- Javed Akhtar said he was "shocked" to find his name in credits of film
- The producer said credit was for two old songs written by Mr Akhtar
- Activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan called the credit "defamatory"
The producer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's biopic named after him on Saturday spoke out over a controversy which started after the makers of the movie credited lyricists Javed Akhtar and Sameer with writing the movie's songs. Producer Sandip Ssingh suggested Mr Akhtar could have called the filmmakers or actor Vivek Oberoi, who plays the movie's titular character, personally and resolved the controversy. The eminent 74-year-old poet and lyricist had on Friday expressed shock on social media over seeing his name alongside the movie's other lyricists, which includes censor board chairman Prasoon Joshi.
Lyricist Sameer, who is known to have penned thousands of songs in a career spanning decades, also expressed shock over the move on Twitter. In a tweet in Hindi, the lyricist wrote he was "amazed" to see his name figure as one of the movie's lyricists. "I have never written any song for such a film," he said in the tweet.
Mr Ssingh had earlier taken to Twitter as well to offer an explanation, saying the film's makers had used songs penned by the lyricists from two older movies. The songs used were 'Ishwar Allah' from the film '1947: Earth' (written by Javed Akhtar) and 'Suno Gaur Se Duniya Waalon' from 'Dus' (written by Sameer), according to Mr Ssingh.
"Thus we have given the due credits to respective lyricists Javed Sahab and Sameer Ji," Mr Ssingh said in a tweet.
We have taken the songs 'Ishwar Allah' from the film '1947:Earth' and the song 'Suno Gaur Se Duniya Walon' from the film 'Dus' in our film, thus we have given the due credits to respective lyricists Javed Sahab and Sameer Ji. @TSeries is our Music partner. @ModiTheFilm2019- Sandip Ssingh (@sandip_Ssingh) March 23, 2019
"Javed sahab is a senior writer in our country. We have grown up listening to his songs. We have used one of his old songs 'Ishwar Allah' from '1947: Earth' and gave him credit," said Mr Ssingh, quoted by news agency PTI.
"I did not get any call from him and so I also did not call him. He spoke about it on Twitter, so even I replied there. But he could have called us," he said.
Am shocked to find my name on the poster of this film. Have not written any songs for it ! pic.twitter.com/tIeg2vMpVG- Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) March 22, 2019
The tweet has racked upto 26,000 likes and more than 9,000 retweets, with wife Shabana Azmi and son Farhan Akhtar also retweeting the post.
The post elicited many different reactions on Twitter, with some voicing their support for the poet-lyricist and saying he should file for defamation against the filmmakers, while others suggested that the credited lyricist could be a different Javed Akhtar.
Activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan supported Javed Akhtar and called the credit "defamatory".
The trailer for 'PM Narendra Modi' was launched at a multiplex in Mumbai by the film's cast and crew.
The movie has Vivek Oberoi essaying the role of the Prime Minister and also features Boman Irani, Manoj Joshi, Zarina Wahab and Prashant Narayanan.
The movie is scheduled to be released on April 5.
(With Inputs From PTI)