Odia folk song Rangabati controversy: District magistrate ends song and dance | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Odia folk song Rangabati controversy: District magistrate ends song and dance

Mahadevan is supposed to sing the song during next month’s inaugural ceremony of the Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2017 19:34 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Rangabati is an all-time hit and enjoys cult status in Odisha.
Rangabati is an all-time hit and enjoys cult status in Odisha. (File Photo)

It finally took a district magistrate to intervene and end the song and dance about Odisha’s favourite folk song.

Jitendriya Haripal, the original singer of the 1979-hit Rangabati song, and its music composer Mitrabhanu Gountia dropped their objections to a proposed rendition of the song by popular Bollywood singer Shankar Mahadevan after a meeting chaired by Sambalpur district magistrate Samarth Verma on Wednesday.

Mahadevan is supposed to sing the song during next month’s inaugural ceremony of the Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar.

"They (Haripal and Gountia) insisted that the spirit of the song should not be tampered by Mahadevan and others on the show. They were in fact proud that Rangabati was getting a bigger audience. We have made arrangements for taking all of them to Bhubaneswar for the inaugural show," said a relieved Verma after the meeting.

Rangabati is an all-time hit and enjoys cult status in Odisha. No marriage procession in the state is complete without the song playing out on loudspeakers. It has also been played in between international cricket matches staged in Cuttack.

Two years ago, a remix version of the song by Odisha-born singer Sona Mohapatra triggered a huge controversy. Though it was viewed more than 18 million times on YouTube, the remix raised the hackles of Haripal and others. The Sambalpur unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party also lodged a complaint with the police against Mohapatra and her composer husband.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, Rangabati’s composer Gountia said he was relieved. “The district collecter assured that there would be no remix version of the song on the show. The performers also would not put anything of their own that would distort the tune," he said.

Despite topping the charts over decades, Haripal, a Dalit, had to work as a labourer in construction sites for a living. He won recognition only in 2001 when a journalist profiled him in a newspaper.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik felicitated him a few years later and sanctioned a monthly pension for him. He was conferred the Padma Shri this year.