Khaali Peeli makers change song name Beyoncé Sharma Jayegi after accusations of racism
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Khaali Peeli makers change song name Beyoncé Sharma Jayegi after accusations of racism

The song refers to Beyoncé’s skin colour in a racist way

The makers of Khaali Peeli have come under fire after complaints were made about their song ‘Beyoncé Sharma Jayegi’ and its racial undertones. The song’s title translates to ‘Beyoncé Will Feel Shy’ and features a lyric in the song which goes, “Ho tujhe dekh ke goriya, Beyoncé sharma jaayegi”, which translates to: Seeing you, O fair woman, even Beyoncé would feel embarrassed.

The song was heavily criticised on social media for its racial undertones and themes of colourism. It seems the makers were unaware of the song’s tone deaf references to colourism.

The makers first changed the Vishal-Shekhar composed track by changing the spelling of Beyonce, replacing ‘c’ with a ‘s’ and have now completely changed the line to “Tera Dekh Ke Nakhra Duniya Sharma Jayegi.” The line now means, "after seeing your flirtatiousness, even the world will feel shy."

In response to the backlash, the director Maqbool Khan said, “First, without any hesitation or excuses we want to apologise to anyone offended. We assure you that the lyric in question was never intended racially. In fact, the term ‘goriya’ has been so often and traditionally used in Indian songs to address a girl, that it didn’t occur to any of us to interpret it in the literal manner. Also the comparison with Beyonce is simply meant to be a street-smart guy flattering a girl who is trying to impress that her dancing/performance is worth comparing to even Beyonce who we all see as the final word, the epitome of talent, beauty, performance, style and attitude. We are all huge fans, and there was never any question of disrespect.”.

He then went on to explain the name change by saying, "Since our lyrical arrangement did not go well with few people, we thought why not keeping (sic) the essence same while changing the song a little bit".

Whilst Khan’s tone deaf song and name change don’t alter the racism in the song, if aaything it has further opened up the conversation about colourism in Bollywood.

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