Coke Studio producer Zulfiqar J Khan, popularly known as Xulfi, has denied claims made by Nirmala Maghani — an up and coming singer from Umerkot — of lifting the melody for Coke Studio season 14’s hit 'Tu Jhoom' from a vocal sample she sent to him. While many say Manghani's sample and the actual song do sound similar, Xulfi says his work "is not borrowed or without credit".
Coke Studio released the first song from season 14 on January 14. The track, 'Tu Jhoom', has been sung by Abida Parveen and Naseebo Lal. According to the credits given in the description of the song on YouTube, the music was arranged and produced by Xulfi and Abdullah Siddiqui. Coke Studio's season 14 has been "curated and produced by" Xulfi as well.
According to an Express Tribune article published on January 18, Manghani said Xulfi had lifted the melody of the song from a sample she had sent him in June 2021, adding that she only wants recognition and due credit for her work.
Xulfi released a statement on January 19 to address the accusation, saying his work "is not borrowed or without credit, given that what I share with the world is work that relies on the very essence of partnership and collaboration".
"I produce and collaborate in the spirit of inclusivity and my work with Coke Studio holds the same philosophy," the statement read. "I hope this to be evident in my entire body of work produced in my career. When we set out to make this season, our goal was to make Pakistani music heard worldwide. Our aim was to present our music, our young talent and our icons in a way that shows the world what we are capable of. What we stand for as a nation. Our aim was to create a cultural moment of glory for Pakistan.
"Coke Studio is Pakistan’s biggest cultural export and connector of hearts and souls; it has consistently brought people together for art, progression and positivity. And that power is very dear to me and one that I’ve absorbed heavily this season. I don’t take the fabric of Coke Studio lightly but rather wear it as a cloak of responsibility and pride."
The Coke Studio team says that the demo version of the song was first shared in May, a month before Manghani claims to have sent her demo to Xulfi via WhatsApp. The team provided a screen-recording of a WhatsApp conversation between Siddiqui and Xulfi which featured a video of the demo sent on May 16 as evidence.
Images reached out to Manghani about Xulfi's statement, to which she responded that she sent her sample to the producer in June and when she heard 'Tu Jhoom' upon its release, she realised it had been copied from her sample and had contacted Xulfi about it.