And the battle continues…

Earlier, we had reported Salim-Javed were miffed with producer Amit Mehra, late Prakash Mehra’s son, for not taking them into confidence about his much-hyped remake of the 1973 blockbuster Zanjeer.

Later, we revealed that when Amit met the duo to seek their blessings and good wishes, the scriptwriters of the original Zanjeer made it amply clear he would have to shell out a substantial sum as royalty if he wanted their script re-translated on celluloid. Salim Khan even said they weren’t doing charity and had sold the rights to Amit’s late father for making the film once, and not over and over again.

While friends of the Mehra’s haven’t taken too kindly to all of this, Mirror can tell you the writers have taken their battle a step further and onto legal turf.

When contacted, Javed Akhtar said, “We have hired a legal team to deal with the copy right issue of Zanjeer. Amit Mehra had come to me and Salim for the permission to remake the blockbuster. We suggested sitting across the table and sorting out the matter professionally however Amit kept on vascillating and later went to the media claiming he has got the clearance from us and he is going to start shooting soon. So we had no choice but to take legal action for royalty for the copyright.”

Akhtar reiterated they had sold the rights to late Prakash Mehra to make the film only once in Hindi and that for the 1974 Tamil remake, it was them who sold the rights once again.

While shooting for the new Zanjeer has already begun, it comes as a surprise that Akhtar, who had not so long ago led a bunch of music directors and singers to rally against producers on the very same issue of royalty should be the one to lead the charge in demanding it.

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6 Comments
  1. Milind 8 years ago

    I think the duo are over-reacting now!! Let them make it and let it bomb!! 😀 😉

  2. Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    Zanjeer isn’t theirs only

    The film established Amitabh Bachchan as the angry young man years ago. And its remake made scriptwriters Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar very angry. In fact, when the film’s original maker Prakash Mehra’s son Amit went ahead and started his version of the 1973 blockbuster Zanjeer, Khan and Akhtar sent a legal notice asking for royalties.

    Angry with their father’s name and his renowned work being pulled into a controversy, the brothers Amit, Puneet and Sumeet have decided to counter Salim-Javed’s accusation.

    Speaking on behalf of Prakash Mehra Productions, Puneet told Mirror, “We have remained quiet till now simply because Salim saab and Javed saab are veterans. But the way they have been going on about my father is totally unjustified. They have said that our production house made loads of money from Zanjeer. As if my father did not have any role in the film’s success. That too being the director. They make things sound as if we made money but did not pay them.”

    Puneet also sounded confident that the script of Zanjeer wasn’t the real reason for its success. “Have they forgotten that at least three top heroes refused Zanjeer on the basis of its script – Dharmendra, Dev Anand and Rajkumar? Yet my father stood by them. Though they never worked with my father after Zanjeer, its not like we stopped making blockbusters,” he said.

    The fact that Salim-Javed are demanding royalty based on a clause that is still not legal, has angered the Mehra brother further. “I am really amused by the fact that they are talking on the basis of a proposed copyright law, which is yet to be implemented. And even if it gets implemented, it would come into play from that day. Zanjeer 2.0 has already gone on floors. So what is the noise all about?”

    The brothers aren’t too happy with the industry lending their support to Salim-Javed either. “Not so long ago, my father’s song Apni Toh Jaise Taise was used in a film. The big filmmaker did not give credits to Prakash Mehra who was one of the co-writers of the song from Laawaris (1982),” complained Puneet. However, about the legal case filed against them, Punnet simply said, “Let the law decide. But Salim saab and Javed saab were our family’s colleagues. It hurts. It is very saddening.”

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  3. Milind 7 years ago

    Stretching it too far!

  4. Milind 7 years ago

    Infact Zanjeer is long forgotten in front of Deewar and Trishul..

  5. Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    Yes they are stretching it because of money. It was never about seeking permission and they are threatening with this lawsuit just to extort some money.

    I don’t think current law has any royalty for the writers. They wrote something and they must have sold the script and I doubt if there is any written agreement. The producers own the copyright and they can make the movie any number of times. I don’t think that the courts will rule in favor of Salim-Javed based on present law.

  6. Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    I thought that they did not have the legal rights but they are saying that they do have the rights which is suprising – “When it comes to films like Zanjeer or Yaadon Ki Baraat, we will ask for our right because we have it but we didn’t say anything when Sholay was remade or if anyone chooses to remake Deewaar because we don’t have those rights.”

    Will Salim and Javed get together again?

    Forty years ago, they challenged the norm. When Zanjeer was released and Salim-Javed found that their name as writers was missing from the posters, they got a painter to take a car, a ladder, some paint and a stencil to paint their credit on every single banner in the city.

    More than anything else that proved to the film industry that they meant to be seen and heard and no one after that ever took them for granted.

    Now, history is repeating itself. Prakash Mehra’s son Amit Mehra is shooting the remake of Zanjeer with Ram Charan Teja and Priyanka Chopra without paying original writers, Salim-Javed for using their script. The two are are all set to fight tooth and nail for their what is rightfully theirs. As Salim and Javed said separately, “It’s not about the money it’s about our legal and moral rights.” Salim points out how Farhan Akhtar paid Nariman Irani’s family one and a half crore for the rights of Don when he set out to remake it despite being the son of one half of the writing duo. Speaking separately but totally in sync they say clearly, “When it comes to films like Zanjeer or Yaadon Ki Baraat, we will ask for our right because we have it but we didn’t say anything when Sholay was remade or if anyone chooses to remake Deewaar because we don’t have those rights. Amit Mehra must also realise that not only does he not have the legal rights to our script he also does not have any moral rights which means he can’t make any changes to our script without our written permission.” Salim adds, “There is no need to get unnecessarily emotional about the whole thing. It’s a straight business deal. Wouldn’t they have had a budget for script if they were making another film? In any case you would only remake a film which was a colossal hit, isn’t it? So why begrudge the writer his fees?”

    They make it quite clear that they are not spoiling for a fight. “We are more than willing to sit across the table and settle the whole issue. If they pay us reasonably for our rights, and the changes they make are acceptable to us, then we are happy.” Are they flattered that their script is still relevant forty years down the line? They are dismissive, “We hardly need Amit Mehra to tell us that. There are people all over the world, and not just Indians, who have been studying the impact of the angry young man and our films all these years. We know we are relevant.”

    Recalling that Subhash Ghai had been paid Rs 3 crore by T-Series for the remake rights to Karz, Javed comments, “And Zanjeer was ten times a bigger hit. Besides, since Karz was sold, prices have risen dramatically.”

    While the Zanjeer situation will resolve itself in the fullness of time, either legally or amicably, what is now keeping the industry agog is the question: With the thawing of the relationship between Salim and Javed is it possible that the two writers may decide to work together again? Their answer is characteristic, “Who knows? Let’s resolve this first and then think of other things. Anything can happen.” ‘

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