Beyonce Knowles’s video for her new single, Run The World (Girls), has left a question mark on the international pop singer’s originality. The American pop star’s song shows her taming two drooling hyenas in reins, dominatrix style, just the way actor Rajinikanth walks with robotic lions on a leash in the song Arima Arima from Robot. The makers of the 2010 superhero spectacle are thrilled.
“We should feel proud that we are rocking, and that internationally, it (the scene) has been stolen,” says Hansraj Saxena of Sun Pictures, which produced Robot. He adds, “The scene was (director) Shankar’s idea. The lions were created by art director Sabu Cyril; he even got a National Award for the film.”Beyonce agrees that her song is futuristic, just as we know Robot was, but her song’s producers deny any desi connection. Sony Music, the label that has produced the album, call the allegations incorrect.
This is not the first time Beyonce has run into ‘copycat’ trouble. Last month, there was speculation that the artist lifted her performance at the Billboard Awards in Las Vegas from singer Lorella Cuccarini’s in 2010.
Beyonce slammed for abuse
Digital imagery has been used in both videos, but animal welfare group PETA is upset with Knowles’ ‘real’ depiction of the beasts. Last month, the organisation wrote a letter to the makers, saying, “We understand that you were likely not aware of these hidden abuses. Now that you are, we hope you will choose to leave wild animals out of your work.”
Is this what started it?
Some reports suggest that South African photographer Pieter Hugo’s ‘The Hyena & Other Men’ series (see pic below) may be the original inspiration behind both the sequences. It shows Nigerian circus entertainers who perform with hyenas in chains.