After massive backlash over AR Rahman's interpretation of Bangladesh's National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam's song "Karar Oi Louho Kopat" in the latest Bollywood war film "Pippa", the makers have issued an apology on 'X' (formerly Twitter).
The Raja Krishna Menon-directed film, starring Ishaan Khatter, Mrunal Thakur, Priyanshu Painyuli, Soni Razdan and others, was released on November 10 on Amazon Prime Video. The film features battle between India and Pakistan in then East Pakistan during the 1971 Liberation War.
Produced by RSVP Movies and Roy Kapur Films, the film features a remake of the Nazrul song "Karar Oi Louho Kopat". The remake version has been composed by Oscar winning-music composer AR Rahman and features Indian singers Rahul Dutta, Tirtha Bhattacharjee, Pijush Das, Shrayee Paul, Shalini Mukherjee and Dilasa Chowdhury.
After the release of the song, Nazrul exponents and admirers along with general audiences in both Bangladesh and India expressed massive dissatisfaction over the remake.
In response to that, the film's makers stated: "We understand the emotional attachment that audiences may have to the original composition, and while all art is inherently subjective, if our interpretation has hurt sentiments or caused unintended distress, we offer our sincere apologies."
The statement notes that the producers, director and music composer of the film "Pippa" wish to clarify that their rendition of the song is a sincere artistic interpretation, embarked upon only after securing the necessary adaptation rights from the estate of the Late Kazi Nazrul Islam.
According to the statement, they approached the making of this song by faithfully following both the letter and the spirit of the license agreement for the lyrics, as duly signed by the late Kalyani Kazi and witnessed by Anirban Kazi.
"Our intent was to pay homage to the cultural significance of the song while adhering to the terms set forth in our agreement, which permitted us to use the lyrics with a new composition," the statement claims.
Earlier on Saturday, several of the country's eminent Nazrul exponents shared their official statements against the "distortion" of the song at a press conference held at the Kabi Nazrul Institute in Dhaka's Dhanmondi.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Nazrul Sangeet Sangstha (BNSS) Khairul Anam Shakil, Kazi Nazrul Islam's granddaughter Mistee Kazi, Nazrul exponent Sadya Afreen Mallick, veteran Nazrul singer Shaheen Samad, singer Bulbul Islam and others were present at the press conference.
According to the prominent Indian newspaper The Times of India, Kalyani Kazi's agreement to the makers mentioned that she was "represented" to the production house as the "sole surviving legal heir" and "all rights, title and interest in the literary work are owned and vests" on her. It also stated that she was "authorized to grant the licence".
"We came to know about the agreement through the media. Legally, I am not sure if Kalyani Kazi could ignore all of us and enter into an agreement saying she is the only heir," Mistee Kazi told The Times of India.
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