After almost 40 years, the man who penned the unforgettable dialogue “Mere paas maa hai” is asking the producers of the remake of the classic ” Zanjeer” – “Kya tere paas copyright hai?”
Lyricist Javed Akhtar articulated the question recently while in Patna for the Bihar centenary celebrations. “Mujhe yeh baat theek nahi lagi aur Salim sahib ne bhi mujhe phone kiya ki the ones who are remaking “Zanjeer” have not sought our permission. Yeh tareeka galat hai. Even if we consider the current copyright laws, they say that it is the creator’s moral right over his or her creation, to maintain its sanctity and originality. If I buy Hussain’s painting for 2 crore, I can hang it on my wall, lekin mujhe yeh right nahin hai ki uspar ek face bana hai to main uspe mooch bana doon. Yeh crime hoga. This right is not transferable and cannot be stolen either. Agar script ke rights mil bhi jaayen, kisi bhi tarah ki tabdeeli ke liye writer ki permission leni hoti hai. Hum Premchand ya Tagore ki lekhini mein do paragraph apne nahi daal sakte. Woh crime hoga.”
But while the remake of “Zanjeer”has made Akhtar ponder the copyright laws to find a way to reclaim his creation, the scriptwriter remains hopeful about the amendments to the country’s copyright laws in general.
Known to be an active campaigner on copyright issues, Akhtar was at his legal best while discussing the concerns of writers in the industry. “The amendments to India’s copyright laws are what I’m waiting for most eagerly. From what I hear, we will see it materialize in another six months.”
The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010, aimed at providing independent rights to creators of literary and musical works in cinematographic films, entitles them to royalty which was denied to them so far.
If all goes well with the new Bill, Akhtar’s 10-year-old granddaughter – Farhan’s eldest child – who has recently finished the first draft of her script, will also be among the privileged lot.
“She’d promised to give it to me for reading. Abhi tak writer ne mujhe di nahin hai script because she is still not satisfied with it, but as soon as I get back, I’m hoping she will give it to me,” says the beaming grandfather.Javed Akhtar Remake Salim Khan Zanjeer