The trend of remixing old classics seems to have found a permanent place in the Indian music industry, with the new generation enjoying several old and popular melodies. However, while the audio label and the producers enjoy the financial benefits and popularity, the original music composers are bereft of both recognition and money.
Remixed versions of old songs like Tamma Tamma, Urvasi, Cheez Badi and Maine Pyaar Kia have found their way to the music charts but composers are feeling unsettled with the publicity that the new tracks are getting.
As per the copyright laws, any track that is approximately 20 years or more old comes under public domain and royalties are not required to be given. All one needs to do is buy a mechanical licence and apply for the song. However, music producers nowadays prefer to purchase the rights from audio companies who do not consider music composers while making the deal.
Recently in an interview, music composer Rajesh Roshan expressed disappointment with the remix of his classic hit Mungda in producer Indra Kumar’s film Total Dhamaal.
“The law is against us music composers. We have no legal control over our compositions. Music companies are selling our songs to producers at throwaway prices. We are helpless. Indra Kumar has gone on record to say his version of Mungda in Total Dhamaal cannot be compared with the original. Then why do it? Why repeatedly resort to this kind of inappropriate conduct?” he asks, adding, “Earlier, my Yaarana chartbuster Saara zamaana haseeno ka deewana was also remixed without my permission. What can I do, except quietly smile about it.”
Resonating with his opinion, music composer M.M. Sri Lekha, who has never worked on remixes but has given multiple original scores such as Chepanna Cheppana, Savariya and Entha Andamo, feels, “There is a law that after some years any track can be picked out and remade. However, the minimum courtesy that anyone should accord is to give the original credit to the music composers.”
Veteran music composer Suresh Wadkar is also unimpressed by the behaviour of new age music producers. “It's sad that the old music composers are not given any recognition nowadays. New songs are played everywhere but no one knows who had originally worked so hard on them. If I want to take anyone to court, there is no law which speaks for me. A weak law allows people to pick songs from the public domain and all of us who have seen the music industry grow in the golden era can do nothing but watch,” he rues.
Right now, Anu Malik is perhaps the best bridge between the classical era and contemporary music scene. He doesn’t want to comment on the need for an organisation to protect the rights of music composers.
“They remixed my track Chamma Chamma and Oonchi Hai Building. I liked them but the difference is that the younger generation knows me. We have music legends from the old era who are no more with us but deserve to be known by the youngsters. My only request is that the original music composers should be given due credit for the remixed version as well. They are the ones who bang their heads on the wall to work on a song's mukhra, which is the hook line of the new song.”...