Doing justice to international pop-star Beyonce Knowles in their own heads, the makers of Khaali Peeli changed the spelling of the icon’s name in their song ‘Beyonce Sharma Jayegi‘ that recently faced a backlash for being racist. The makers of the Ananya Panday and the Ishaan Khatter starrer replaced the ‘c’ in Beyonce with an ‘s’, to avoid the copyright battle with Queen B who has trademarked her name. Also Read - Racism Plus Copyright Issues With Beyonce Sharma Jayegi: Khaali Peeli Makers to Face Legal Trouble From Beyonce Knowles For Using Her Name?
The song shows Ananya and Ishaan throwing some random moves on the lyrics that have been deemed ‘tone-deaf’ by many. One of the lines in the song that irked many sounds: ‘Tujhe Dekh Ke Goriya, Beyonce Sharma Jayegi’ which loosely translates to ‘Seeing you oh fair woman, even Beyonce would feel embarrassed). Watch the new version of the song here: Also Read - Beyonce Sharma Jayegi: Ananya Panday Wears a Shiny Golden Outfit With Fringe And Mirror Work - Yay or Nay?
Now, while ‘goriya‘ is a regular colloquial term that’s used in Hindi songs, it is usually used as a synonym for a girl who’s beautiful and attractive. The word’s literal translation is indeed ‘a woman with a fair skin’. So, when you are using the same term to compare a woman to a black female icon in pop culture – Beyonce Knowles, the song does seem to have racist undertones and that’s problematic.
Nevertheless, no one associated with the film accepted that the lyrics were racist or problematic in any sense. The director of the film though said that he apologises if the song has hurt anyone including Queen B. He went on to defend the decision saying “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.”
Since when did the lyricists stop paying attention to the ‘literal meaning’ of the word they are using in a song? Too much to ask?
Lyricist Kumaar said, “Goriya as a word has been used in many Hindi songs earlier. Our idea was to simply use a synonym to ‘girl’. There is no derogation intended – we revere the beauty of global celebrity Beyoncé and don’t mean to hurt any of her fans.”
The film, a remake of Telugu film Taxiwala, is the debut production for director Ali Abbas Zafar. It’s set for release on pay per view platform Zee Plex on October 2. Your thoughts on the entire issue?