The lyricist of a song dedicated to a sect that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath belongs to has threatened to sue Bollywood singer Kailash Kher for defamation. Vimal Bawra said the tune of his 'Nath Yogi', the theme song for the Gorakhpur Mahotsav which opened in Gorakhpur on Thursday, is based on a Bhojpuri folk ditty that he had heard a beggar woman sing more than 30 years ago.
Kher has accused Bawra of copying the tune and lyrics of the song 'Adi Yogi', which the playback singer said he had performed at a Mahashivratri programme attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Coimbatore last year.
The six-minute long 'Nath Yogi' song will be played during the three-day festival at Gorakhpur, Adityanath's home turf, and is dedicated to the Hindu Nath sect to which the chief minister belongs.
A sufi singer from Gazipur, Bawra, whose son has sung the theme song, in turn accused Kher of copying Bhojpuri numbers.
Bawra told reporters on Thursday. He claimed the 'Nath Yogi' song was an original composition and was not a copy.
"The only similarity between the two songs is the word 'Yogi' which is associated with the 'Nath cult' and no one can write a 'Nath cult' song without using the word 'Yogi' or 'Jogi'," he said.
The tune of the song was based on a Bhojpuri folk song, he added.
"I got inspired by a beggar woman's song. In 1987, when I was travelling in a train, a poor beggar woman was singing 'solah saal ki kanya kumara re bani'," he said.
"If my song resembles any other song, it is only the poor beggar woman's song," Bawra asserted.
Maintaining that he had not copied any tune, he said the raga of the two songs was the same.
"A raga is not subject to copyright," he added.
"I don't want to take anybody's name, but this kind of attitude against my 19-year-old son is surprising. Moreover, the song is for a great event - the Gorakhpur Mahotsav - and not for any commercial purpose," he said.
Bawra claimed Kher was envious because the song had become popular. "This is least expected of a great artiste like him," he added. Kher had alleged earlier this week that the tune and some of the words of the mahotsav theme song were similar to the one that he had performed last year.