Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday urged actor-producer Aamir Khan to withdraw his resignation from the committee set up last Sunday to iron out differences between film producers and creative personnel over the proposed amendments to the copyright law.
At the same time, Mr. Sibal clarified that the committee was not a government-appointed one, but just a panel of experts he had put together to bridge the differences. The Minister said he had spoken to Mr. Khan urging him to reconsider his resignation. “He said he would consider it.”
Meanwhile, seven members of the 10-member committee have written to Mr. Sibal seeking his intervention in persuading Mr. Khan to withdraw his resignation. “We would very definitely like Aamir to continue on this committee,” Javed Akhtar, Anjum Rajabali, Vishal Bhardwaj, Prasoon Joshi, Saket Chaudhury, Vishal Dadlani and Ram Sampat said in their letter to the Minister.
Appreciative of the government’s efforts to amend the copyright regime to award creativity, the signatories to the letter described it as a “highly desirable step.” They also sought to clarify that “there has never been any doubt about Aamir’s intentions in engaging with this process, far less his integrity.”
Admitting differences with Mr. Khan over the proposed amendments, the signatories to the letter said: “His intention is the same as the rest of us — to work out a proposal that is fair to all parties concerned, and therefore for the Indian film industry.”
In his resignation letter, Mr. Khan said: “It seems to me that there is an attempt by certain people to attack me in public by printing lies about me, thereby turning the attention away from a genuine debate about copyright issues.” He apparently dashed off the letter after an altercation with Mr. Akhtar over sharing royalty with lyricists and other creative minds in the film business.
As to whether there would be a rethink on the amendments, Mr. Sibal said the Cabinet had approved them and the Bill was ready for introduction in Parliament. Producers have told the Minister that they would be in a position to pay royalty to creative personnel only if a film was a hit at the box-office, but Mr. Sibal’s contention was that the law could not be tailored to meet every variable.
However, he said that all those who had apprehensions about the provisions of the draft legislation could air them before the parliamentary standing committee.