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Vishal Dadlani on Why He Warned ‘Vultures’ Not to Remix His Songs

Vishal Dadlani has himself made remixes but here’s why he has an issue with others making remixes of his songs.

Published
Music
3 min read
Here’s why Vishal Dadlani is so upset with musicians in the film industry.
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Vishal Dadlani is known for speaking his mind. The music composer took to Twitter on 30 October to warn fellow musicians not to remix his and Shekhar Ravjiani, of the Vishal-Shekhar duo’s songs, without their permission. He also threatened to sue them.

Dadlani spoke exclusively to The Quint about what triggered him to issue such a statement to music producers when this trend has been around for a while now and he himself has remixed a few songs in his 20-year-old long career.

What triggered this tweet?

I was having a chat with a friend from the industry who mentioned that all of the songs I put in the tweet, were being co-opted for other films by other so-called composers. Even now, I have no idea what films/which of our songs is being randomly pushed into.

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You have also remixed old songs, haven’t you?

Yes. Five times, in a career of 350 songs. Each time, the original composer has been credited first, and where possible, spoken to personally.

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So they have not taken rights to your songs?

Songs are signed over for specific films and in a specific context. Each agreement names the film, the director, the cast and the production house. They can’t just randomly put any song anywhere else. Recently, we found our names on the poster of a film that we had nothing to do with, along with three or four other composers. We don’t work like that. It’s unacceptable.

Can you name the film?

I won’t, because I’m not talking against a person or an incident. I’m talking about a screwed-up system.

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We have been seeing a lot of remixes and they fortunately or unfortunately are 99 percent times a hit. Do you think we are loosing creativity?

Yes. It’s the cheapest, most exploitative and most disrespectful way to make music for a film. The people who have made careers of this, most are talented musicians, who have become slaves to money and power. One can only hope these tweets help them rediscover why they became musicians in the first place.

The songs are hits to begin with. The success ratio of these songs is already 100 percent, before the remixes were done. It (success ratio) has come down, in fact, because the so-called new versions are generally awful. But, that is a matter for the listeners to decide. My concern is with the bulldozing of the original composers.

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So when the film’s director gives you a brief... that they want a remix in their film. How do you deal with it. What is your first reaction?

99 percent of the time, we say no. In the case of Bachna Ae Haseeno, it was already the film’s title, and we didn’t want to make a new tune with those words out of love and respect for RD (RD Burman). In Student Of The Year, the idea was originally to do musical-style renditions, which also permeated to Student Of The Year 2. In the case of Disco Deewane, even though the rights were purchased and the song was completed, I spoke to Biddu personally to ask his permission. That’s the most basic thing anyone can do.

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Recently the same issue happened between the makers of Bala and Dr Zeus. Comment?

I’d rather not discuss other peoples’ issues. I’d like to only talk about our music. Zeus was right to be offended, though. Baadshah cleared the air and apologised respectfully. I appreciate that. He has also supported this tweet of mine.

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What is the misconception that filmmakers and composers have while getting copyrights to songs before making a remix? And ideally what are the rules (even out of respect) one should follow while making a remix of another song?

If the original composer/lyricist are active and accessible, talk to them first. Include them in the process. Make sure they are on-board with the idea/sound/new parts. Credit them above anyone else, as the song was created by them. Any additional parts can be credited as ‘additional composition’.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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