Salim-Javed throw royalty spanner in Zanjeer remake

Mirror had reported about Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar being miffed with producer Amit Mehra, late Prakash Mehra’s son, for not taking them into confidence about his Zanjeer remake.

However, the scriptwriters are now taking their battle to an altogether different level, even as the film is slated to go on floors on April 13. Mirror can tell you that the duo are now demanding royalty for their script, which friends of the Mehra’s don’t view kindly.

It was last week that Amit first met Salim Khan followed by Javed Akhtar. A source close to the remake said, “The meeting with both writers passed off peacefully but both were clear that Amit will have to shell out a substantial sum of money if he wants their Zanjeer script re-translated on celluloid.”

Mehra confirmed the news and said, “Yes, I met both of them at their respective homes. I am taking their blessings.” When probed about the royalty the writers are demanding, he did not deny, adding, “I am meeting them again soon.”

He continued, “Zanjeer is my father’s legacy. I have completed all the requisite legal modalities with my brothers Sumeet and Puneet, who are the other two legal heirs of Prakash Mehra Productions for the rights to remake the film. Although I have met all those who have played a pivotal part in the original Zanjeer to seek their blessings which includes Amit uncle, Jaya aunty, Salim uncle, Javed Saab and Pran Saab. All of them are seniors and I cannot imagine starting the film without their blessing and good wishes…”

Meanwhile, Salim Khan denied he had met Mehra recently. However he agreed the main bone of contention was the moolah. He said very candidly, “We are not doing charity. It’s a business. There is a copyright. If they give us the price, we will definitely give our permission. We had sold the right to Prakash Mehra for making the film once, not over and over again. Five years ago, we charged Rs 1crore from Excel Entertainment and director and co-producer Farhan for the Don remake, and now these people are making it in two languages.”

About the remake, he said, “Zanjeer is such a tight script. They don’t have to do anything. It’s reasonable enough that when you are making a film to make money, its original authors should also get their dues. If they are using our work after almost four decades, they should give us certain remuneration. The ball is in their court now.” Salim Khan also pointed out that when Prakash Mehra made Zanjeer, he made a lot of money and started his own production house so there was no way the Mehra’s were getting off lightly even now.

When contacted, Javed Akhtar said, “Please excuse me for now. I am in a meeting. I shall speak to you later.” It is surprising that not so long ago, Javed had led a bunch of music directors and singers to rally against producers on the very same issue of royalty.

A close friend of Amit told us, “Prakash Mehra paid Salim-Javed very well for all the films they wrote for him. It is strange these very people are now blocking his son in his endeavour to once again flag off his father’s production house.”

To be directed by Apoorva Lakhia, the neo Zanjeer will be produced by Reliance Entertainment, Adai Mehra Productions and Flying Turtle Films.

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