Efforts to sabotage 'Taj Mahal'

MUMBAI: Writer-director-producer Akbar Khan has alleged that a serious attempt is being made to "sabotage" his magnum opus - "Taj Mahal - An Eternal Love Story".

The movie is all set to create history because of its larger-than-life-sets and...
...the massive Rs.500 million plus budget bringing hundreds of creative minds together.

But now he says people with vested interests have tried to harm the image of the film. He said video pirates had started flooding the market with VCDs of Robin Khosla's unsuccessful movie "Taj Mahal - A Monument of Love" packaged with covers bearing the name of Khan's "Taj Mahal - An Eternal Love Story".

The pirates have cleverly lifted designs of Khan's movie from his website and put together a new VCD cover to sell Khosla's film, which, when released two months ago, could not even hold its own for two days in the theatres, he said. "I would like to warn the pirates that they are headed for trouble. I will be going to the roots of this issue and will make sure that the culprits are put behind bars," Khan told IANS.

"At the same time, I would like to tell people not to get fooled by these cheaters. My film is yet to be released and is extremely secure. The movie inside these duplicate inlay cards is not my movie but the Khosla film of which the less said the better."

Khan is planning to release his film in May during the holiday period, while the music will be released on Valentine's Day February 14.

While Zulfikar and Sonya Jehan are being introduced in the movie as Prince Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, the film also stars Manisha Koirala, Kabir Bedi, Pooja Batra, Arbaaz Khan, Arbaaz Ali and Kim Sharma.

The story is co-written by South African freedom fighter Fatima Meer, who had earlier penned Nelson Mandela's biography. Khan said: "News about this racket came to us first from Bangalore. Our lead actor Zulfikar's mom, who lives there, was excited to see a 'Taj Mahal...' VCD carrying the picture of her son on the inlay card. Though she was surprised to see it so soon, she decided to buy it.

"When she watched the film, she was further surprised that it was the Khosla film with an inlay of my film. When we came to know of this, we immediately informed police who raided the shop in Bangalore from where she had purchased this VCD." Soon after, police, with the assistance of the anti-piracy cell, conducted multiple raids in Surat, Ahmedabad and Bangalore and seized more than 5,000 such duplicate VCDs. They arrested two people for printing fake inlay cards for the VCDs and put them in remand for 14 days. Noted musician Naushad has also requested the media to expose such rackets which are killing the film industry. He spoke about his recent visits abroad, where people complained about Indian musicians lifting music from the West with impunity.