Genda Phool lands in a legal situation as West Bengal based NGO, Aatmadeep lodges an FIR against pop singer Badshah, Sneha Shetty Kohli who is director of the music video, producer and the music label, Sony Music India.
The complaint has been registered at Bizpore Police Station that falls within the jurisdiction of Barrackpore Police Commissionerate, West Bengal. In the FIR, dated April 4th 2020, Social activist Prasun Maitra, who also helms the organization Aatmadeep presses charges of hurting ethnic and religious sentiments and disparaging the dignity of Bengali women against those named above.
In the music video, the leading lady is portrayed as a Bengali woman performing the dhunuchi naach in a Durga Pooja Pandal setting. The dhunuchi naach or dhunuchi aarti is traditionally performed in front of the deity during the yearly Durga Pooja in Bengal, and has strong religious inklings. Speaking with Maitra, we understand that though the music video runs on the regular lines of a quintessential rowdy rapper trying to woo a hot siren, Badshah seems to have rubbed the Bengali emotion the wrong way by exploiting the dhunuchi naach and pooja mandap situation, and that projecting the lady, dressed in the signature “Bong” avtar of white saree with a rich red border, flirting with the singer while performing the traditional aarti has been abrasive on the enthic emotion. The activist also brings strong objections for sexualizing the dhunuchi-holding devotee by using explicit lyrics like, ‘bum tera gote khaye’.
Prasun Maitra had sent a tweet to rapper Bhadshah on April 1st demanding an unconditional apology, but on receiving no response from the singer or his representatives he decided on taking the legal route.
Dear @Its_Badshah, in your latest #GendaPhool song you’ve depicted Bengali women & traditional Aarti before Maa Durga in a very vulgar way. Such depiction is an insult to Bengali community. @Aatmadeep_ wants you to tender an unconditional apology else we’ll initiate legal action.
— Prasun Maitra(প্রসূন মৈত্র) (@prasunmaitra) April 1, 2020
For the uninitiated, the Jacqueline Fernandez starrer music video was released on March 25 to titanic reactions, and has amassed over 100 million views in just a week. The Sri Lankan beauty looks ravishing in her white and red ensemble, completing the Bengali look with long curls, big eyes and a red round bindi. After receiving overwhelming reactions on the pop number, Jacqueline encouraged fans to send their recreation of the dance steps, and the challenge of sorts went rife on Instagram and TikTok. A creative way of keeping people occupied during isolation.
But, despite its popularity with the masses, the song has also attracted flak for plagiarizing a Bengali folk song, ‘Bodo loke’r biti go..’ without acknowledging the original singer Ratan Kahar in the credits. The singer of sparse means, when approached by the media, shared that he cannot fight any legal battle against the biggies of the industry as he lacks resources. “If people are dishonest, what can I do.” he concedes. Payal Dev, who piped out the Bengali bit in Badshah’s rap rubbishes all allegations of plagiarism stating no one enjoys the rights to folk songs due to absence of proofs.