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Gauhar Raza refutes Sahmat’s charges

Staff Reporter

Asserts that he retains the copyright for all his films including “Jang-e-Azadi”

NEW DELHI: Asserting that he retains the copyright for all his films including “Jang-e-Azadi”, noted filmmaker Gauhar Raza on Friday refuted charges of having violated the Copyright Act as alleged by Sahmat.

Addressing media persons, Mr. Raza said: “The film was made by me and I retain the copyright. I personally do not believe in copyright, therefore I have always allowed non-government organisations to copy and screen my films. During the time that I was associated with Sahmat, there were many artists who did many things. Subha Mudgal sang for them, M.F. Husain painted for them, but this does not entitle Sahmat to claim copyright.”

Legal notice

Sahmat has issued a legal notice to Mr. Raza for allowing the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan to screen the film “Jang-e-Azadi”, which is based on the 1857 uprising against British rule. The film has been made by Mr. Raza, who claims it was released six months after a presentation on its subject was made by Sahmat.

“We have replied to their legal notice and made it clear that, contrary to their claims, NYKS has not paid a single penny for the film. The film has been screened free of cost,” said Mr. Raza who blamed “certain members of Sahmat” for “instigating a malicious campaign” against him.He said there was a whisper campaign that the film had been sold to NYKS for Rs. 2.8 lakh. “When NYKS approached me for a copy of the film, it was given to them without any consideration, as it was given in the past to several other organisations.”

“Sahmat alleged that the film was first screened during a function organised to commemorate the 140 years of the 1857 uprising. But the fact is that the film was not even ready; what we had was an audio-video presentation based on whatever material I had collected for the film. I requested Zohra Segal to narrate a few parts during a stage show and there was a presentation of visuals,” Mr. Raza said.

No money sought

“I will assert my copyright, but I will not press for damages as I have been advised. I have never asked Sahmat for any money for any of my films that they have screened, copied and sold. And I will not seek any money from them now,” he said, adding, “Sahmat wants compensation from us for screening Jang-e-Azadi.”

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