Apr 03, 2020

Genda Phool lands in copyright controversy (Video) Featured

Sony Music India recently released a song - 'Genda Phool' on their Youtube channel, which is currently one of the top trending videos in India.

The song, sung by rap singing star Badshah and Payel Dev also features  Sri Lankan born Bollywood actress - Jacqueline Fernandez and has garnered over 88m views so far. 


The song, which has the hookline,  "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)," has now landed into a controversy over copyright. 

The Bengali folk song was originally composed by Ratan Kahar in 1972.  Kahar's song was adapted by Swapna Chakaraborty back in 1976. However, she didn't give any credit to Kahar and went on to receive many accolades for her version of Kahar's property. 

Since then it has been remixed and remade multiple times for Bengali movies and TV shows.

Songs of the soil

However, since Kahar didn't and still doesn't have the financial backing to legally take back what is his, he doesn't get any royalty for the song.

Speaking to a Bengali website, Kahar said, "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."

Soon after, netizens came out in support of the original composer and slammed Badshah and Jacqueline for not giving the man his due credit.

The tragic tale of Ratan Kahar is as follows :

Story of Boroloker Bitilo

In the video, Kahar lays out the background tale of the lyrics as follows :

"The purpose behind this song was a harlot. A girl abandoned by her husband, sold to a prostitute. started living in a brothel. There she gave birth to a baby girl. When the child was around seven or eight, her mother is tying her hair up. While tying her locks, her mother is thinking that her daughter is a girl of a wealthy man, she is not like her. That is why she said, "Oh you girl of a rich man, with your long hair... I will tie red marigolds in such hair...Then she talks about herself... about her character," he says.

Badshah responds

In response, Badshah wrote on Instagram that they have done their 'due diligence before releasing the song, and nowhere on any copyright societies or on any of the previous reprises/ versions of the song was Mr. Ratan Kahar credited as lyricist. Information all across say that "Boro loker Beti Lo" is a traditional/ Folk song from the Bauls of Bengal. Just for general information, Traditional songs are open for recreations/ reprises/ sampling globally.'

Stating that he has been trying to do right by Kahar, the singer added, "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. However, the lockdown situation has not been very helpful, it has been difficult to get through to the village that Shri Kahar is in and I am still trying. I urge and request any of the representatives who have been speaking on his behalf, to help me connect with him so I can do whatever possible on my part on humanitarian grounds to put this right." 

The complete Instagram post and the hit song Genda Phool is as follows :

View this post on Instagram

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