Hadiqa Kiani has vowed to take “appropriate action” against parties that have “illegally claimed” her songs since the 90s following her criticism of Indian singer Kanika Kapoor’s recently released and uncredited rendition of ‘Boohey Barian’.
Kapoor released her version of ‘Boohey Barian’ on April 28 without crediting Kiani. The ‘Jaanan’ singer shared a screenshot of the music video on her Instagram story to discuss the matter and got very candid about how much it unsettled her. “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,” she wrote in her long note.
Kiani’s Instagram story, which alleged various instances of Bollywood appropriating her songs over the years, was widely shared on social media. Popular Indian social media platform Diet Sabya also shared a screenshot, prompting responses from various followers that claimed Kiani sold the rights to ‘Boohey Barian’ to Saregama India, the music label under which Kapoor released her rendition. Kiani replied to Diet Sabya’s Instagram stories to rubbish those claims.
“No, they [Saregama India] don’t [own the rights],” she said. “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 emphasised owning the rights to her entire catalogue on her own Instagram Stories as well. “I own all rights to ‘Boohey Barian’ and all songs on my album Roshni. My mother wrote the poetry. Anyone claiming they own my masters or rights is saying so illegally and my team is taking action. 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,” she said.
The singer thanked Diet Sabya and its following for their support from across the border. “I’ve stayed quiet when Bollywood first copied, then when the copies kept coming I stayed quiet because I had to force myself to find the flattery, it’s not flattering though,” she said. “It’s unethical and illegal. I hope to speak more about this soon but working with my team right now.”
In her previous stories, Kiani juxtaposed the callous appropriation of her songs with her own sensitivity towards using other people’s work. “Almost every time I have covered a song, I have bought rights to the song, asked permission of the artist or paid loyalties to the artist because that is the ethical way to do things,” she said.