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News |  30 Mar 2013 16:22 |  By RnMTeam

Song copyright cuts hole in film budgets

MUMBAI: Making a blockbuster bollywood film requires financial detailing across all aspects as most films run on a very tight budget. With most film-makers having the fancy of recreating the vintage magic by using classic songs in their movies, the price of copyright for these songs has in turn burnt a hole in their film budgets and acted as a shocker to them.

One of the most recent cases is when Tigmanshu Dhulia wanted to recreate the 1964 Lata Mangeshkar classic 'Lag Ja Gale Se' in his movie Saheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns. Dhulia, a big fan of Madan Mohan's compositions, was shocked when he was asked to pay an exorbitant amount of Rs 30 lakhs for its copyrights, currently with veteran music label Saregama.

Since the song was already picturised with actress Mahie Gill, Dhulia had no choice but to shell out the amount. He had also planned to use another classic, the qawwalli 'Bade Besharam Aashiq Hain' from the 1971 film Putlibai, but retreated on the plans when he was asked to pay another Rs 30 lakh for the song.

Film producers are now facing a tough time with the label, that own the copyrights of over 95 per cent of the classic film songs. The high sum being asked for the tracks is an eye opener for most film-makers, as the cost has gone up drastically as compared to earlier.

Speaking with, Saregama India business head-music Adarsh Gupta said, "There is no compulsion for film-makers to buy the song. If they feel the price is too high they don't have to purchase it. I don't think it has created any dent in their budget as every month we get several requests and most film-makers have bought the copyrights of the song. We have seen a good growth in that aspect."

Gupta also added that currently, the price of the classic songs ranges anywhere between Rs 30-35 lakhs as set by them.

But Dhulia told an agency, "I was keen to use the song in my film and I did.

Little did I know that getting the rights would cause a major dent in our film's budget. We kept shooting and I used the song at several places. I was assured we could get the rights for Rs 6-7 lakh. Finally, we were asked to cough up Rs 30 lakh. We had no choice but to pay up since I had already shot the song."

As reported by earlier, another film Zanjeer too met with a similar fate when producer-director Apoorva Lakhia was asked to pay Rs 30-60 lakh for Manna Dey's qawwali song 'Yaari hai imaan mera' from the 1973's super-hit Zanjeer.

Since the price was too high, Lakhia deciding against including the song and music label T-Series decided to create a new qawwali song for the film.

With most film-makers finding the price for copyright too high, they might just take the easy way out of composing a new track altogether instead of recreating the magic of the classics.

Refuting the high price claims, Gupta stated, "There is a certain price set in the market and this is the price range of songs we have set. They have been decided keeping in mind certain terms which I cannot disclose."