Unhappy with the recreation of his song Masakali, A R Rahman has asked fans to listen to the original track, saying his team put in a lot of hard work and sleepless nights in composing it.
The track, penned by Prasoon Joshi and sung by Mohit Chauhan, featured in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 2009 film Delhi 6, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor.
Bhushan Kumar's T-series recently launched the remixed version of the song with composer Tanishq Bagchi and singers Tulsi Kumar and Sachet Tandon.
The track's music video features Sidharth Malhotra and Tara Sutaria.
Rahman posted a brief statement on Twitter, saying he never took 'short cuts' in his career and urged other musicians to do the same.
'No short cuts, properly commissioned, sleepless nights, writes and re-writes. Over 200 musicians, 365 days of creative brainstorming with the aim to produce music that can last generations. A team of a director, a composer and a lyricist supported by actors, dance directors and a relentless film crew,' the maestro wrote.
Rahman also posted a link to the original song in the tweet, reading, '#Masakali Enjoy the original'.
Mehra was more direct in his criticism, saying that the recreated Masakali track will 'damage' the 'eardrums' of listeners.
'#Masakali #Delhi6 created with love and passion an iconic song that has to be preserved. Beware of the remix it will damage your eardrums,' Mehra said.
Joshi, who currently heads the Central Board of Film Certification, said he was saddened to see exploitation of the original track.
'All songs written for #Delhi6 including #Masakali close to heart, sad to see when original creation of @arrahman @prasoonjoshi_ &singer @_MohitChauhan insensitively utilised. Up to the conscience of @Tseries. Hopefully the fans will stand for originality,' Joshi tweeted.
A beloved piece of music has high emotional stakes and reusing it for 'sole commercial purpose' is sad, Prasoon Joshi told PTI's Komal Panchamatia on Thursday.
Joshi, who coined the word Masakali, said the row should raise questions about the need to protect original music and poetry from such attempts.
"Things created with heart and painstaking craft reach out and make a genuine difference. So when they are simply reused with sole commercial purpose, it is indeed sad," Joshi said.
Music companies have been remixing original songs for a while now, but many celebrities, including the original team, have reacted sharply to the recreation of Masakali.
Asked about the reactions, Joshi said, "I guess everything has a tipping point. When a song or a piece of work gets the share of heart and music lovers co-own it, the emotional stakes are high."
This is why, the lyricist said, there should be some accountability towards music lovers and one should not be allowed to tamper with the "soul" of the song.
"There is a larger point here and that is 'who will protect the sanctity of original music and poetry?' Is there any accountability to the music lovers here or whoever feels like can tamper with the soul? A song or poem has a unique narrative and we need to protect the minute threads of this intricate fabric," Joshi added.
Recalling how he came to coin the word Masakali, Joshi said Delhi 6 will always have a special place in his heart with its "iconic" album.
"Masakali has no meaning and it's not part of any language. I tried to intricately infuse meaning in it through imagery which painstakingly and masterfully A R Rahman composed and singer Mohit Chauhan added many more dimensions to it," Joshi said.
"Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, cinematographer Binod Pradhan and, of course, Sonam, who made it visually come to life," he said.
Joshi remembered getting a call from a young girl when the song came out. "She was fighting a life-threatening illness and in her journey of recovery, the song and especially the words 'Udiyo na dariyo (fly, don't fear)', gave her constant strength."
Though Sonam Kapoor and Mohit Chauhan are yet to their break silence on the recreated song, the actor and the singer shared Rahman's tweet on their respective Twitter handles.
The team of the original also found support from film-maker Hansal Mehta, who termed the remixed version of Masakali as 'awful and ear shattering'.
'Yes. I am reacting to the awful, ear shattering #Masakali version. But check its YouTube views in 48 hrs. Then see how DJs blast it at events. And how people groove to the godawful version. S**t sells. While we cringe, somebody is laughing his way to the bank,' Mehta tweeted.
T-Series and Bagchi are yet to respond to the controversy.
This is not the first time that Rahman's songs have been recreated.
Earlier this year, the Varun Dhawan-starrer Street Dancer 3D featured a remixed version of Rahman's cult classic track Muqabla.