Folk singer Nirmala Maghani's legal counsel has served Coke Studio producer Zulfiqar J Khan — popularly known as Xulfi — a legal notice over the music composition of Coke Studio season 14’s hit 'Tu Jhoom'. Maghani claims the Coke Studio producer lifted the melody for the song from a vocal sample she sent to him before the song's release. Xulfi has denied this claim.
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. In an Express Tribune article published on January 18, Maghani 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 had responded and denied Maghani's accusations of plagiarism.
In the legal notice sent on January 24, Maghani's lawyer Faraz Faheem Siddiqui states that the singer had approached Xulfi with the hope of being made part of Coke Studio 14 as "she had made many original compositions" which she shared with the producer so that "she can be part of the program and perform her work on Coke Studio".
"[M]y client on 14 June 2021 sent her compositions including the composition of the song 'Tu Mera Ranjha' to you [Xulfi] on your mobile number through WhatsApp Messenger which all were in the form of a voice note. Thereafter no further communication was made by you, however on 14 January 2022 when Coke Studio song 'Tu Jhoom' was released, my client was surprised to learn that 'Tu Jhoom' is made by copying notes and music composition of my client's song 'Tu Mera Ranjha' which was sent to you as voice note on WhatsApp for review," read the notice.
"Your act of copying the notes and composition of my client's song 'Tu Mera Ranjha' for the Coke Studio 14 performed by singer named Naseebo Lal and Abida Parveen without any legal right and permission from my client is a wilful and intentional infringement of right of my client and is a blatant violation of the copyright laws of Pakistan."
The notice asks Xulfi to "immediately cease and desist from using the composition" in 'Tu Jhoom' to avoid legal proceedings. Failure to do so will result in a suit for the recovery of Rs100 million, it added.
In response, Giraffe Pakistan, a production house co-founded by Xulfi that is handling this year's Coke Studio productions, acknowledged receiving the notice and issued a statement on it. "We have received a notice last evening and our legal team will respond to it through the correct channels in due course. As such, we are constrained to limit our responses in deference to the legal process initiated by Ms Maghani," read the statement.
"Xulfi and the team at Giraffe produces and collaborates in the spirit of inclusivity and the work with Coke Studio holds the same philosophy. Xulfi’s work is not borrowed or without credit, given that what he shares with the world is work that relies on the very essence of partnership and collaboration."
Maghani is an up and coming folk singer and music composer from Umerkot, Sindh. The rights to her songs are managed by Digital Entertainment World Pvt Limited.