Singer Sona Mohapatra is as popular for her unabashed stances and being a firebrand artiste as she is for her fabulous music. In her latest interaction with india.com over a phone call, she talked about the entire outrage against Masakali 2.0, a new rendition of the popular number from Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra‘s Delhi-6 (2009). Released by T-Series, the song has drawn wide criticism with even music composer AR Rahman hinting at his displeasure and the director openly expressing his dissent with the recreated version. Also Read - Neena Gupta on Being Removed From Sooryavanshi: Rohit Shetty Never Came, Production Assistant Told me About Decision
Seeing that there’s so much discussion happening already, Sona says she’s glad that people have finally woken up to reject something which is ‘disrespectful’ and ‘disturbing.’ She highlights how the music labels in India have been constantly exploiting the creative rights of the musicians and what are the steps that need to be taken to bring a change. Sona also talks about how music directors should lead the fight against such labels instead of threatening smaller fry like music arrangers Tanishq Bagchi . She praises Aamir Khan for setting the right example. Excerpts: Also Read - Entertainment News Today, April 10: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Breaks Silence on Masakali 2.0 Fiasco, Says He'll Talk to Bhushan Kumar
Have you watched or listened to Masakali 2.0 yet?
No. I haven’t. I don’t tune in to things that are mediocre. We have enough disturbing news around us and I would prefer to tune in to music and content that is creative and inspiring instead. I am aware of the entire issue though. I am glad that people have woken up to reject such remixes. This music label has been showing an absolute disrespect to the original creators (for a long time now). They don’t give proper credits let alone take permission from the creators or share royalties, they also tend to cheapen and mangle the song, showing absolute disdain for the source of creation & creativity. They believe that because they have the muscle to take all the rights away, they can do what they please with somebody else’s hardwork and talent. A complete lack of decency, manners… and they are here to wipe out a whole community of composers and writers by setting the worst example for the coming generation. Also Read - Exclusive: On Swara Bhasker's Birthday, Director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari Talks About Her 'Gutsy' Friend
AR Rahman’s response to this entire issue was very classy and graceful where he focused on mentioning how it took the effort of so many musicians over many days to create the original.
The official rights of the songs are with the music label. In this case, the T-Series. How far can the creative people associated with Masakali go in claiming their rights?
Honestly, it is the law of the jungle in India when it comes to an artiste’s rights. None exists as everything is arm-twisted away. This sorry state of affairs only exists in India where the creators are supposed to give up all their rights and have no stake in the IP – intellectual property of their own creation. Even the music companies who operate very differently outside, come here (in India) and learn to exploit the rights of the musicians (the way Indian music companies do). Here, they say they own everything. You (creative people associated with the songs) can’t even sing your song on a stage. The contracts that are made and signed are one-sided and mafioso-like. But, what people should know is that there is something called moral right. As a collective, the creative community needs to petition the government for the protection of some basic rights, without that, the bullies get their way, as they have for decades.
Please go on…
For example, a successful, rich & powerful music director like Vishal Dadlani should have told the music label ‘I will take you to the court’ (while remaking their song Dus Bahane for Baaghi 3). But, he gave up and remixed his own song for them. He threatened Tanishk Bagchi (the music composer who was recreating Dus Bahane 2.0 earlier) instead of questioning the label. If industry leaders like him can’t take a stand and learn to really walk their talk, how are the people who don’t have enough means or power to question, take a stand? I also believe it is in the hands of the audience to reject such short-cuts and stolen creativity. Every generation deserves a unique and original soundtrack to their lives. Demand for better music and hopefully the industry will have no choice but to pull up their socks.
Can Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, AR Rahman and other creative people responsible for making the original Masakali song do more than just criticising the recreation? Is there any legal action possible from their end?
They can take legal action and they should. I do believe that there is a legal recourse. The best people to give advice will be lawyers, of course. We have to set the right precedent if we want to be part of a global creative community and a global business place.
What about the film producers who sell the rights to their songs to these labels?
Film producers should not be willing to give away all the rights of the musicians to these labels just for some extra money. They need to have a spine. Aamir Khan has that spine. Sanjay Leela Bhansali too. AKP (Aamir Khan Productions) retains the rights over the music of its films. He (Aamir) has respect for the fact that we are also are the creators of the music and we should be allowed to perform it. I have been singing my renditions from Satyameva Jayate everywhere I want to. I even sing a few lines of those songs in my documentary film Shut Up Sona. Aamir understands that creating something is a collaborative process and it’s high time other film producers start doing the same.