Rapper Badshah was caught off guard with the plagiarism accusations against him over his new single "Genda phool", with regard to Ratan Kahars Bengali folk song "Boroloker biti lo". The rapper wants to set things right by doing a song with the veteran folk artiste to "do justice to it".
He also plans to get him registered on the copyright bodies and register all his work, so that he can get royalties.
Living far away from spotlight in poverty-stricken condition in Birbhum district's Siuri town with his family, Kahar found himself in the limelight because of his all-time Bengali folk pop hit "Boroloker biti lo", which he created in 1972 -- all thanks to Badshah and the virtual world.
Badshah used portions of the song in his new single, "Genda phool". Soon after the song was released, netizens pointed out portions of the song have been lifted from the popular Bangla folk hit of the seventies. Acting swiftly, the rapper reached out to Kahar and deposited Rs 5 lakh to the veteran folk artiste's bank account.
Asked if the controversy caught him off guard, Badshah told IANS: "Yes, of course, it did. But my team and I had done our complete research on the sample before using the sound, done our due diligence and everywhere it was mentioned as a traditional folk song."
"There was no existing record on any of the past releases of shri Kahar as the lyricist and which is why we went ahead and used the sound in the first place. However, in a couple of days, we started getting tagged in a lot of articles and posts that suggested otherwise according to just popular belief and still with no documented proof. But when I saw and heard his story, irrespective of the credits, I think he is one of the gems that should have been preserved and taken care of. My team reached out to him through some of the people who had run his story, as I definitely wanted to get him the recognition that he deserves," he added.
Badshah continued: "A lot of work has obviously been difficult because of the current lockdown, but as soon as things are back on track, I intend to visit him and request him to do a song with us that Sony Music India will release and do whatever I can do being from the same fraternity, financially or otherwise. But I really wish and hope that he had been taken care of, being the traditional legacy that he is. I come from Punjab and we really nurture and celebrate our legends here and it was sad to see shri Kahar in a situation that he is right now. Hopefully, this will change things."
Due to the lockdown, Badshah spoke to him on a video call.
"He is like any of our elders -- lovable and extremely affectionate. He sang a few of his songs for me, blessed me and I have promised him I am going to be seeing him and do whatever I can in my strength to celebrate and take care of his legacy… Make a new song with him and do justice to it. If required, get him registered on the copyright bodies and register his works and whatever else is required for him to receive his royalties. It was sad to see that an artist of his stature has been in such a situation."
As a "basic gesture", Badshah deposited Rs 5 lakh in his account, and wants to do more.
"Once I visit him after the lockdown, I will try and understand exactly where his difficulties are, in health or his children's education, and take necessary measures to help him further. That is the least and a matter of honour and pride, I can do is, from the new generation of musicians for one of our traditional legends of music," said the rap star.
Though he started his career in 2006 alongside Yo Yo Honey Singh with band Mafia Mundeer, Badshah has paved a way for himself in the industry by giving chart toppers and party numbers.
When it comes to Bollywood, there's "Saturday Saturday", "Kala chashma", "The humma song", "Kar gayi chull", "Tareefan" and "Abhi toh party shuru hui hai". In the section of non-film chartbusters, there are "Proper patola", "DJ Waley Babu", "Mercy" and "She move it like".
As Badshah 2.0, he released "Genda phool", the video of which features actress Jacqueline Fernandez. The song, which comes with a Bengali touch, is themed around Durga Pujo, and is directed by Sneha Shetty Kohli. It has got over 150 million views on YouTube.