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Coolie: Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Film Embroiled in a Copyright Dispute Involving Ilayaraja’s Music

Ilayaraja has swiftly taken legal action against the producers of ‘Coolie’ for the unauthorized use of his music in the teaser. The film, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj and starring Rajinikanth, featured a recreation of Ilayaraja’s song ‘Va va pakkam va’ from the 1983 film ‘Thanga Magan’. However, the version used in the teaser was from the 1983 movie, not the 2015 remake with music by Anirudh Ravichander. This move has stirred controversy, with Ilayaraja staunchly determined to protect his copyrights.

According to reports, the legal notice emphasized the absence of formal permission from Ilayaraja, the original owner of the song ‘Va Va Pakkam Va’, and its music used in the teaser. This act is deemed a violation under the Copyright Act of 1957. The complaint specifically targets director Lokesh Kanagaraj, alleging habitual involvement in such infringements. Previously, Kanagaraj should have sought permission for the song ‘Vikram Vikram’ in his film ‘Vikram’. Similarly, the music of the song ‘En Jodi Manja Kuruvi’ from Kanagaraj’s production ‘Fight Club’ is also alleged to have been reproduced without consent.

In April, Sun Pictures released promotional material for ‘Coolie’, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, paying homage to Rajinikanth. This material included a reimagined rendition of a track from Rajinikanth’s 1983 movie ‘Thangamagan’.

Ilayaraja insisted that the producers of ‘Coolie’ either secure proper authorization for the song ‘Vaa Vaa Pakkam Vaa’ or remove it from the movie teaser. The notice warned that failure to comply would result in serious legal repercussions for the producers.

Interestingly, there are two films titled ‘Thanga Magan’ – one from 1983, directed by A. Jagannathan and starring Rajinikanth and Poornima, with music by Ilayaraja, and the other from 2015, directed by Velraj and starring Dhanush, Samantha, and Amy Jackson, with music by Anirudh Ravichander. Apart from the title, the connection between these films remains unclear. Additionally, both the 2015 ‘Thanga Magan’ and Lokesh Kanagaraj’s ‘Coolie’ share the same music composer, Anirudh Ravichander.

This controversy highlights the importance of respecting intellectual property rights in the entertainment industry and serves as a reminder for filmmakers to obtain proper permissions before using copyrighted material in their projects.

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