Aamir resigns from Copyright Act panel

Miffed by media reports that he is trying to harm writers, Bollywood star Aamir Khan has resigned from the 10-member committee formed by the government to look into the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act.

"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," Aamir wrote Tuesday to Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal.

According to media reports, at a recent meeting between producers and writers over the issue of royalties, Aamir tried to take the credit from the writers by saying that a song’s popularity depends on the star it was picturised on and not on the lyricist’s efforts. His remarks apparently angered Javed Akhtar who said that the song "Papa kehte hain" became a hit despite the fact that Aamir was not a star at that time.

Aamir says he isn’t comfortable facing such allegations.

"I am grateful to you for inviting me to be part of a committee to discuss the various issues regarding amendments to the Copyright Act. However in light of these public attacks on me I don’t think I am comfortable to be part of this committee," he said in his letter to Sibal.

"I take great pride in my honesty and integrity, and attach an enormous amount of value to my sense of justice and fair play. Monetary achievements have never excited me. If they had, I would have acted in many more than one film a year, thereby being financially much richer than I currently am."

The actor’s latest release "3 Idiots" broke several box office records. But he is not driven by monetary achievements and never hesitates to do challenging work, he said.

"Had I been driven by monetary achievements I would not have produced films that challenge the mainstream and break new ground, films like ‘Lagaan’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Peepli Live’, that most producers would hesitate to produce.

"I believe that what I have earned is the love and respect of my colleagues and my audience. And this I have done through my work and through the manner in which I work. This is why such public attacks are most damaging to me emotionally and leave me crippled," Aamir wrote.

Aamir made his debut with Madan Sharma’s "Holi" in 1984 but it was his cousin Mansoor Ali Khan’s directorial venture "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" that made him an overnight star. After that there was no looking back for Aamir.

In the letter, he also said that based on his long association with the industry, he has a lot to contribute to the ongoing debate, but cannot make any "meaningful contribution in this atmosphere".

"In the past 26 years of my involvement with the film industry, I may have made mistakes, but never have I knowingly been dishonest or unfair in my dealings, whether as an assistant director, actor, producer or director.

"I feel I have a lot to contribute to the ongoing debate but I cannot make any meaningful contribution in this atmosphere. Aggression of this type leaves me feeling very disillusioned and sad and I am unable to function.

"Therefore I request you to accept my resignation from this committee and please appoint another person in my place," he wrote.

"I believe that amendments to the Copyright Act are long overdue and I am so happy that a person like you is spearheading this movement. I believe that the changes that you are bringing about in the sphere of education are so dynamic, progressive and positive, that I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that you will do the same in the field of copyright."

The panel also includes Javed Akhtar, Boney Kapoor, Mukesh Bhatt, Vishal Bharadwaj, Vishal Dadlani, Prasoon Joshi, Anjum Rajabli, Madhu Manthena and Bhushan Kumar.(IANS)

We would like to hear your comments below: