The makers of period war drama Pippa have issued an apology following massive outrage against Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman’s version of ‘Karar Oi Louho Kopat’. The ‘rebel’ song, originally composed by late Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, holds a significant place in people’s hearts.
A section of the audience expressed anger over the altered track in Pippa as they felt the new version lacked the essence of the original.
In the apology released on Monday, the makers of Pippa, said they have deep respect for the original composition but clarified that the new rendition is a “sincere artistic interpretation”, that was taken up only after securing the necessary rights from the Nazrul Islam’s family.
“This album was created as a tribute to the men and women who dedicated their lives to the liberation of Bangladesh and keeping in mind the sentiments of their struggle for freedom, peace and justice,” the statement added.
“We approached the making of this song by faithfully following both the letter and the spirit of the license agreement for the lyrics, as duly signed with the Late Mrs. Kalyani Kazi and witnessed by Mr. Anirban Kazi,” they further said.
Who was Nazrul Islam?
Born in 1899, in present-day West Bengal’s Paschim Bardhaman district, Nazrul Islam was popularly known as the ‘rebel’ poet. His ‘rebel songs’ have inspired many in their struggle to liberate India from the British rule. The poet wrote songs in other genres, too, and his works are collectively known as ‘Nazrul Geethi’. Named Bangladesh’s national poet, Nazrul Islam’s compositions are held in high regard in Bengal, closely behind those by Rabindranath Tagore.
He was arrested in 1923 as a magazine he founded and edited was critical of the British Raj. Later, after the creation of Bangladesh, he was brought to Dhaka in 1972 after the new government sought permission from India. He passed away in 1976 after battling a neurological disease.
The now-controversial ‘Karar Oi Louho Kopat’ is a patriotic song that calls on people to break down the powerful walls of prison and fight for freedom. The lyrics of the song was first published in Banglar Katha magazine in 1922, and was first recorded in 1949.
Poet’s family reacts
Speaking to PTI earlier this week, Nazrul Islam’s grandson and painter Kazi Anirban said, “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’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.
Bangladeshi singer Khilkhil Kazi, another granddaughter of the poet who is living in Bangladesh, told local media in a video message that any tinkering of the tune of such a cult song is just not done.
According to a report by Times of India, the poet’s family has still refused to accept the apology from the makers of Pippa. “An apology post on X is not enough for such disrespect. The least they can do is remove the song from the film, along with my mother’s and my name from the credit,” Anirban told TOI.
Pippa, starring Ishaan Khatter in the lead, is based on the true story of Captain Balram Mehta of India’ 45 Cavalry Regiment and the 1971 Battle of Garibpur.
-with PTI inputs