The makers also offered an apology after the song came in for sharp criticism on social media for its allegedly racist lyrics.
Faced with popular backlash, possible lawsuit, makers replace ‘Beyonce’ with ‘Yeh Duniya’ in Khaali Peeli song
Mumbai - 14 Sep 2020 12:56 IST
The makers of Maqbool Khan’s Khaali Peeli dropped the dance number ‘Beyonce Sharma Jayegi’ on YouTube last week. While the song featuring Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday faced its share of criticism for not being up-to-the-mark, it also drew far more serious flak for the racism inherent in the lyrics.
The original lyrics went: ‘O tujhe dekh ke goriya, Beyonce sharma jaayegi’, which translates loosely as 'Looking at you fair lady, even Beyonce will feel inadequate'. This obviously did not go down well with a large chunk of listeners who slammed the makers for the racist lyrics by Kumaar and Raj Shekhar.
The makers also discovered belatedly that Beyonce has trademarked her name, which meant they could be faced with a lawsuit for using it for commercial purposes without permission. So they quickly replaced ‘Beyonce’ in the song with ‘Beyonse’ everywhere on YouTube and director Khan clarified their stand and apologized for the lyrics.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times newspaper, he said, “First, without any hesitation or excuses we want to apologize to anyone offended. We assure you that the lyric in question was never intended racially. The term ‘goriya’ has been so often and traditionally used in Indian songs to address a girl that it didn’t occur to any of us to interpret it in a literal manner. There is no derogation intended. We revere the beauty of global celebrity Beyonce and don’t mean to hurt any of her fans.”
He continued, “The comparison with Beyonce was simply meant to be a street-smart guy flattering a girl whom he is trying to impress by saying her dance performance is worth comparing with Beyonce, whom all see as the epitome of talent, beauty, performance, style and attitude. There was never any question of disrespect.”
However, after making this statement, the makers went and changed the song once again and have now released a version where all mention of Beyonce, with or without a spelling change, has been excised. The word has been replaced with 'yeh duniya', meaning the world. Perhaps the producers' legal advisers cautioned them that changing 'c' to 's' may not be enough to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. Click here for the latest audio of the song.