EMI, Amjad Sabri to sue Bajrangi Bhaijan makers over 'Bhar do jholi'

Published: July 1, 2015

Salman Khan may have expressed his desire to be part of Bajrangi Bhajain’s Pakistan premier but it seems like not all on this side of the border will be welcoming the film – specifically in terms of its use of Bhar Do Jholi.

The qawwali was revamped with the voice of Adnan Sami Khan for the Salman Khan-starrer and went viral soon after its release. However, it received mixed reviews, with many finding it bland owing to the incompatibility of Adnan’s sweet vocal texture for something as raw as a qawaali. But a legal battle by the qawaali’s original producers that has followed its release makes the quality of the soundtrack a rather trivial matter.

Pakistan’s biggest record label EMI Pakistan and Amjad Sabri qawwal, heir to the famous Sabri brothers, have called for legal action against the producers of the film and the qawwali in separate instances.

“Revamping the qawwali without my permission or consent is simply unethical and inappropriate,” Amjad Sabri told Roznama Express. “This is not an ordinary Kalaam; it’s the property of my family and will continue to be so for the coming seven generations.  This is an asset of my father Ghulam Farid Sabri and my uncle Maqbool Sabri.”

Read: If there’s a premiere of Bajrangi Bhaijaan in Pakistan, I’ll definitely go: Salman Khan

The version used in the film has been reworked by well-known composer Pritam Chakarborty and the film is being produced by Salman Khan Films and Kabir Khan Films.

Amjad is not only unhappy by the work ethics of the Indian producers but is also disappointed at the quality of the Bollywood version of the qawwali.  “They have not done justice to the heritage of our elders and I have hired a lawyer to sort out this matter,” he said.

EMI Pakistan, on the other hand, are all set to send separate legal notices to Salman Khan Films and Kabir Khan Films, Media Concepts (the company responsible for airing the film’s music in Pakistan) and also to 8xM and Jalwa music channels, which are subsidiaries of Media Concepts.

Read: Atif Aslam to sing for Salman Khan in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’

“The Qawwali Bhar do Jholi is an EMI product which was not only released by EMI Pakistan but also recorded and produced under our banner. None of the authorities involved in the making of Bajrangi Bhaijan approached us to acquire the rights to the qawwali and as a result, we have sent them legal notices,” Zeeshan Chaudary, the general manager of EMI Pakistan, told The Express Tribune.

As per the details shared by the record label, the “original” qawwali was written by Purnam Allahbadi, composed by Maqbool Sabri and performed by Sabri Brothers for the purpose of recording a soundtrack in 1975.

“We have the rights to the complete recording of the original qawwali and its derivatives and neither Adnan Sami Khan nor the producer of the music or anyone else has acquired rights from us,” he said.

If both EMI’s and Amjad Sabri’s claims of possible copyright infringement are to be believed, it would benefit both parties to sort out the actual ownership of the qawwali before spiraling into a blame game.

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“Amjad Sabri cannot claim the ownership of the Qawwali and we have the legal documents to prove that,” said Chaudary.

“He can only do that either by showing us the last will of his father, which ensures the inheritance of Ghulam Fareed Sabri’s intellectual property to his son or he will have to get a succession certificate as per the laws of the country. If he is able to do that, then he will also receive the royalties, as per the agreement with the original artist,” he added.

Chaudhry further elaborated that this applies to all cases wherein the children of any artists wish to claim rights to the artist’s intellectual property.

As for now Bajrangi Bhaijan is all set to release along with Bin Roye in Pakistan on Eid.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • I am a Khan
    Jul 1, 2015 - 9:11PM

    well Qawallis should also be banned, for being unislamic and qawals should also be sued. just a cheap publicity stunt by EMI & Sabri.Recommend

  • Sardar KHAN
    Jul 1, 2015 - 10:06PM

    Thieves must be prosecuted for their actions.The Bollywood producers generally steel others hard work under guise of inspiration label.Mahesh Bhatt have produced many films by copying Pakistani films or drama stories in his career.They have produced lots of films as carbon copy of Hollywood films all the time.Time has come they should face the music now and pay up.Recommend

  • Anon
    Jul 1, 2015 - 10:06PM

    Good, Very goodRecommend

  • Listener
    Jul 2, 2015 - 12:08AM

    This is not first time Indians are pirating. Indians are known for copying the intellectual properties and put “Made in India” label. Indian are good in propaganda they present to the world as Indian master piece and mint money and fame. This is how India is shining. Recommend

  • jagmohan
    Jul 2, 2015 - 8:31AM

    @Listener…….You may be partly correct,but too much rubbish thrown on the road.Human
    ideas,sentiments,dramatics are things shared and borrowed and at times used innocently,
    and question of copy right can settle the issue.First of all Sabri saheb and EMI,have to
    settle between themselves as to who has legal rights,it may take years and thus if any
    compensation has to be paid will arise and that too may take years to get settled.Meanwhile
    enjoy the film and famous quwwali too.Our Salman has big heart and big purse and may
    pay amount with smile if really needed,even out of court.Recommend

  • Fahad
    Jul 2, 2015 - 10:31AM

    Adnan Sami is not able to do justice with the Kalam , just search on youtube this qawali in sabri brothers voice you will hear the difference yourself ! . The rights totally bellong to the sabri brothers and their son as well as with EMI records. Recommend

  • Mehren
    Jul 15, 2015 - 8:04AM

    Whether sabri brothers have any llegal authourity to qawwali or not they hav the right on dis coz they are the one who orignaly created dis hit..bollywod nevr do justice to anyone they alwys copy from othr countries films..if they are nt able to creat der own cakes den plz seak permission atleast …coz evryone knows the relty of the work wethr its stoln or originated…credits goes to only n only sabri brother not the movieRecommend

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