Can the music director come out unscathed?
Last Updated: 03.33 PM, Nov 24, 2022
When the popular Malayalam band Thaikkudam Bridge raised concerns about the similarities that the hit number Varaha Roopam had to their song Navarasam, it raised a few eyebrows, but not as many as it does now. Varaha Roopam, the song that plays in the beginning and climax of Rishab Shetty’s film Kantara has not made it to the version of the movie that’s out on OTT now. There’s an injunction on playing it on streaming platforms, subject to an ongoing copyright claim filed by Thaikkudam Bridge in this regard. The new version of Varaha Roopam that is playing in the film is being called a disappointment and now, netizens are raging,
There are some who want to rain fire on Thaikkudam Bridge and calling their claim bogus, while others are going all out against music director B Ajaneesh Loknath, who has admitted to being inspired by Navarasam, but denies having copied it. The problem, say netizens, is that this is not the first time Ajaneesh has faced such an allegation – he’s an alleged serial offender.
While the most notable case is that of the Hey, Who are You song from Kirik Party, which he called a homage to Hamsalekha’s Madhya Raathrili from Shanti Kranti, netizens point out that other songs by him are also results of inspired material. Kaagadada Doniyalli bears similarities to The River by The Bombay Royale, while Fly Fly Fly from Sundaranga Jaana is like Meghan Trainers Dear Future Husband.
As soon as the Varaha Roopam controversy broke, there were other allegations including that the song Singara Siriye from Kantara was copied from the Marathi song Apsara Ali, while the Rebel song supposedly bore resemblance to the theme music of the Malayalam movie Ayyappanum Koshiyum.
Fans of Kantara, obviously, want the ‘original’ Varaha Roopam back in the film, but that won’t be a possibility till the case is concluded, unless, of course, the makers, Hombale Films, reach an understanding with Thaikkudam Bridge. In fact, netizens wonder why that wasn’t initiated already, when a simple acknowledgement and maybe even a royalty payment could have saved them from a lot of trouble. The common consensus is that the team of Kantara did not expect the film to become the hit it did eventually or that Varaha Roopam would become one of the most-talked about elements. If Kantara wasn’t the monster hit it is now, would anyone even have bothered about a copyright claim?
Ajaneesh is currently one of the busiest music directors in Kannada cinema. But the question now is whether his brand will take a hit following the Varaha Roopam controversy. The buzz in industry circles is that the inordinate amount of time Ajaneesh takes to compose for films, often delivering only at the very last moment has made filmmakers wary of collaborating with him. But the more worrying issue is that of inspiration without credit. Composers are known to use works of others, but the best practice, say those in the know, is to give credit where it is due and buy the rights to avoid legal complications. Netizens are hopeful that Ajaneesh has learnt his lesson and will not seek inspiration anytime soon.