Rajiv Rai has been in the news recently after it was announced that he is about to start his next film after almost 18 years. He also attended the special screening of his film good (1997) on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Bollywood Hungama spoke exclusively to Rajiv Rai for this special occasion and talked about many aspects and his other films like Yudh (1985), Tridev (1989), Viswatma (1992) and Mohra (1994).
EXPLOSIVE: Rajiv Rai BEATS trend of recreations of his songs; says “In the future I will go the LEGAL route in case someone crosses the line when it comes to my music”
A conversation about Mohra is incomplete without mentioning the super hit music composed by Viju Shah, a regular feature in all of his films. songs like ‘Tu Cheez Badi Shark Mast and ‘Tip Tip Barsa Paani’ are still popular today and both have been recreated in machine (2017) and Sooryavanshi (2021). Is Rajiv Rai happy with these newly created versions? There were reports that he had sought a court injunction to stop the creators from recreating his iconic songs.
He explained: “In the future I will go the legal route in case someone crosses the line when it comes to my music. I don’t like it when people incorporate my songs into other films. If a music company owns the rights to a song, they’re welcome to sell it. If they remix it, I won’t say anything. The problem is when you say take a piece Mohra and put it in another movie and then claim it’s yours. If that happens I would like to go to court whether I am right or wrong or whether I have a contract or not.”
He also explained, “I’m asking producers and directors not to do this because it’s not a healthy trend. Make your own song. Don’t take my song and mix it It’s not something I would do. And talk to the person if you really want to. Don’t just argue that the music company has the rights. You don’t have the rights to put my song in a movie, no matter what the contract says. You are tampering with my performing rights and copyright. The song is like my son. You can’t own my son no matter what. This is my DNA; it is something I created.”
Rajiv Rai also made it clear that he doesn’t mind fans doing remixes on the internet or DJing songs in nightclubs. He said: “If someone mixes it for a discotheque or a nightclub, it’s fine. This will make your song popular. I won’t yell and stop every remix because that shows my song is working. And many remixes were made with good intentions. They don’t care about legality. You are an artist.”
Rajiv Rai then made a startling admission: “I made very little money from my songs. I hardly paid Viju Shah anything. We’re both victims of crime. If you have a caller tune from my song, do you think I got any of it? I don’t So now when I’m making music, I don’t sell anymore. I won’t sell it if it makes me beg on the streets of Mumbai. I don’t care because you hardly make anything out of your music while everyone else is making money from it.”
Rajiv then clarified: “The music companies paid me the price back then. I don’t deny it. I don’t blame any music company for not paying the money my father and I asked for on time. But it’s all manipulated. And it goes on like it’s their birthright to own something they never created. There is such a thing as “performing rights” in the world. You should take a look there. There’s a copyright to the producer who invests money to make this song, who spends a year getting the music right and performing it right.”
He added: “So yes, I’ve made money, but not in the way I should have. I’m always sad that I couldn’t even pay Viju as well as he deserved. However, he doesn’t care. He loves me. He will not speak my word.”
Rajiv Rai explained that many filmmakers are not happy with the recovery trend: “There are hundreds of producers who cannot say anything when their songs are toned down. I don’t point fingers at anyone. I don’t take names. When you blame a person, you are not sure if they are behind the mess. Maybe someone else did it. So who knows?”
Critics often accuse filmmakers of bygone eras of plagiarism. To which Rajiv explained, “You can’t pretend to be innocent (remaking songs). Whatever I may have done or people may have done in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s, they were ignorant or even innocent. They didn’t know they were doing anything wrong. But now people know they are doing something wrong.”
Also read: EXCLUSIVE: “Raveena Tandon was worried about signing Mohra as there was a pimple in the ‘Tip Tip Barsa Paani’ song. She said her father didn’t appreciate it. Then Rajiv Rai said: ‘Don’t show the film to your father’!” – Shabbir Boxwala
Other pages: Sooryavanshi Box Office Collection, Sooryavanshi Movie Review
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