Salman Khan snubs Arijit Singh. Furious Babul Supriyo asks why choose Pak artists over Indians?
If the last few decades in Bollywood are anything to go by, Salman Khan is one person who is not the forgive-and-forget kinds. The actor recently said no to yet another Arijit Singh song in the upcoming film Welcome To New York.
Welcome To New York, that stars an ensemble cast comprising Sonakshi Sinha, Karan Johar, Sushant Singh Rajput, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani, features Salman Khan in a special song, Nain Phisal Gaye.
A song called 'Ishtehaar' that is part of Welcome To New York, has had Khan turning down Arijit Singh yet again. Ishtehaar is now in Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's voice.
The problem between Salman and Arijit dates back to 2016, when Singh wrote a long post on Facebook, pleading with Khan to let his version of the song Jag Ghoomeya stay in the film Sultan. However, back then too, it was Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's version that made it to the final cut of the film.
A few hours after putting it out on Facebook, Arijit deleted the post, compelling people to jump to their own conclusions about what might have made the singer remove it from social media.
It was apparently during an award show when Salman and Arijit exchanged a few barbs on the stage. Ever since, Salman reportedly snapped all ties with Arijit. The Tum Hi Ho hit-maker said in his post that he wanted to retire with at least one Salman Khan song in his library.
"I have sung enough songs, sir. But I want to retire with at least one song of you keeping in my library. Please do not take away this feeling," the impassioned plea from Singh read. But that could not melt Salman Khan.
A few days later, there were rumours that Arijit Singh had taken the Jag Ghoomeya snub to heart and said that he would never sing for Salman Khan again. But soon Singh refuted all stories saying, "This is absolutely untrue. Who said so? I will be singing a scratch for him again. Very soon."
However, we never got to hearing Arijit sing for Salman.
In last year's Tiger Zinda Hai too, Dil Diyan Gallan was in Atif Aslam's voice and not Arijit Singh's. And now Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has been chosen over Singh for Ishtehaar.
This has rubbed singer-Union Minister Babul Supriyo the wrong way.
"If that's true, I would request the makers of the film to remove Rahat's voice and get someone else to dub it! I am also not sure why Atif Aslam got to sing Dil Diyan Gallan when for sure our very own Arijit could have done a much better job. The FM stations played the song galore while news channels announced the name of our soldiers martyred by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists," said Supriyo.
The Union Minister did clarify that he did not have any problem with Atif or Rahat, but it is the situation that made him speak about saying no to Pakistani artists.
"Atif as an artist sounds great in Dil Diyan Gallan and Rahat is a great singer too. But it's important to clarify that our problem is not with the artists Atif or Rahat, but with their Pakistani nationality. It's not a political stand but probably the families who have lost their sons, brothers, fathers would feel a lot better should the entire country show solidarity in any manner possible," said the singer, known for numbers like Hum Tum and Sitaro Ki Mehfil Mein.
Babul Supriyo also referred to the protests during the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, in 2016, when director Karan Johar was forced to say that he would never engage with any Pakistani talent in his films again.
"Bollywood is an integral part of that Indianism. It represents India worldwide, hence banning Pakistani artists in Indian films would have also taken the protest against organized terrorism by the rogue nation, worldwide. And I very clearly recall that such a promise was made when Ae Dil Hai Mushkil had met protests due to Fawad Khan. And why is Pakisan's entertainment industry silent over cross-border terrorism," asked Supriyo.
After Babul Supriyo's attack on Welcome To New York makers, looks like the producers are planning on dropping Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's Ishtehaar from the film.
A source told Mid-Day, "The makers are worried that a controversy so close to the film's release, would jeopardise its chance at the box office. Though Chakri (Toleti, the director) is against the idea, the producers are planning to record the song again. The team will record the new version over the next two days."
Director Toleti told the daily, "We are yet to decide on what to do. There have been films (with Pakistani singers), which have managed to go by without any hassle. There needs to be a balance between social responsibility and creative freedom. But people shouldn't have to compromise on artistic liberties."
In the post-Uri attack India, there has been growing resentment over allowing Pakistani artists to work in Bollywood. In the year-and-a-half since September 18, 2016, when the Uri attack took place, the number of Pakistani artists working in Bollywood have reduced.
We have seen actors like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan returning to Pakistan, while singers like Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan have had a few songs here and there.