Ali Abbas Zafar on changing the lyrics of Beyonce Sharma Jayegi: Our film is all about entertainment, it’s not about controversy

The song Beyonce Sharma Jayega from Khaali Peeli was released a few days ago. It faced a lot of backlash on social media because of its hook phrase, ‘Tujhe dekhke goriyan, Beyonce Sharma Jayegi’.

People on social media felt that the song was racist. Due to the severe backlash, the makers decided to change the hook phrase to, ‘Tera dekhke nakhra, yeh Duniya Sharma Jayegi’.

We recently interacted with the producer of the movie Ali Abbas Zafar and spoke to him about the backlash that the song has received on social media. To which the filmmaker said, “I personally think that the whole thing started out of the context. I think it was picked out of the context. But then I also felt that with the current situation everyone is very sensitive regarding a lot of issues. So, I looked at the song from the point of view of the people who were criticising it. We thought that they were valid in their own way and that is why we took the decision (of changing the lyrics). We took the time to understand that if there’s a certain section of the audience which are feeling offended and they have a valid reason about it, we can’t just not pay attention to it and put a blind eye to it. I think before storytellers and filmmakers, we first need to be responsible citizens of the society. I along with Himanshu (Mehra), Maqbool (Khan), our music directors (Vishal & Shekhar), and lyrics writers (Kumaar & Raj Shekhar) thought if we can be supportive enough and change it, so we don’t come out as arrogant and people who don’t care about what is happening around us.”

“We took a very conscious decision. We put our apology in front that if we have offended anyone we are sorry about it, that was not the intention. The word ‘goriyan’ has been used over generations in the Indian film industry to represent a girl, it was nothing to do with the colour that she has. But if we have been misread, we are sorry about it and we changed it because our film is all about entertainment, it’s not about controversy, it’s not about offending a section of people and this is why we took the decision of changing the lyrics. It is a quintessential Hindi film which is out there for entertainment and in this time when everyone is super stressed about what is happening around us, so this film will bring a smile to your face,” he added.

Starring Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday in the lead roles, Khaali Peeli is slated to release on Zee Plex on 2nd October 2020. The movie will be available for the audiences on a pay-per-view basis.