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Kerala band Thaikuddam Bridge sues the makers of Kannada film Kantara for plagiarizing their song

A catchy prelude on the violin, which almost sounds like the folk pulavan veena played during sarpam pattu – opens the Navarasam – a ritual dance performed in temples by women of the Pulluvar community during snake worship ceremonies in Kerala – song from Kochi The eponymous debut album of the based band Thakuddam Bridge. Helmed by founder and frontman Govind Vasanta, the stellar masterpiece is built with heavy guitars, massive echoes, Vipin Lal’s soft voice, and rock frenzy after Joe. The sound swells as if a huge orchestra is pumping it, finding a state of reverence with some soft vocals. It’s a great sonic extravaganza that hits the spot.

The band garnered much attention for the song, which also made it to the credit of Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Ruth Prabhu-starrer, The Family Man. But what Vasanta and the band didn’t expect was that they would find elements of this 2015 excerpt in Rishabh Shetty-starrer Kannada film, Kantar – 19th century, about a deity named Bhoot, who gets the local king to give away some of his forest land to the tribals, which is claimed back years later by the king’s successor. The song Varaha Rupam in Kantara opens with a similar prelude, only that it is played on a nadaswaram. Vasanta told Indian Express“I came to know about the song when people started messaging and congratulating the band for appearing in Kantara. I heard the song they made and I thought it was beyond impressed.”

Vasanta, who is unhappy with the copyright infringement, has already formed a legal team to prosecute the filmmaker, producer and Kantara’s creative team. “There’s a process to these things. They could have actually asked us to use the song and we could tweak it for them. It would have been nice for the filmmakers to use an independent band in their film.” ,” says Vasanth, who is now a renowned musician in the Tamil and Malayalam music industry and is known for his signature mix of a sought-after classical and contemporary sound.

According to the band’s bassist Vian Fernandes, if the song had only been inspired, they would have let it go. “Sometimes, we like certain flavors and we try to bring them into our conversations. But taking off the track and adding every element, including the orchestration, and not giving credit to the cast is a different ballgame entirely, says Fernandes.

Post the controversy on social media and before the band decided to take the legal route, Kantara’s musician Ajneesh Loknath called Vasant and was upset by the controversy. “He certainly didn’t accept the plagiarism part. I also compose music for films and I believe there are very different pressures in that world. So I can’t just blame Ajneesh for it. Me. Sure the creative people involved or the writers and producers used Navarasam as a reference for their song. In my experience, a lot of filmmakers tell you they want a song to sound like something they’ve already heard. But usually one creates something in the same energy and vibrancy. Ajneesh was very polite and I consoled him, but the problem exists,” says Vasant.

While the multilingual and acclaimed passage is shrouded in layers of meaning, at a basic level it reflects the idea of ​​the performing arts that were once learned at the feet of a master and how they are rapidly becoming ‘a’. The demonic ghost of its former self” is based on the nine moods described in the Natyashastra – in addition to the performance of the Navarasas – and the world of Indian performing arts (music, dance and theatre). But this song is also based on the same world based on caste prejudices so deeply rooted. To illustrate the idea, the band took the Navarasas and performed them through Kathakali – one of the most recognizable dance forms from India to India that combines dance, storytelling and mythology, which Some have died for years.It is also the art form that the song’s founder Govind Vasantha (earlier Menon) grew up watching his elder brother perform after spending hours on elaborate make-up, costumes and rice paper masks on the face. “Seeing my brother back home in Irinjalakuda (Thrissur) learning and dancing Kathakali had a huge impact on me,” says Vasanta.

The story of the song, as shown in the music video, is about a young boy learning Kathakali from his parents, who is bullied at school by ‘upper caste boys’ and eventually tries to escape the beating. There are many layers to this piece and I leave it for people to interpret,” says Vasant. While it is a story of art, their beauty and decline, it is a story of those from the lower castes. There is also a story of those who wish to practice the “high arts”. The story probably comes from the marginalized community of Ezhavas, many of whom adopted Kathakali. Kantara’s video uses the imagery of Garudi Gombe, In which heavy dress like Kathakali and face paint is involved.

Thaikuddam Bridge came into focus in 2014 when they had a virtual world with wild musical mishmash. What set him apart was his short but interesting songs marked by versatility. As far as the unique nickname of the band is concerned, it was something they came up with. Vasantha once said, “All the hunky, funky, lean, mean, fat, brat members of the band jammed themselves in a room near the Thakkudam Bridge in Kochi.” All the music was his own.

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