Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Jai Ho 'cost Congress $200,000'

Slumdog Millionaire
Jai Ho won the Best Song award at the Oscars

India's Congress party paid nearly $200,000 to buy the rights to Jai Ho, the Oscar-winning song from Slumdog Millionaire, the BBC has learnt.

The governing party plans to use the song as part of its campaign for general elections which are to take place in April and May.

Slumdog, set in the slums of Mumbai (Bombay), won eight Oscars last month.

Bollywood composer AR Rahman and lyricist Gulzar won the Best Song Oscar for Jai Ho, literally meaning victory.

With its catchy tune and uplifting lyrics, Jai Ho has become immensely popular with the public in India.


"The campaign is ready for launch. It has been sent to the party for approval. It should be out on television and radio in a few hours subject to its approval," Harindra Singh, vice-chairman and managing director of advertising firm Percept, told the BBC on Thursday.

Percept negotiated the song's rights with T-Series, which holds the song's copyright.

"The tune of the song and the Jai Ho phrase have been used in the campaign. The lyrics have been written by a combination of people, they will be projecting what the Congress wishes to communicate," Mr Singh said.

Congress party officials say the achievements of the government deserve to be saluted and the song best explains that.

Reliable sources told the BBC that T-Series had received nearly $200,000 for allowing Congress to use the song.

Popular Bollywood numbers are often re-jigged by political parties in India to convey their message to voters.

Words set to popular film tunes can often be heard blaring from loudspeakers at election rallies.

But this is the first time that a party has bought exclusive rights to use a song for political promotion.

At the forthcoming polls, the main contest is expected to be between Congress and the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

If neither wins a clear majority with its allies, smaller regional parties could play a crucial role.

Senior BJP leader, Prakash Javdekar, told Reuters news agency on Wednesday: "This song will ensure their defeat because it will remind every Indian that millions of people still have to stay in slums because of faulty Congress policies."

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