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Kerala Band Thaikkudam Bridge Talks of Their Claim on Kantara’s ‘Varaha Roopam’

Thaikkudam Bridge refutes Kantara composer’s claim that both their songs are similar because of similar ragas.

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Kerala Band Thaikkudam Bridge Talks of Their Claim on Kantara’s ‘Varaha Roopam’
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The viral song ‘Varaha Roopam’ from Kannada film Kantara has courted controversy as a popular Kerala-based music band Thaikkudam Bridge said on 24 October that they will file a lawsuit against its makers, Hombale films, for allegedly plagiarising one of their songs, 'Navarasam' from the music album titled the same.

Thaikkudam Bridge filed the law suit before Principal District and Session Court in Kozhikode and the court ordered team 'Kantara' to NOT use 'Varaha Roopam' without the music band's permission. The court’s injunction also barred all the streaming platforms from playing or featuring the Kantara song without Thaikkudam Bridge's permission.

A screenshot of Thaikkudam Bridge's latest Instagram post

(Photo: Thaikkudam Bridge)

The Quint reached out to Thaikkudam Bridge and Hombale films.

While the production house is yet to revert, here are excerpts from the conversation with the singer and music composer of Thaikkudam Bridge, Govind Vasantha.

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Govind Vasantha on Finding Alleged ‘Kantara’ Copyright Infringement

Thaikkudam Bridge says Varaharoopam is a ripoff. But how did they first identify the problem?

"Our music band got to know about the viral song from Kantara roughly after a week or two after its release. While we did feel it sounded pretty similar, we didn’t take it too seriously at the start as we were absorbed with personal and other professional work."
Govind Vasantha, Thaikkudam Bridge

A few days later, many fans and friends approached the band members asking if they had officially collaborated with Kantara makers, Vasantha claimed.

Vasantha added, "...Our band's intellectual Property (IP) ‘Navarasam’ sounded similar to their ‘Varaha Roopam’ song.” The queries from well-wishers came in also because Thaikkudam Bridge had collaborated with various film composers in the past.

Previously, Thaikkudam Bridge along with music director GV Prakash composed ‘Aagasam’ for the Tamil film Soorarai Pottru. The popular tune phrase of the band's song ‘Urumbu’ was used, with proper rights and credits, by the producers, Suriya’s 2D Entertainment & Sikhya Entertainment. The singers from the band, Govind Vasantha and Christin Jos also won the Filmfare award for Best Playback Singer (Male) 2022.

“Feeling the strong resemblance between the two songs, ‘Varaha Roopam’ and ‘Navarasam,' when so many people asked if we collaborated officially with the Kantara team, we understood the gravity of the situation and things started sinking in for us,” Vasantha explained.

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The Similarity Goes Beyond ‘Ragas’

Reacting to Kantara’s music composer’s argument that the two songs sound similar because of the use of similar ragas, Govind Vasantha said, “If we consider ragas, it is true that every song will fit into the ragas of every other song. But, the whole arrangement and packaging, the use of guitars and percussion instruments, everything sounds similar in both the songs. How is that possible?"

As Vasantha too produces music for films, he claimed filmmakers can share reference music to get a new song. "As a creator, it (reference music) can get stuck in our mind and we might be forced to create a similar piece. I assume that is the reason why Kantara's song resembles ours."

The musicians from the band, Thaikkudam Bridge

Photo: Thaikkudam Bridge

'Navarasam' was in fact Thaikkudam Bridge's first album. Govind Vasantha fondly remembered the creative process behind it, despite being currently mired in a controversy. His band had created fresh tunes for the album's original songs. 

"Navarasam is the sound of Thaikkudam Bridge."
Govind Vasantha
He then added, “We infused sounds and styles of Kerala cultural instruments and rock genre to make it appealing to a larger audience. The reach wasn’t as big as a film song but back then, it was very well received by the audience compared to other contemporary independent music albums."
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What Kantara Team Could Have Ideally Done

Kantara's creators have vehemently denied plagiarism and copyright violation. However, if the song were indeed inspired, it could have been done differently by formulating a collaboration with the Thaikkudam Bridge.

Speaking on what the ideal scenario could have been, Govind Vasantha said, "They could have collaborated with us like how Sudha Kongara’s Soorarai Pottru team did or like how Family Man team acquired the rights of our songs, 'Aarachar' and 'Navarasam' from the same album and used it for their web series."

"The Kantara team could have either bought the rights of our song 'Navarasam,' collaborated with us to recreate the music or credited us for the 'Varaha Roopam' song."

Vasantha, however, does not have any problem with Kantara, as a film. Given its widespread acclaim, Kantara could be an "exceptional" film, he said. He is only troubled by the song.

"When they use independent music in the film, it would really help if they credit the artists who worked on that piece to get the recognition they deserve. And honestly, independent music is still struggling in India compared to film music and hence crediting us will really help our community grow stronger."

Set in a fictional village in Dakshina Kannada, the Rishab Shetty starrer Kantara was originally released in Kannada on 30 September and dubbed in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi following its massive success in Karnataka.

(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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