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Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: Imagine a publisher rewriting a classic only because he has rights


Such is the love for the Delhi 6 song that a decade since its release, fans vividly remember Sonam K Ahuja dancing to Masakali with a pigeon on her head. It's hardly surprising then that the reprised version, Masakali 2.0 — featuring Sidharth Malhotra and Tara Sutaria, and recreated by Tanishk Bagchi — has drawn criticism from all quarters. AR Rahman, usually a man of few words, too indicated his displeasure as he urged music lovers to listen to the original gem.

mid-day reached out to Delhi 6 director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who revealed that coincidentally, he was writing about Masakali in his biography when word of the remix reached him. "I have dedicated half a page in the chapter to Masakali," he says.

Sidharth Malhotra and Tara Sutaria in the Masakali remix

The filmmaker asserts it is disrespectful to revisit a song without seeking the permission of the creators. "When I meet Bhushan [Kumar, chairman, T-Series], I will tell him that they need to consult the creators. Otherwise, people will keep destroying our original work. Rahman, Prasoon [Joshi, lyricist] and I have spent days creating the song. It is [the equivalent of] a publisher rewriting a classic, [adding] gibberish to it, only because he has the rights to the book." Lyricist Prasoon Joshi, who coined the term 'Masakali', laments, "The word is not part of any language. I tried to infuse meaning in it through imagery. These things are created with heart, so when they are re-used for commercial purposes, it is sad."

Sonam K Ahuja in Masakali song

Meanwhile, Adil Sheikh, who directed the latest number, says, "The intention was not to hurt anyone. The song was made only to refresh the listeners' memories."

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