Unauthorized Use of Tulu Song in Telugu Movie – Damage Claimed
Mangaluru: ‘Deepa Nalike’, an album of an assortment of Tulu songs, was produced by Prasanna Suratkal of Siri Channel in 2007. It was a runaway success because of the ethnic subjects it covered and the use of local instruments from Tulunadu, presented in an innovative way.
Well-known Tulu scholars and lyricists like Dr Vamana Nandavara, Dr Ganesh Amin Sankamar, Dr Amrita Someshwara, Pramoda K Suvarna, Rashi Tirtha, Paramananda Salian, Bhaskar Nellitirtha, Shashiraj Rao Kavoor, the late K V Rao Ujire and Dr Sunita Shetty had contributed their creations to the album.
Gifted artistes like Rameshchandra, Ravindra Prabhu, Anita D’Souza, Zeena, Mime Ramdas, Katyayini, Sheena Budoli, Dinesh Kinnigoli, Dhananjaya Varma, Gururaj, former RJ Vinayak of ‘Vismaya’ fame, Shashiraj Rao Kavoor, Zakir Ahmed, Suma Ramesh and Shinoy had lent their voices to enhance and embellish the quality of the album. The tunes were composed by Mime Ramdas and Sheena Budoli.
Another highlight of the album was the preference and prominence given to local ethnic musical instruments like naadaswara, kombu, flute, taase, Dolu, tembare, tamaTe, chenDe, maddale, chakrataaLa and others.
‘BoLLi mugale ninna payaNa’, ‘nalipu nayile’, ‘solme uLLeyaa’, ‘KaDala parbaye’, ‘siri chaavaDi’, ‘Oorda pudar’, ‘Bangarda kangaNa, ‘BonTe’, ‘va porluyaa’, ‘patt dharmada sudekulu’ and many other songs therein have remained etched in music-lovers’ hearts.
A fishermen’s song describes their daily grind and toils at sea. Another – Oorda pudar – rues the present trend of replacing the heritage and historical names of places in Tulunadu with patently unpleasant ones ending with ‘pura’ and ‘nagar’.
But, without reflections on the quality of other songs, the most popular of them all is ‘Aa lele, ereg madime’, which is being sung and hummed at many weddings, cutting across the barriers of faith.
It was sung by ‘Vismaya’ Vinayak and Anita D’Souza. The credit of the concept and tune of the song belonged to Mime Ramdas while the orchestration was by Vinod Suvarna.
Penned by noted Tulu academician-researcher Dr Vamana Nandavara, it crossed the western ghat barriers in popularity. It was used by a Kannada film director in a movie with comedian Komal in the lead. But the song was re-created by its own musician, after obtaining permission from the original copyright holder.
On the contrary, a few friends of Mime Ramdas and others happened to watch a Telugu movie ‘Brahmotsavam’ in a multiplex in the city recently.
They were surprised and shocked to observe that a 36-second audio clipping of the Tulu song had been lifted in toto from the original and used in the movie.
It has been depicted so as to create an impression that it was the Telugu producer and director’s own creation, when the hero’s family dances to the tune while picnicking. It is certainly a gross violation of intellectual property rights.
The producers who invested so much in terms of resources, time, creativity, energy etc. in the production of the album were naturally outraged. Upon obtaining counsel, they have now served a legal notice through city-based advocate Shashiraj Rao Kavoor – who incidentally had also lent his voice to the album – on the Brahmotsavam producer, Prasad V Patluri and Mahesh Babu aka Prince, a senior Telugu actor based in Hyderabad, Telangana.
The respondents have been asked to tender an unconditional apology for their act of plagiarism and also pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh.
In the past, some clippings from Tulu and Konkani tunes from Mangaluru have been lifted by Bollywood and other music directors. But the original composers had not bothered to take the copycats to task.
But now that the Deepa Nalike producers have taken this bold step, it will be interesting to see what response the legal notice will elicit.
Speaking to this writer, Shashank of Tulu Isiri (pronounced ‘aisiri’) and Mime Ramdas, who composed the tune, expressed their pain about the creativity theft and hoped that they would get justice.