‘Genda Phool’ is a folk song, guys!
By Bryan Durham - March 31, 2020
Quite simply put, there have been several versions since the 1970s (since the time Boroloker Biti Lo got popular) and each credits it as a folk/traditional song
Genda Phool, the latest video of Badshah — who happens to be one of India’s biggest rappers — released on March 26 and has managed to garner 60 million views since that time.
Post its release, though, it has been called out for not attributing Ratan Kahar as the original artist behind the Bengali “folk song” Boroloker Biti Lo, by people who are now offended at the omission. This is what one Twitter user had to say…
Here’s the thing: everybody who claims that, is talking about Ratan Kahar only after Genda Phool’s release. Where were these people when — as early as 1976 — singer Swapna Chakraborty recorded the song?
Or when — as late as 2018 — the makers of Raja Rani Raji appropriated the song for the Bonny Sengupta-Rittika Sen starrer?
All this wokeness has stemmed in the last few days, since Badshah’s song grew in virality. But before we go in rewind mode, let’s get one thing straight first: the authorship of Genda Phool/Boroloker Beti Lo cannot be credited to Ratan Kahar because it cannot be proved on paper.
The first known recording of the song is in the voice of singer Swapna Chakraborty. That’s a fact. But even that song has the singer’s credit only (no composer, no lyricist), with an add-on (you guessed it!) “Bengali folk song”.
SVF’s Raja Rani Raji released in 2018 and features music by Dev Sen and lyrics by Prasen and is sung by Satrujit Dasgupta and Dev Sen, but attributes the original lyrics and composition as a “traditional Bengali folk” song.
That same year, at around the same time, the verified YouTube channel Folk Studio Bangla puts out one featuring Nirjhar Chakrabarty’s voice, credits Sunil Mahato as the lyricist and Abhijit Basu for the “tune” and calls it a Jhumur song.
The singer Titas Mallick released Folk-E-Aana, an album featuring Indian folk songs in October 2019 and features Baroloker Betilo, but credits Swapan Chakraborty for the lyrics and calls the music “traditional”.
Righteous indignation aside (on the face of it) — there’s no real way of proving that Genda Phool is Ratan Kahar’s song, except for his say-so. Sentiment is one thing, but you can’t go around asking people to “sue Badshah, who claims that the lyrics/music is by him”. Which, by the way, he DID NOT.
Spread the truth. Not half-truths. #justsaying>