Although A R Rahman has opted out of Shah Rukh Khan production Om Shanti Om , he insists the parting is amicable , and certainly not final. "I'm not doing Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om. But that doesn't mean there's any quarrel with her or with Shah Rukh who produces her film. Farah and I go back a long way. We did Bombay Dreams together.
In fact I did some tunes for Om Shanti Om which Farah has now returned to me, not because she didn't like them but because we just couldn't agree on my terms."
Rahman's new policy for music composition is simple. "I just want to push for the financial rights of composers and lyricists, even producers. It's not as though I'm saying I want to be the sole proprietor of the songs I compose. But I want a share. There's nothing wrong with that.
I can't run to music companies like T Series and Sa Re Ga Ma every time I need to use my own song." Unfortunately not too many producers in Bollywood are willing to share Rahman's demand for a share in the royalty for a song.
But Rahman holds no grudges against anyone, least of all Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh from whose productions the composer has opted out on these issue. "In fact Shah Rukh tried his utmost to see and to put forward my point of view," defends Rahman. Unfortunately T Series, the music company which would market the music of Om Shanti Om , would have none of it.
Laughs Rahman, "I realize I've a huge fight though I don't see it as a fight. It's not like the British rock band Queen which owned soled copyrights to all their songs. But I won't run to music companies in Mumbai for the rights for my songs every time I want to perform them at the concerts.
Music companies must recognize the changing ground reality. Today the conventional outlets for music sales are drying up. Soon all music will be free while the performers and performances will be paid for." Rahman is ready to take on the flak . " Any change is frowned at. But I'm standing up for what I think is right. Yes, producers will back out. But that's fine. This gap gives me the excuse to work on my private album. For long I've been asked why I'm not doing a non-film album. Now I've the time to do that."
What could complicate matters for Rahman in Mumbai is his selective attitude to the copyright issue. While he has chosen to assert his financial rights over Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, Rahman has exempted Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodha-Akbar from the copyright-net. Says Rahman, "It has to be flexible. I can't draw a net on all my assignments and draw up a uniform code. At the same time I'm not insecure about my career. If I lose out on some assignments in Mumbai I'm ready to bear with the loss."