On Monday, playback singer Arijit Singh and Salman Khan were pitted against each other over Ishtehaar, a song composed by Shamir Tandon in the Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh-starrer Welcome to New York, and sung by Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (pictured). The song has been dominating the airwaves for three weeks now and has garnered about three million views. It was alleged that Salman, who has a cameo in the film, had removed Arijit’s version of the song from the film and replaced it with that of Rahat. The situation was compared to the Sultan dispute two years ago when Arijit had requested Khan to retain his version of Jag Ghoomeya through his Facebook page.
When The Indian Express spoke to Vashu Bhagnani, the film’s producer, he said he wished people had confirmed this with him. “I saw all this on TV and online and was so confused as to what was happening. Arijit Singh never sang for Welcome to New York in any capacity and this can be checked. He never sang a scratch either. Shamir (Tandon), the composer of the song and I were interested in a certain texture of voice and Rahat suited it perfectly. So we asked him. If Arijit didn’t sing, how can anyone remove his voice?,” said Bhagnani, adding that it was a bad case of Chinese whispers.
Bhagnani also said that Rahat and some other Pakistani singers associated with Bollywood have been recording songs online, in the wake of Indo-Pak tensions. “Since they aren’t visiting, all the web files are being exchanged online,” said Bhagnani, adding that he was shocked by the comments made by singer and Union Minister Babul Supriyo about the piece. Supriyo had said that his problem was not with Atif Aslam or Rahat, but with their Pakistani nationality.
“It’s not a political stand but probably the families who have lost their sons, brothers, fathers would feel a lot better should the entire country show solidarity in any manner possible,” Supriyo has been quoted as saying. “These rumours completely spoil a healthy ecosystem. I wonder what Rahat must be feeling beyond the border. Also, Arijit isn’t a scratch singer,” said Tandon.