Even as the controversy over Bollywood singer Sona Mohapatra and her husband Ram Sampath's remixed version of the cult Sambalpuri song Rangabati refuses to die down, acclaimed Odia filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda has said that he has used the classic song in his next Hindi film Kaun Kitney Paani Mein, but with due permission from all concerned.
"I hail from the same region (western part of Odisha) where the song originated from and I wanted to use it as a tribute to my land. I am very proud to incorporate the scent of my soil to Hindi cinema through Rangabati, keeping its basic rhythm and essence intact," said Panda.Panda, who debuted as a director in 2011 with critically acclaimed Hindi film I Am Kalam, said he got all the requisite permission for using Rangabati in his film from the original song's lyricist Mitrabhanu Gauntia and music director Prabhudatta Pradhan.
Watch the making of Sambalpuri song Rangabati in its Hindi avatar from Nila Madhav Panda's new film Kaun Kitney Paani Mein
Kaun Kitne Paani Mein starring Kunal Kapoor, Radhika Apte, Gulshan Grover and Saurav Shukla will be released across India on August 28. The film, produced by Canada based One Drop Foundation, received standing ovation at Jagran Film Festival, India's largest travelling film festival, on July 5.
The Hindi version of the song has been picturised on Kunal Kapoor and Radhika Apte along with trained Odissi dancers Saswat Joshi and Pratik Mishra. Kaun Kitne Pani Mein is a satire with water crisis in rural India as its backdrop.
Sambalpuri language is spoken by people in western parts, which are almost a half of Odisha. The original version, sung by popular Dalit singer Jitendria Haripal along with Krishna Patel, 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 transcended the language and geographical boundaries and reached cult status with lakhs of records sold.
Foreign broadcasters like BBC and Voice of America took note of the song while Haripal and Patel were invited to foreign shores to perform live. They were also awarded honourary doctorates by a university in Odisha.
Mohapatra and Sampath triggered a controversy after they remixed Rangabati recently. Their fusion version aired on MTV Coke Studio on July 5 received over a million hits on YouTube, but was criticized for using the song without permission from Gauntia and Pradhan and "completely distorting" it.
Gauntia and Pradhan have sent legal notice to Mohapatra, Sampath, sponsors Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages, Coca Cola Holdings and Viacom Media that owns MTV, threatening them with a Rs 1 crore copyright suit. The police in Sambalpur have lodged an FIR against Mohapatra on the basis of a complaint by local BJP's youth wing.