The remixed version of A R Rahman’s track “Masakali” from “Delhi 6” has sparked a controversy with both the team of the original as well as the fans criticising the exploitation of the popular “Delhi 6” song.
The original track, penned by Prasoon Joshi and sung by Mohit Chauhan, had featured in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s 2009 feature, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor.
On Wednesday, Bhushan Kumar’s T-series launched the remix of the song, dubbed “Masakali 2.0”, from composer Tanishq Bagchi and singers Tulsi Kumar and Sachet Tandon. The track’s music video features Sidharth Malhotra and Tara Sutaria.
Though Rahman refrained from taking any names, the music director expressed his disappointment over the new song, saying he never took any “short cuts” in his career. He urged his fans to listen to the original track, which he said was composed after a lot of hardwork by his team.
“No short cuts, properly commissioned, sleepless nights, writes and re-writes. Over 200 musicians, 365 days of creative brainstorming with the aim to produce music that can last generations.
“A team of a director, a composer and a lyricist supported by actors, dance directors and a relentless film crew,” the music composer said.
Rahman also posted a link to the original song in the tweet, reading, “#Masakali Enjoy the original.”
Mehra was more direct in his criticism, saying that the recreated “Masakali” track will “damage” the “eardrums” of the listeners.
“#Masakali #Delhi6 created with love and passion an iconic song that has to be preserved. Beware of the remix it will damage your eardrums,” Mehra said.
Joshi, who currently heads the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), said he feels saddened because the track was the result of a lot of hard work.
In fact, ‘Masakali’ is a word that he created.
“Things created with heart and painstaking craft reach out and make a genuine difference. So when they are simply re-used with sole commercial purpose, it is indeed sad,” Joshi told PTI.
The lyricist said the remix has once again raised the question about “protecting the sanctity of original music and poetry” and the responsibility towards “music lovers”.
“There is a larger point here and that is ‘who will protect the sanctity of original music and poetry? Is there any accountability to the music lovers here or whoever feels like can temper with the soul? A song or poem has a unique narrative and we need to protect the minutes threads of this intricate fabric,” Joshi added.
Though Kapoor and Chauhan are yet to break their silence on the recreated song, the actor and the singer shared Rahman’s tweet on their respective Twitter handles.
Besides the team of the original, many from film fraternity have also criticised the new “Masakali” track.
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta termed the remixed version of “Masakali” as “awful and ear shattering” and wondered how it has amassed over 14 million views on Youtube.
“Yes. I am reacting to the awful, ear shattering #Masakali version. But check its YouTube views in 48 hrs. Then see how DJs blast it at events. And how people groove to the godawful version. S**t sells. While we cringe, somebody is laughing his way to the bank,” Mehta wrote in twitter.
Actor Nakuul Mehta tweeted, “This quarantine feels better than ‘Masakali 2.0’.”
However, screenwriter Apurva Asrani defended the song, saying that those who don’t like the new version, should simply not listen to it.
“Don’t like a remix, don’t listen. Love the original, share it. If there is no copyright infringement, then why diss the producers & urge people to ban/unfollow them? It is arrogance to deny new listeners a re-imagining that doesn’t meet your ‘oh so refined’ standards. #Masakali2” he tweeted.
The recreated song has also been overwhelmingly slammed by the public with many singling out Bagchi for ruining the original track.
“Don’t know about coronavirus, but can somebody please stop Tanishk Bagchi and T-series? The next victim is Masakali. How many more before there emerges an uprising?” a Twitter user posted.
Another user said, “I will always think of the ‘Masakali’ and Sonam dancing on the Chandni Chowk kothi terrace every time I see a white pigeon. That’s how meaningful originals are, which the remake culture would never achieve. bye. #Masakali”
“It is clearly visible that when art goes in the hands of people who only mean business and instant success, then art will not resonate as it should. How disappointing it is to see #Masakali being remade this way.
Meanwhile, someone edited Bagchi’s Wikipedia page, inserting the lines that the composer is best known for “ruining” Bollywood classics.
“Tanishk Bagchi is a self proclaimed Indian music producer, composer and in reality a copycat. His work is to surf through old Bollywood music and ruin every possible song that he comes across, ‘Masakali 2.0’ being the latest one,” his profile currently reads on Wikipedia.
T-Series and Bagchi are yet to respond to the controversy.
This is not the first time that Rahman’s songs have been recreated. Earlier this year, Varun Dhawan-starrer “Street Dancer 3D” had featured a remixed version of Rahman’s cult classic track “Muqabla”.
The trend of remixing old songs peaked last year when almost every Bollywood movie featured a recreated song.
Bagchi has previously recreated popular songs like “Humma Humma”, “Ole Ole”, “Ankhiyon Se Goli Mare”, “O Saki Saki” and “Tamma Tamma” among others.