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July 7, 2015

Amjad Farid Sabri speaks up on 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' song controversy


The rehashed version of the 'Bhar do jholi' qawwali in Salman Khan-starrer 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' has landed in a copyright controversy with the heir of original composers Sabri brothers, Amjad Farid Sabri and Shumail Maqbool Sabri, contemplating legal action against the makers.

Speaking to mid-day from Pakistan, Amjad Farid Sabri says, “T-Series had called us once to say they were considering using our qawwali in the film. I  had said they could discuss it with us further and we would do the needful. But after that, I didn’t get any calls from their side and then I see a video of the song. Its presentation in the film is upsetting.”

The qawwali was composed by Haji Maqbool Ahmed Sabri and performed together with his elder brother, Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri way back in 1975. In the upcoming film, it has been rendered by Adnan Sami on Salman’s insistence. “It’s our kalaam (couplets sung in praise of the Prophet). They cannot just take it without our permission and what they have done is wrong. A few years ago, I had given the rights of a few qawwalis, including that of Bhar do jholi’s, to Sunrise Pictures Pvt Ltd, so they will take legal action if needed. As of now, we have put legal action on hold as I am expecting a discussion with Salman Khan in a few days,” he adds.

Amjad’s cousin Shumail Maqbool Sabri, who is the son of the original composer Maqbool Sabri, is equally upset with the makers of Bajrangi Bhaijaan. “It’s our duty to respect and carry forward the legacy of my father and uncle. My elder brother (Amjad) will take necessary action in this regard as neither the makers nor the music composer contacted us for permission,” he says.

Some reports suggested that Pakistani music label EMI is also planning to take legal action against the film’s makers as it had recorded the original composition. However, Amjad says he has all the necessary documents to prove ownership to the qawwali. “So, EMI cannot claim it,” he states.

Pritam, who has scored the music for the film, says: “Bhar do jholi is a beautiful traditional qawwali popularised by the legendary Sabri brothers and Aziz mian. Kabir (Khan, director) and Salman have grown up listening to various versions of  it and were keen to include it in the film. Being the music director for the film, I recreated the qawwali for them. And I have been told all necessary permissions have been acquired by music company.”

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