Bollywood music director Ram Sampath and singer Sona Mohapatra were threatened with a Rs 1 crore copyright violation suit on Sunday after they aired a remixed version of cult Odia folk song 'Rangabati'.
The original composer and lyricist of the song, Prabhudatta Pradhan and Mitrabhanu Gauntia, threatened to take them to court after the remixed version was aired on MTV Channel’s Coke Studio Channel 4.
Pradhan and Gauntia have sent legal notices to Sampath, Mohapatra, and co-singer Rituraj Mohanty and also to sponsors Hindustan Coca Cola Beverage Limited, Hindustan Coca Cola Holdings Private Limited and Viacom Media Private Limited which owns MTV.
“Mohapatra, Sampath and Mohanty did not even take our permission before using our song in their fusion. We have asked them to respond to us in 15 days. Further steps will be taken accordingly,” Pradhan told HT.
Pradhan and Gauntia, who are now in their mid-seventies, said the new version was an "assault on the ears".
“They have failed to understand the nuances of the words and completely destroyed the flavour, simplicity, sweetness and earthiness of the folk song,” Gauntia said.
Jitendriya Haripal, who lent his voice to the original song was also unhappy with the fusion version. “No one has the right to mess up with folk music. They have killed the soul of the song,” he said.
Ram Sampath has composed music for several Bollywood films, while Mohapatra has lent her voice to several of his compositions. Mohanty was the winner of Star TV India’s Raw Star contest in 2014.
The fusion – which is interspersed with funky English-Tamil rap and Odisha’s anthem Bande Utkala Janai – also drew flak on social media networking sites.
“There is no harm in fusing an old song. But the problem with Mohapatra and Rituraj is that they did not try to understand the lyrics and the results have been disastrous,” said music critic Kedar Mishra.
The original “Rangabati’ was first aired by All India Radio studio in Sambalpur in mid-seventies. After it became hugely popular, a music company, Indreco, bought the rights and released it around 1978.
The song then reached cult status with lakhs of records sold and singers Haripal and Patel awarded honourary doctorates by a university.