Ishaan Khatter on Beyonce sharma jayegi backlash: It was never meant to be about the complexion, race

Updated: 18 September, 2020 10:02 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Ishaan Khatter has opened up about the Beyonce Sharma Jayegi song. The actor said that lot of people have formed opinions about the Khaali Peeli song controversy 'out of context.'

Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday in a still from the song. Image sourced from mid-day archives
Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday in a still from the song. Image sourced from mid-day archives

Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday launched the dance number Beyonce sharma jaayegi from their upcoming film Khaali Peeli last week, and netizens started trolling the song within minutes of its launch, over what they felt were racist lyrics. The song currently also has more dislikes than likes on its official YouTube link. The words in the song that social media finds objectionable go: "Bhadkeeli nakhreeli, Chamkeeli, lachkeeli, Tu jo kamar yeh hilayegi, Tujhe dekh ke goriya, Beyonce sharma jayegi".

Now, Ishaan has opened up about the song. The actor said that lot of people have formed opinions about the Khaali Peeli song controversy 'out of context'. Speaking to Film Companion, he said, "The word 'gori' has been taken out of context, as I understand it. I have asked a lot of questions to people from rural areas, who've clarified that 'gori' has been used in multiple songs, for ages, as just referencing a girl. Like you'd say 'launda' or 'chhora', you also say 'gori', and that is the context in which it was used."

He continued, "It was never meant to be about the complexion, let alone race. As for Beyonce, for this 'tapori' character, his biggest reference for somebody beautiful, and stylish and iconic is Beyonce. If anything, it's flattering. That's why he goes so far as even to compare this girl he's trying to woo to Beyonce, because he's trying to flatter her."

The word "goriya" refers to a fair woman. Pop superstar Beyonce, of African American origin, is dark-skinned. Beyonce's name trended on Twitter as many of her Indian fans claimed the line in the song is a racist dig at Beyonce. Recently, it came to light that the production house had not sought approval from Beyonce, who had trademarked her name over a decade ago, thus barring its usage for commercial purposes.

A source from the production house revealed to mid-day, "Beyoncé has not only trademarked her name, but also won a long legal battle to copyright daughter Blue Ivy's name. In a pre-emptive move, the makers are now planning to rewrite the song to avoid legal repercussions. With the dance number being called out for racism, it will be an unwise move to take on an international star like Beyoncé, especially at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has set the stage for equality."

Following the backlash, the makers removed her name from the song and replaced it with Duniya sharma jayegi. The makers initially toyed with the idea of changing the spelling of Beyonce to Beyonse, but finally settled for Duniya.

The track is rendered by Nakash Aziz and Neeti Mohan and composed by Vishal-Shekhar. Kumaar and Raj Shekhar are the lyricists.

Last week, Ananya and Ishaan wrapped up the shooting of Khaali Peeli. The edgy masala entertainer, directed by Maqbool Khan, brings Ishaan and Ananya together for the first time. Ishaan essays a Mumbai cab driver in the romantic action film, which is being billed as a roller coaster ride that kicks off when a boy meets a girl (Ananya) one night. This film will be Ishaan Khatter's second Bollywood film after Dhadak. He made his acting debut with Majid Majidi's Beyond the Clouds. As for Ananya, she made her Bollywood debut with Student Of The Year 2 and was then seen romancing Kartik Aaryan in Pati Patni Aur Woh.

Directed by Maqbool Khan, romantic action drama Khaali Peeli is slated for a digital release on October 2.

Also Read: Ishaan Khatter Shares Pics Of First Look Test For Khaali Peeli

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First Published: 18 September, 2020 07:45 IST

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