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Kajra Re Singer Alisha Slams Embargo On YRF, Bollywood

After receiving a 'royalty cheque' of Rs 15000 for her chartbuster, Alisha Chinai slammed the door shut on Yash Raj Films, and then all of Bollywood, says a media report.Her Aaj Ki Raat from Don
PTI December 10, 2010 17:39 IST
PTI
After receiving a 'royalty cheque' of Rs 15000 for her chartbuster, Alisha Chinai slammed the door shut on Yash Raj Films, and then all of Bollywood, says a media report.

Her Aaj Ki Raat from Don 2 (2006) followed by Kajra Re in Bunty aur Babli (2007) resurrected her as the queen of Indipop, after a stupendously dazzling innings in the 1990s with chartbuster Made in India, in which she canoodled with supermodel Milind Soman in a music video. But today that sassy voice is silent.

Alisha Chinai, has slammed an embargo on Bollywood until it rewrites its copyright rules, thus giving the artiste more bread and butter.

Says Alisha, "Several singers in our country have been whining that we should take a collective call and demand royalty, which is how it works in Hollywood. But after these meetings all go back to the grind.

"However, I have decided that 'enough is enough' and I want Indians also to share my sentiments."

Alisha also finds actors lip-syncing to any singer's voice (i.e. playback) ridiculous.

"Imagine Julia Roberts lipsyncing to Madonna. Will that happen? Or Tom Cruise to Jai Ho? No, na?"

Alisha's stand stems from the days when she sang Kajra Re (for which she won the Filmfare Award for the Best Female Playback Singer) for YRF's Bunty Aur Babli.

The song went on to become an anthem, but Alisha was paid only a paltry sum of Rs 15,000, she alleges. "I was shocked when I received a cheque of only Rs 15,000 from YRF. I gave it back, but they sent it to me again."

"I was aghast when I learnt that YRF was acquiring a royalty on my song whenever I sang it abroad. A point was reached when the organizers of my shows abroad started telling me that I shouldn't sing Kajra Re since they have to shell out a big amount to YRF.

"However, I still sing it and will continue to. But no more of Bollywood for me now. Let the copyright laws change. Phir dekhungi. Why doesn't Bollywood copy the good things from Hollywood?"

After Bunty Aur Babli, Alisha has never worked with YRF again, though she did get an offer from the production house. Alisha makes it loud and clear that she is not targeting YRF. "Many other producers adopt the same policy, but YRF is tougher."

Seated in her flat on Marine Drive, the singer says, "I know that the music industry has changed with so much of piracy. But I am an artiste and it is my prerogative if I want to sing in a Bollywood film or not. I have my nonfilmi songs for sure and I am getting royalty for them."

She refused to lend her voice to Madhur Bhandarkar's Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji. She has also refused several other offers.

"The music scene in India is actually dead. Real artistes are languishing. Solo albums don't sell anymore. Lataji (Mangeshkar) gets her royalties for playback singing.

AR Rahman has always retained his music copyrights! So why do Indian producers refuse to pay other singers? Do you know that some singers are even singing for free in Hindi films? Hasn't the time come that someone put his foot down and said 'Enough is enough'? Why are Madonna and the late Michael Jackson such big names? Simply because Hollywood and the West guarantees royalty," concludes the Made in India girl, clenching her fist.