Genda Phool is the latest Badshah song starring him and Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez. The composition has been done by Badshah, who has also sung the song along with Payal Dev. The song when released was an instant hit courtesy the unconventional lyrics. But quickly in a surprising turn of events, the song and the singer-rapper is being accused of plagiarising a popular Bengali folk song Borloker Bitilo without crediting the songwriter.
After the music video was released, social media users pointed out that an 85-year-old songwriter, Ratan Kahar, who lives in Birbhum district of West Bengal, should have been credited for the song. Mr. Kahar has claimed that he has written and sung the song. The chorus of the song is in Bengali, which goes, “Boroloker bitilo, lomba lomba chul, Emon mathay bnedhe debo lal genda phool (The rich man’s daughter has long hair, I want to tie a marigold on it).” The line seems to be from Mr. Kahar’s song.
I'm fuming at Bollywood's audacity to rummage through Ratan Kahar's iconic Bangla song "Boro loker beti lo" & ruin it with this disgusting version GENDA PHOOL. We know you're mediocre & have run out of talent, but what stopped u from giving proper credit? Grow a spine rich kids!
— Ahona Sengupta (@ahona_sengupta) March 30, 2020
#Blasphemous @Its_Badshah has stollen the "Gaada Ful" song from Ratan Kahar without seeking express consent from or giving any credit to the original composer.@YouTubeIndia must immediately withdraw this video from their site with an apology to the Bengali community.#GendaPhool pic.twitter.com/VDC3yo7lc6
— Nilanjan Das | নীলাঞ্জন দাস (@NilanjanDas_) March 28, 2020
. @Its_Badshah is it true that "Genda Phool" is not your song?
Someone posted its RATAN KAHAR performing his classic hit GENDA PHOOL from his residence in Shiuri (Birbhum district, West Bengal). Hope original composer get credit. https://t.co/tZUmxNXAk1 #BhulaDunga50M pic.twitter.com/STzjfKKCau
— Dr. Jayesh Thaker (@JThakers) March 30, 2020
বাদশাহর যে 'গেন্দা ফুল' এখন ট্রেন্ডিং চলছে সেই গানের আসল রচয়িতা বীরভূমের সিউড়ির লোকশিল্পী রতন কাহার কী বলছেন শুনুন। প্রচলিত সুর হলেও তাঁরই সৃষ্টি। ওখানকার মানুষ জানেন স্বপ্না চক্রবর্তীর সঙ্গে তাঁর লড়াইয়ের ইতিহাস । স্বীকৃতি দেওয়ার আর্জির পাশাপাশি নিজের গলায় শোনালেন 'বড় লোকের বিটি লো লম্বা লম্বা চুল'… ইন্টারভিউ পড়ুন নিউজ ১৮ বাংলার ওয়েব পেজে। Listen to the original creator of Badshah's new trending music video ' Genda phool' Thanks to my friend Subha Dutta
Debopriyo Dutta Majumder ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 29, 2020
According to a report in India Today, Ratan Kahar, who lives in grim poverty, spoke to a Bengali website and said that he does not even have money to drag the matter to court.
“I wrote the song Boroloker Bitilo. The music, the words, everything is mine. Now, if people are dishonest, what can I do? I am extremely poor. Many people have taken my songs, but have not given me credit. They can’t write their own songs. They used my songs as their own. I live in a hut. I write songs of the soil. I don’t have the financial strength to drag them to court,” he said.
However, Badshah unperturbed by the allegations took to Instagram to clear the air and said that Kahar’s name was not mentioned in the records anywhere.
Badshah has also said, “After receiving so much information from the Bengali community, I have been constantly trying my best to reach out to him and connect with him and be able to do justice to the situation to all my might…” After this clarification, Ratan Kahar has said that no one still has contacted him over the issue.
When asked if he wanted remuneration, Kahar said, “We’re dealing with poverty, there’s not much money at home to even get my daughter married. So if I receive some monetary help that would be a respite,” says Kahar.
The female lead Singer, Payal Dev refuted the claims and opined that the party that is accusing them has no proof to support its statement.
This is not the first time a Bollywood composer has taken a folk song and plagiarized it for minting some quick bucks and overnight fame. There are several examples.
The cult song, Genda Phool in Delhi-6 is actually a Chattisgarhi folk song called Dadariya whereas the song Engine Ki Seeti in Khoobsurat starring Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Fawad Khan is inspired by a Rajasthani folk song, and the original lyrics were, Anjan ki seeti me mharo man dole.
Fukrey, one of the sleeper hit movies of 2013 and its acclaimed song “Ambarsariya” sung by Sona Mohapatra is also inspired by the Punjabi shabad (sacred song) Rakkhi Charna De Kol. Though the lyrics have been modified for the film, they too are inspired by another Punjabi folk song. ‘Nimbooda’ from ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ is originally a Rajasthani folk sung by the women of the Manganiar community.
The Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta starrer movie Mission Kashmir had a song named Bumbro, which is a traditional Kashmiri folk song, originally written for the first-ever Kashmiri opera Bombur ta Yemberzal.
Radhika Ganesh, who started the organization ‘Ek Potli Reth Ki’ and has worked actively towards protecting the rights of folk musicians said, “It is not about royalties. These folk musicians do not really care about money because music, to them, transcends all that. What they really care about is custodianship.” Folk music falls under the category of traditional music which is a part of the public domain. There is no concept of authorship in these cases. And given India’s lousy Intellectual Property laws, it is difficult to challenge and validate the accusations.
Till then the Bollywood will keep blatantly plagiarizing the songs. Although there is no problem in taking folk songs to the mainstream but singers like Ratan Kahar deserve the applaud and recognition for penning and singing them.