directed the Kantara film distributor in Kerala to remove the song 'Varaha Roopam' from theatre screenings
The Kerala-based music band Thaikkudam Bridge, which had alleged that the Varaha Roopam song in the acclaimed film Kantara was a plagiarism of their 2017 track Navarasam, has welcomed the interim injunction issued by a Kozhikode Sessions Court restraining the producer, director and music composer of Kantara and online platforms from playing the song in theatres and on the streaming platforms.
The band had approached the Court for relief, and the injunction order was issued on Friday. The hard copy of the injunction order will be issued on Monday.
"Our fight is only for acknowledgement and recognition of our hard work by the filmmakers. After submitting all the documentary and video evidence, the Court gave the injunction order, which I feel is a validation of our integrity and hard work," said Sujith Unnithan, the band’s manager.
Advocate Satish Murthi, representing Thaikkudam Bridge, said "The Court found prima facie, there is ‘substantial similarity’ between the original song (Navarasam) and the Varaaha Roopam song. It also took notice of the admission of the film’s music composer that he was inspired by the original song. Hence the injunction, which says the song cannot be played without taking the permission of Thaikkudam Bridge."
Murthi, who practices in the Supreme Court, said this would develop into a landmark case in the field of music copyright.
While the Court has directed the Kantara film distributor in Kerala to remove the song from theatre screenings, Sujith said the band is also alerting distributors in other states on the issue. The injunction order has been sent to major streaming platforms including Google (YouTube), Amazon Music, Spotify, Wynk Music, JioSaavn, etc. These are big players and corporates, so I don’t think they will mess with Court orders. I am sure as soon as they receive the injunction order they will remove the song from their platforms," Sujith said, adding that their legal team would monitor the platforms from time to time.
"Once the distributor in Kerala gets the hard copy of the order on Monday, they will have to remove the song from the theatre shows. Distributors in other states will also get to know about it through the media. I believe they will all have to remove the song from the shows until further Court orders," he says, adding that the onus is on the filmmakers to get the song removed from theatres in all the states.
Meanwhile, there were reports that the band was in talks with the Kantara makers on this issue. We asked Sujith why Thaikkudam Bridge took recourse to legal action at this juncture. "Because the filmmakers are still denying our plagiarism claims," Sujith replied.
The Kantara team which was in Kerala to celebrate the film’s success, did not comment on the plagiarism issue except to say that their legal team was looking into the matter," the band manager added. He pointed out that plagiarism charges had earlier been levelled against the film's composer B Ajaneesh Loknath for the film, Kirrak Party.
On another front, Mathurbhumi Music has the exclusive streaming rights of the song Navarasam and there were reports that it was negotiating for compensation with the filmmakers. "We don’t know about Mathurbhumi Music, but our fight is only for due credits," Sujith said, when asked to comment.
So what is the band expecting, in light of the injunction order?
"Either the filmmakers will give us the credit for the song and accept our claims or they will appeal against the injunction in a higher Court," said Sujith.