Paying for being privileged
18 Apr 2008, 0035 hrs IST
(Krazzy 4 controversy related article)
Just around the corner is Happiness. No that isnâ€™t only the name of my friend Sanjay Bhansaliâ€™s canine. Itâ€™s something that the Roshans are looking forward to when Hrithikâ€™s baby is born. But right now the Roshans are in mood to rejoice.
There is a tension not immediately evident to a visitor. But once you look under the glistening surface (the Roshans possess one of the most well-kept and aesthetic homes in film-dom), you can sense the hurt of betrayal. Not the anger of being sued for such a large sum of money. What is â€˜largeâ€™ if not a relative term?
But the sense of having been caught unawares about a situation of which they werenâ€™t fully apprised or even conscious, has hit the Roshans where it hurts the most. And Iâ€™m not talking about their pockets. The hurt goes much deeper. And as Sampat collects the triumphant prize money and gets patted on the back for taking on a filmic empire, I wonder if somewhere the privileged sections of the film industry have to suffer only because they are privileged.
Hrithik isnâ€™t talking. Not yet. But like any devoted son he canâ€™t bear to see his father being humiliated. â€œIn 40 years of his career my father hasnâ€™t been put through this kind of agony and pain,â€ Hrithik told one of his friends. â€œI am sure Ram Sampat has much reason to feel vindicated. After all it isnâ€™t everyday that a guy wins Rs 2 crores in a fast-track case.â€
Ram lucked out. The Roshans,they say, had it coming. You canâ€™t be a filmic empire and not get battered and bruised by the blizzards that blow across Bollywood when money walks by. Yash Chopra found out this the hard way. Every time he would open his mouth in the press in all innocence there would be trouble. His more cinema-savvy but press-wary son didnâ€™t help matters. Today Mr Chopra has been given standing orders by his near and dear ones to answer every question even a simple â€˜How are youâ€™ with a â€˜No commentâ€™.
Comment, there has been galore over Sampathâ€™s legally obtained sampati from the Roshans. There are some strange twists and turns to this tale adding up to a picture thatâ€™s not quite the portrait of self-righteousness some of us would like us believe.
Nobody knows that Ram Sampatâ€™s best friend has directed Hrithik in many of his best-known ads. And Hrithik has always been openly appreciative of Sampathâ€™s tunes. â€œEach time Hrithik hears one more dishy tune by Ram heâ€™d call up Ram and shower compliments on him. Theyâ€™ve been chatting over their ads for the last two years. When the Roshans got a legal notice from Ram; Hrithik naively thought he could reason with Ram, make him understand that the Roshans were not the least aware of any irregularity in the transference of the tune from ad -jingle to feature-film. You see Hrithik believes every one is good as long as youâ€™re good to him. Hrithik thought if he explained the situation to Ram heâ€™d listen. Naively and against the advice of lawyers and his father Hrithik sms-ed and called up Ram and told him about getting the rights from the cellphone company. Ram, in turn, assured Hrithik that they would together fight the cellphone company. When Ram produced Hrithikâ€™s sms and calls in court Hrithik was horrified. Even to-day after all the pain that the family has gone through Hrithik, tells his friends Ram Sampat is a good composer,â€ says a close friend of Hrithik.
Iâ€™ve known Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik for many years. Softspoken and trying to remain non-controversial all through they never badmouth anyone, never act highhanded and hardly ever make comments on other peopleâ€™s work. What really hurts in an ugly situation like the â€˜Roshans versus Ram Sampatâ€™ is that the underdog ends up looking like a messiah even before the legal verdict is out.
For now Ram Sampat is the champion of all the downtrodden, persecuted, victimised and wronged copyright casualties of the entertainment kingdom.But would the film industry want to work with him? Would he be seen as a crusader or a trouble-maker?
The thing about copyright is youâ€™ve got to copy right. Or not copy at all. In the case of Krazzy4 a tune did exchange hands. But the Roshans went to the wrong people. They reasoned that if you want a cellphone tune you ask the cellphone company. As simple as that. â€œItâ€™s sad. But the cellphone company has washed its hands off the matter. Theyâ€™ve stopped taking Hrithikâ€™s innumerable calls. As far as theyâ€™re concerned itâ€™s a matter between the Roshans and Mr Sampath,â€ says a member of the Roshan family. Hurt and betrayed Hrithik is in the process of getting his contract with the cellphone company terminated. Only then will he speak. In the meanwhile his silence is being construed by some as a sign of defeat.
And that is inexcusable. Because all said and done we arenâ€™t talking about any Johnny-come-lately. Weâ€™re talking about a family which has contributed immensely to the film industry. To accuse them of stealing a song is akin to accusing Preity Zinta of stealing a black eye. The mark shows up at the moment. But itâ€™s only a temporary welter. No need to run helter-skelter. If you are a Bachchan, Chopra or a Roshan youâ€™ve got pay every step along the way for the family name.