Salman receives legal notice over qawali song in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’

Salman Khan’s upcoming movie ‘Bajraangi Bhaijaan’ is yet again courting controversy over the qawali song ‘Bhar do jholi meri’.

The makers of the film, including Salman, director Kabir Khan, composer Pritam Chakraborty and music company T-Series have been served a legal notice for using the song without permission.

Abdul Samee Siddiqui had acquired the rights of the qawali from Amjad Farid Sabri and Shumail Maqbool Sabri, heir of the original composers Sabri brothers, in 2007.

The qawali was composed by Haji Maqbool Ahmed Sabri and performed together with his elder brother, Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri way back in 1975. ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ has included a modified version of the song rendered by Adnan Sami.

Talking to Mid-Day, Abdul Siddiqui said “I acquired the rights of the song eight years ago for a film that I was making on Indo-Pak relations with director Rajkumar Santoshi, which didn't materialise. But that doesn't mean that the qawali can be used by another person just like that."

Abdul’s lawyer Rashid Zafar added, "If they don't reply to this letter, we will soon decide our future course of action." Meanwhile, Amjad Farid Sabri and Shumail Maqbool Sabri are also contemplating legal action against the makers.

Speaking to the tabloid, Amjad, son of Ghulam Sabri said, “T-Series had called us once to say they were considering using our qawali in the film. I had said they could discuss it with us further and we would do the needful. But after that, I didn’t get any calls from their side and then I see a video of the song. Its presentation in the film is upsetting.

“A few years ago, I had sold the rights of a few qawalis, including that of Bhar do jholi’s, so the current owners will take legal action if needed. As of now, we have put legal action on hold as I am expecting a discussion with Salman Khan in a few days,” he added.

His cousin Shumail who is the son of the original composer Maqbool Sabri, also added, “It’s our duty to respect and carry forward the legacy of my father and uncle. My elder brother (Amjad) will take necessary action in this regard. Not only did they not ask, they didn't even give us credit.”

Pakistani music label EMI which had recorded the original composition was also thinking of legal action, however, Amjad said he has all the necessary documents to prove ownership to the qawali. “So, EMI cannot claim it,” he mentioned.

Composer Pritam said Kabir and Salman were keen to include the song in the film so he recreated the qawali. “I was told all necessary permissions have been acquired by the music company,” he said.  

During the launch of ‘Aaj Ki Party’ song recently, Salman had said that he would look into the legal matters, if any.