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Old royalty feud between Rafi and Lata breathes new life
Limited revenues that producers earned back in 1960s might have forced Mohammad Rafi to go against his fellow singers, who vowed to fight it out with the producers while demanding royalty for their songs. But few decades down the line, the situation has changed completely.

IT WAS a Deja vu for the fans of Indian film industry when Javed Akhtar sometime back demanded royalty for singers and writers from film producers. A similar incident was witnessed in 1960s when  many singers in the industry rose up and demanded royalty from the film revenues.

Lata Mangeshkar, the melody queen, recently in an interview on her 83rd birth anniversary spilled the beans while claiming that she had to give up the fight, as another singing legend Mohammad Rafi, influenced other singers, asking them not to support her. This hasn't, however gone down very well with Rafi's family, who have demanded an apology from Mangeshkar.

She went on to claim that Rafi had even written her an apology letter after he, in a fit of anger, said that he won't sing with her anymore. Furious at Mangeshkar's statement, Shahid Rafi, son of singing legend threatened legal action against Mangeshkar if she 'doesn't apologise within the next ten days'.

"My father was national property. I am hurt and so are his fans. If she can prove that my father had written an apology letter to her, then I am ready to apologise. But the main thing is that she should come forward and produce that letter. Also my father was illiterate and he couldn't write," Shahid Rafi told a presser.

This, however doesn't seem to be a matter of disagreements only; it proves how different ideologies can be used bt powerful people in the industry. Rafi's point of view was that he didn't want royalty because this could have put extra financial pressure on producers, if films failed at the box office. His point was selfless while maintaining that singers are paid their fee, whether or not film makes any strides at the box office.

Mangeshkar's point, more practical couldn't survive the test of time, and she had to give up the fight, apparently because everyone was struggling to even survive during those days. Those days because of respect Rafi earned (which continues even till today), he was able to influence his colleagues and singers to move in the way he thought was right.

Though today when Akhtar raised the issue again, things are completely different and producers are ready to pay some part of royalty as per the individual project and the person involved. But in 1960s when there were no multiplexes around and films weren't marketed much, revenue generated was very less. This could have probably forced Rafi to take the decision.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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