Outrage over AR Rahman’s rendition of Bengali poet Nazrul Islam’s freedom struggle song
Kolkata: A controversy has erupted over AR Rahman’s rendition of a popular song of legendary Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam in a new Bollywood film, with the litterateur’s family and common people expressing outrage over the “distortion” in rhythm and tunes.
The rendition of ‘Karar oi louho kopat’ (Iron bars of a jail) was released in war movie ‘Pippa’, starring Ishaan Khatter and Mrunal Thakur in lead roles.
Nazrul’s grandson and painter Kazi Anirban told PTI on Saturday, “My mother had given her consent for using the song for the movie but not for changing the tunes. The way the song has been dished out with the change in rhythm and tunes is shocking.”
Nazrul Islam, popularly known as the ‘rebel poet’, is the national poet of Bangladesh and is a revered and much-loved figure in India’s West Bengal.
Nazrul’s granddaughter Anindita Kazi said in a voice message from the United States: “As members of his family and lovers of his creations, we cannot accept this distortion. We want it to be immediately omitted from the film and removed from the public domain.”
Popular Bengali singer Haimanti Shukla said sentiments have been hurt by the “act of sacrilege”.
“I wonder how a composer like AR Rahman could make this happen… No such tinkering with songs of Kazi Nazrul Islam can be allowed. It is shameful for the Bengali singers who were part of the rendition. I am deeply outraged,” she said.
The lyrics of the song was first published in ‘Banglar Katha’ magazine in 1922 and was included in Nazrul’s book of poems ‘Bhangar Gaan’. It was first recorded in 1949 by a famous label and then in 1952 by another record label.
The rendition also created a social media outrage, with netizens wondering whether Rahman did research before dishing out the song.
Historian-researcher Chinmoy Guha, however, criticised the outrage, claiming that Bengalis are expressing ire despite seldom caring to read or listen to Nazrul’s works.
Rahman, however, could not be contacted for remarks on the controversy.