Veteran actor Shabana Azmi today hit out at the makers of the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging they had intentionally added the name of her husband, eminent poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, to the film's credits. Javed Akhtar had days earlier took to social media to express shock on finding his name as a lyricist. Veteran lyricist Sameer too had expressed surprise on social media on finding his name on the film's credits and said he had not written any songs for the film.
"It is quite clear this was done with deliberate intentions to mislead public into believing that Javed Akhtar has written the songs for 'PM Narendra Modi' when the song 'Ishwar allah tere jahan mein' is from Deepa Mehta's film '1947 Earth'," said Ms Azmi on Twitter, in a reply to a tweet.
Its quite clear this was done with deliberate intentions to mislead public into believing that @Javedakhtarjadu has written the songs for Mr PM Narendra Modi when the song Ishwar Allah Tere JahaN meiN is from @IamDeepaMehta film 1947Earth.- Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) March 23, 2019
'PM Narendra Modi' Producer Sandeep Ssingh had on Saturday responded to the controversy, suggesting Mr Akhtar could have called the filmmakers or actor Vivek Oberoi, who plays the movie's titular character, personally to resolve the controversy.
"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.
The producer had also posted an explanation on Twitter, saying the film's makers had used songs penned by the lyricists from two older movies and had thus credited the two lyricists for the songs.
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.
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 Akhtar's tweet, which he posted on Friday, has racked upto 28,000 likes and more than 9,000 retweets and elicited polarised reactions across the micro-blogging platform.
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
Some, like activist and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan labelled the credit "defamatory", had suggested Mr Akhtar file for defamation, while others said the credited lyricist was a different Javed Akhtar.
The movie is scheduled to be released on April 5.