Sunday March 29, 2020

Plucking the Genda Phool, twice!

Posted by Karthik

Back in 2009, A.R.Rahman had a song called ‘Genda Phool’ in his iconic soundtrack for Delhi 6. The song was credited as “Courtesy: Raghubir Yadav” even in Delhi 6’s CD. From what I gather, the original song that goes,
“Saas Gari Deve,
Nanad Muhaan Leve,
Devar Babu Mor…
…Karaar Genda Phool”
…was supposed to have been written by a Chhattisgarh poet named Gangaram Shivarey and the music composed by another Chhattisgarh composer named Bhulwaram Yadav. The song describes a bride’s perspective in her new home and the marigold flower becomes a motif to weave in her marriage and her two families. Bhulwaram Yadav had supposedly taught the song to the Joshi sisters (Rekha, Rama and Prabha) who sang it in public concerts, to a rousing welcome. HMV/Saregama released it commercially and it became a popular song on radio and at weddings.

There is no credit to any of the original artists in Delhi 6’s CD or the film.

(PS: The Delhi 6 CD is one of the best designed that I have ever owned! The entire CD design is a labor of love!)

T-series’ 2011 YouTube upload of Genda Phool:

T-series’ 2011 YouTube upload of Genda Phool (remix):

Cut to 2020!

On March 25, 2020, as if it had astronomical significance, T-series decided to re-upload Delhi 6’s Genda Phool again. Exactly on March 25, 2020.

Why March 25th?

Because Sony Music was slated to release a new song called Genda Phool, featuring Badshah and Payal Dev.

So it was obvious that T-series was up to its old tricks again. In the 90s, T-series was notorious for getting Anuradha Paudwal to re-sing (cover versions) famous songs from other music labels and release the duplicate versions through audio cassettes with dirt-cheap prices. This used a loophole in the copyright law in India at that time.

What T-series did on March 25, 2020 was a new-age version of that tactic. The timing was to use the search interest for the term ‘genda phool’. If you see the 2-digit million views for Badshah’s new song, you know what is at stake!

Now, incredibly ironically, Badshah’s song is based on a folk song too, and has been poorly credited, just like Rahman’s cover version.

The original of Badshah’s cover version is of Bangla origin.

The credit to the original was missing when the song was first released by Sony Music.

They eventually added a weak line to give credit to the original lyrics, but not the music, which is credited to Badshah alone.

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