MISSING: Atif Aslam
By Bandook - March 12, 2018
From the get-go, O Saathi from Baaghi 2 was a winner. The love song composed by Arko Pravo Mukherjee (he has also penned the lyrics) found love almost immediately, but fans of Pakistani artist Atif Aslam found it particularly odd that he was missing from the credits for the song on YouTube.
In what is being seen by some as self-censorship, the video description as well as the title of the track finds no mention of the singer’s name.
The singer’s distinctive drawl is easily recognisable and therefore, is made even more conspicuous by the absence of his credits on the video that features on YouTube.
From what we were given to understand about the process, most Bollywood song videos come with credits pre-approved by the production house bankrolling the film in question. That being said, it isn’t a new thing for credits to change or for additions to be made on the platform.
What IS new is the fact that a singer’s name HAS not been mentioned with the video and nobody even wants to go on record about the oversight.
While all audio streaming platforms do feature the artist’s name and the related credits correctly, the snub seems limited to video-streaming sites at the moment.
Could the genesis of the absent singer credits could stem from a recent controversy? Think about it. Ishtehaar (sung by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for the film Welcome To New York) bore the brunt of a recent demand by minister Babul Supriyo to a ban the song over the use of a Pakistani singer in an Indian film.
But then, immediately after, another track from the film #Raid released, featuring Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s vocals duly credited. The album features two tracks by the Pakistani artist. No complaints or controversy here.
Which makes the current omission a stark and possibly deliberate one; to avoid controversy. Why else would a song, currently on top of the ‘Trending In India’ list, not add the singer’s name when it only serves to work to their advantage and reach?
To answer that question, we reached out to the label (T-Series) who remained unavailable for comment. We then reached out to Baaghi 2 producers Fox Star Studios – India, who also did not respond to our messages.
An industry source, on condition of anonymity, notes, “It smacks of self-censorship by one of the powers-that-be at either the label or the production house. There’s no other explanation. Check their tweets or social media posts. They haven’t even tagged the singer. Meanwhile, the YT description even mentions the additional vocals (Payal Dev), the musicians and where the track was recorded (in Dubai), but not the singer’s name.”
Continues the source, “If you believe that the omission is the prerogative of the production house and not the label’s, then Saptarshi Cinevision/Storm Pictures are not afraid about a backlash, considering their soundtrack (on the Zee Music Company video channel on YT, features two Pakistani artists (Atif Aslam and Javed Bashir).”
That returns us to the question: Why was Atif Aslam missing in the credits of Baaghi 2 in the first place, when a proposed ban on Pakistani artists isn’t an industry-wide stance at the moment?
In fact, the controversy provoked Atif Aslam enough to not promote his song in Daas Dev. Music director Vipin Patwa, who worked with both Atif and Javed said in an interview when asked about Aslam taking a backseat.
Vipin echoed the sentiments of Ishtehaar composer Shamir Tandon when he said, “Removing an artiste from a song merely on the basis of some controversy is the worst and most disrespectful thing as it takes a lot of effort and pain to create a song.”
It is however heartening to see fellow composers like Amaal Mallik tweet in support of the track and composer, and also tag Atif Aslam in tweets.
Well, fans of the singer are furious either way at the omission.>