Days after being accused of copying Pakistani singer Hadiqa Kiani's music, Indian singer Kanika Kapoor has come forward with her side of story, claiming that she did not copy any "folk" song. She says it is original.
The 'Baby Doll' singer spurred a plagiarism controversy days after Kiani called her out for stealing her song 'Boohey Barian'. Kiani had taken to Instagram a few days earlier and said, "Another day and another shameless rendition of the song my mother wrote. No one asked for my permission, no one has given me royalties, they just take the song that my mother wrote and I recorded, and use it as an easy money making scheme."
In response, Kapoor told the Hindustan Times, that anyone who pays attention to the song would know that it is an "original". "From antras to everything. We have just used the hook line of an old folk song. According to me and the label, it is a folk song,” Kapoor said.
Kapoor even claims that there are many versions of the song available online that her and the label listened to and no one has said anything about them. “We have not copy-pasted any old folk song. We used two lines as inspiration. It is very unfair to the writer Kunwar Juneja and Shruti Rane who composed this new song. Also, it is unfair to me if anybody says that I am trying to steal someone’s work.”
The singer told Indian media that she has been getting a lot of hate messages and threats and she's upset how things have panned out after her song released. “It makes me sad that they think we stole their song, or are not giving them the right credit. But I think, instead of going negative, we have to come together and help each other to grow. I have nothing against anyone who is saying anything negative or nasty. I have received a lot of nasty messages. It is sad to see people jump to conclusions without really knowing something,” Kapoor said.
She even asserted, “I am not a legal person. I have no way of finding out who owns the song. I know that many versions of the song have been used for the past 15 years. To be honest, nobody knows who has made the song. There is no paperwork. I don’t know why they are seeing it today? Why didn’t they say anything when the recreations came out."
Kapoor extended an apology for upsetting anyone, saying that nobody did anything intentionally and claimed they are "credible people". "There has not been any intent of fleecing any videos or stealing anybody’s work. I feel very sorry that somebody this way about all of us. We are sorry if we upset anybody’s emotions," said the 'Luv Letter' singer, adding that she has huge respect for "Pakistani singers and music".
Kiani had vowed to take action on Instagram and said "I own all rights to 'Boohey Barian' and all songs on my album Roshni. My mother wrote the poetry.” She called Kapoor's song a “shameless rendition”. In a conversation with Indian social media platform Diet Sabya, Kiani said she never sold the rights to Saregama India, the music label under which Kapoor released her song.
"I have never sold rights to this song or any song on my Roshni album (1998). Many companies have illegally claimed my songs since in the 90s it was an easy thing to do but we are taking appropriate action to get justice not just for my songs but for the thousands of songs by Pakistani artists stolen during this time," Kiani told Diet Sabya in a screenshot shared by the page on their Instagram stories that have since then expired.
She also emphasised that she owns all the rights to her songs. "We have copyright documents dated from before Roshni came out, registered with full rights and ownership. No company or entity was ever given those masters and no company has any documents with my signature on it giving rights. I have stayed quiet for long enough," Kiani said. She also told the page that she and her team are taking action against anyone claiming her songs as their own.