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Controversial Song ‘Beyoncé Sharma Jayegi’ Has Been Rechristened ‘Duniya Sharma Jayegi’

Despite over one million downvotes on YouTube and an apology from the director, the new song off Bollywood movie ‘Khaali Peeli’ still stands vilified

Rolling Stone India Sep 16, 2020

Stills from 'Khaali Peeli' and global pop star Beyonce. Photo: Mason Poole (Beyonce)

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It’s probably been a tumultuous week over at the camp that created the song “Beyoncé Sharma Jayegi,” for upcoming Bollywood movie Khaali Peeli starring Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday.

The Vishal-Shekhar composed self-proclaimed “item song” is sung by Nakash Aziz and Neeti Mohan, featuring lyrics by Kumaar and Raj Shekhar and released on September 7th with a promotional video on YouTube. Soon enough, it had amassed over a million downvotes on the video platform, plus widespread criticism about racist undertones and also dragging in singer-actor Beyoncé’s name.

By September 13th, in a bid to avoid more backlash and perhaps prevent the ire of the global pop star herself, the song title was amended to “Beyonse Sharma Jayegi.” The main hook in the song was changed from “tujhe dekh ke goriya, Beyoncé sharma jayegi” to “tera dekh ke nakhra, yeh duniya sharma jayegi.” As of earlier today, the song’s title has been changed and the video re-uploaded under the title “Duniya Sharma Jayegi.”

Khaali Peeli director Maqbool and lyricist Kumaar were fending off claims around the song’s derogatory nature. In an interview with Hindustan Times, Maqbool said, “First, without any hesitation or excuses we want to apologise to anyone offended. We assure you that the lyric in question was never intended racially. In fact, 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 the literal manner.”

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For his part, Kumaar reiterated that ‘goriya’ as a term has been used often in Hindi songs and was employed in “Duniya Sharma Jayegi” as a synonym for “girl.” He told Hindustan Times, “There is no derogation intended – we revere beauty of global celebrity Beyoncé and don’t mean to hurt any of her fans.” Requests for comment from several Bollywood music lyricists, singers and composers we reached out to went unanswered.

Backtracking aside, the song may show up with a new title but the essential proof of their folly — the lyrics — are still up on all major lyric websites as well as in the metadata on streaming platforms at the time of publishing. In the new music video, shots of Khatter and Panday lip syncing the original offending lyrics have been swapped out for brief filters and transitions. With over 246,000 views at time of publishing, there are currently 26,000 dislikes.

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