Indian ‘Beyonce’ item song forced to change lyrics for the second time due to racist, colorist lines

Public outrage has caused filmmakers to listen, be mindful, and change many song lyrics and movie dialogues so as not to cause offense. 

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“Khaali Peeli”, an upcoming Bollywood film, released a song with controversial lyrics:

When you dance, watching you, oh fair-skinned girl, Beyoncé will be ashamed.

The discriminating lyrics sparked outrage over social media. Many users criticized the filmmakers for approving verses that highlighted discrimination based on someone’s skin color.

The uproar forced the filmmakers to change the lyrics of the song for the second time.

Firstly, they changed the spelling of “Beyoncé” to “Beyonse” because they hadn’t sought permission from the American singer to use her trademarked name.

Secondly, the filmmakers changed the lyrics from “Beyonce” to “Duniya” to remove the element of racism:

Watching you, oh fair-skinned girl, the world will be ashamed.

On Monday, the film’s director, Maqbool Khan, commented on the matter and said:

(The) lyric in question was never intended racially. We are huge fans of Beyoncé and did not mean any disrespect.

In his apology, Khan explained:

The term ‘goriya’ (fair woman in Hindi) 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 literally.

Bollywood’s Racist Film History

The Hindi film industry’s obsession with light skin has been long-standing. India’s ancient preference for fairness has promoted color prejudice. Over the decades, many songwriters and lyricists have written songs that glorify light skin:

In the soundtrack “Chittiyan Kalaiyaan,” or “Light-Skinned Wrists,” a woman asks the man to take her for shopping and movies because she’s light-skinned.

Another song called “Dil Dance Maare Re” blatantly starts with, “Seeing a white face, my heart beats faster.”

The hit remake “Kala Chashma” or “Black Shades” talks about how the singer admires a fair-skinned woman, who looks great wearing black shades.

Raising Outrage Against Racism

Clear tones of colorism are deeply entrenched in Bollywood’s film industry; however, no one has ever raised eyebrows until recently. Over the past few years, many religious groups and caste communities have started to criticize the Indian song lyrics. The recent Black Lives Matter movement has also made a global impact.

All in all, public outrage has caused filmmakers to listen, be mindful, and change many song lyrics and movie dialogues so as not to cause offense.

What are your thoughts on this? Please share with us in the comment section below.


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