She Just Pulled a Kaavya

Hey Karmacy, I think some girl in India pulled a Kaavya Viswanathan on your lyrics (h/t Deepa).

Evidence 1 (skip to 4:35 to see her “rap”):

The original Karmacy video of Blood Brothers:

If I knew Final Cut Pro, I would have edited the videos next to each others, but I think you get the idea. Okay, fine. I do realize that these American/Indian/Wherever Idols are an elaborate form of karaoke and no one ever sings original material. But, is it just me, or does she claim the lyrics as her own? (And who is this Patel rap referred to by the judges?)

She auditioned with the same Karmacy song. Audition video below the jump.

I’m not saying that she shouldn’t win – she has some good chops. Just, you know, give credit where credit is due. And… I dunno, maybe she should stay away from the “hip-hop stuff.” Her flow was choppy, at best.

I wonder how Karmacy feels about their song getting merged with Spice Girls. Yay for globalization.

This entry was posted in Music, Musings, TV by Taz. Bookmark the permalink.

About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

30 thoughts on “She Just Pulled a Kaavya

  1. (And who is this Patel rap referred to by the judges?)

    I skimmed through the vid and didn’t see what this is referencing. But could it be Pettai Rap/Petta Rap? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qApp6avF2U

    Also, people need to stop with their stupid “wave” during songs. It’s just looks so awkward. I’ve seen them do it during semi-traditional songs, too. And that looks even worse.

  2. Yeah, she credited Spice Girls but not Karmacy. It does seem she meant to pass the rap off as her own. Not cool.

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLdqaeUhu3A&feature=related

    This is the ‘Hindi’ song. From the film HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA, 1971. Navketan Films, directed by Dev Anand. This was Zeeant Aman’s first film. Music composer RD Burman, singers Usha Uthup and Asha Bhosle.

    As for Patel Rap-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL95Y6rV-MA By Devang Patel, poking fun at his own people, in Gujarati. Came out in India sometime in the nineties.

    Hope that info was useful.

    Cheers, Sapna

  4. This Bhavna lady is very good, she pulls off Usha Uthup and Asha Bhosle cover in the same song, two voices at the same time? Excellent! And from the way she rolls her Rs Bhavna is definitely apro behn!

  5. I dont think she was passing it off as her own. They just asked her to rap . She rapped. She doesnt say it was her own. Who cares. She looks like a rich yuppie girl. Boring. No personality.

  6. Pravin,

    Bhoomi from her accent sounds like she is not from the anywhere in Bombay South of Sion, definitely not Wadala, Grant Road, Kalbadevi etc. She sounds more like someone from up farther North. As it turns out I was right – she is from Baroda. Smart and very sassy!

  7. I don’t understand Hindi so I may have missed some backstory but isn’t Indian Idol just like American Idol in that none of the songs are original until the series finale? Did she tell the judges at the end that it was her original lyrics? Also, can you point out the time clip in each video that are similar. I had a hard time matching them.

  8. Hey Taz pls dont jump on poor Bhoomi. That rap song was not she was being judged on.She is being judged on the original Bollywood numbers that she sang before the rap.So see the part before 4:35.The RAP was not part of the act just a little something in the end for fun. Maybe she should have credited the original guys but hey no big deal here in this case.It was purely accidental and unintentional. Go Bhoomi !

  9. @Abhi – Basically, 4:35 of the first video and 2:41 of the last video where Bhoomi is singing matches up w/ the opening chords to Blood Brothers (i.e. 0:20 of second video). And from what I gathered, she didn’t tell them it was NOT her lyrics – and from the looks of the video, the judges thought it was original. Though I don’t know, I can’t speak Hindi either.

    Hey, I’m all for karaoke – just all about giving credit where it’s deserved. It just feels like she did what Kaavya did – fuzzy form of leaving out some facts. You know?

  10. i don’t she does take credit for it, she just raps it. as far as giving credit, what do they want royalties? what they get instead is far more important, that THEY are in the knowledge that they are having an impact that is breaking india now for better or for worse. thats hip hop.

  11. In the first clip she says “I have mixed some gujarati rap with spice girls”

    Then goes on to sing the gujarati rap song by little known group Karmacy followed by spice girls.

    But as the second clip shows the judges clearly thought that the gujarati rap was original (Bhumi is Gujarati), and were impressed enough to ask her to sing it again. One of the judges even says ‘the reason why we choose you’ Bhumi failed to correct them.

    May have started off innocently. But she clearly intended to pass it off as her own.

  12. I think the charge in the title of the post absurd, I can’t see where in the video she claims it to be her own and if not it is just what you want to see. Also Kaavya made got a half million dollar advance for writing the book and this kid is competing in a stupid singing competition

  13. The fact that she rapped was the reason they chose her. She wasn’t claiming the lyrics as her own, nor did the judges assume she’d written the lyrics. When contestants write their own songs, they make sure it’s stated in very unambiguous terms. The judges would have responded differently too, with emphasis on the ‘wah wah, kamaal hai, ORIGINAL gaana’.

    How do I know the judges didn’t assume she’d written the song? If she was claiming it as her own, she was hugely understating her claim. Us desis, as you well know, are far more prone to exaggeration than understatement. Now double this effect because this is a reality show aimed at a younger demographic.

  14. jyotsana : Can you mail me at bharath DOT subramanyam AT gmail ? Wanted to discuss one or two things offline.

  15. This is Swap from Karmacy…

    I appreciate and am honored by the fact that she chose to use our song for her audition. I would have loved for her to simply state during her audition that she was mixing a rap song by Karmacy with the Spice Girls…

    She doesn’t have any bad intentions. She simply doesn’t understand what it means for the original artist to gain some recognition for his or her work. The judges “have never heard anything like it” and she is getting more credit than she deserves. She didn’t ask for it, but she’s getting it. That’s the only thing that annoys me a bit…

    Regardless, this is hip-hop…It’s about moving foward and pushing the envelop. I am very humbled that we were able to take part in this movement…

  16. Is it totally needed to link back to and refer plagiarism to a person? ..Im sure she got the heat and is feeling bad for what she did and still is….i just feel its in bad taste to keep bringing up what Kaavya did..

    Moving On !!

  17. The fact remains that what Kaavya did was illegal, whereas what this girl did was borderline unethical at worst. I think your comparison is unfair, Taz, but I’m glad Karmacy’s getting credit via your post.

    Swap, it’s very decent of you to say that. Your annoyance is perfectly understandable, but you’ve earned yourself a fan in me, and anyone else who heard your music via Taz’s youtube link, or read your comment here.

  18. Do contestants usually credit every damn song they sing at those American Idol auditions? The assumption by default is that it is not an original song. Now, if she did compose something herself, you can bet she would add something like “Here’s a lil somthing I came up with the other day. Hit it……….”. Something about her annoyed me. But it wasn’t that lack of credit. Besides, the way she raps, I am not sure if Karmacy wants to be associated with that.

  19. Since both my fiancee and I are big Indian Idol fans, we had a discussion about this post last night and she told me that the Karmacy song was very popular in India a few years back..considering that and the fact that the judges are in the music industry (including Salim and Sunidhi who are more contemporary), i have a hard time believing that they thought Boomi had come up with the song herself. Anyways, also having heard some other comments from the judges, what clearly impressed them was how she sang the rap and also the fact that she is a “girl” who raps..that was brought up by one of the guest judges in another episode…there is another singer on the show, Swaroop who is a folk singer from rajasthan and the judges ask him to sing something “traditionally rajasthani” from time to time and when he does that, i doubt they all think, it’s his composition, and the same goes for Bhoomi…considering the fact that despite the last indian idol being a female, very few female contenstants make it through the rounds to get to the top 5, I think Bhoomi was trying to set her self apart from all the other female singers. That’s just my 2 cents!

  20. grrrr. as a long-time fan of karmacy i was annoyed she didn’t mention it was a karmacy song. the judges seem to have thought it was hers, and she did nothing to correct their perception. blood brothers is one of the most original raps out there imho. it would have been nice if she gave credit where it was due.

  21. India’s copyright laws actually provide a much greater (and more sensible) level of latitude for fair use than the US. I don’t actually think someone busting out into a song on TV would raise anyone’s eyebrow or even automatically require being credited. There is actually a fundamentally different cultural attitude about “ownership” or art.

    Although this is seeing some convergence with Western norms due to pressure from Indian merchants trying to capitalize on their own IP and American Copyright Czars trying to enforce their draconian levels of rent-seeking insanity upon us.

  22. Do contestants usually credit every damn song they sing at those American Idol auditions?

    Except she credited the Spice Girls while not crediting Karmacy, leaving the reasonable interpretation that she was trying to pass that part of her routine off as her own. Plus, the argument that it was understood by the judges as not her original composition is a bit weaker, given that it was not part of her main performance.

  23. apsara77

    What is up with another guy using a female nick on these threads?

    Anyway, these Idol shows are lame. I didn’t watch American Idol this season though I caught the last 20 min or so of yesterday’s finale. Some guy won and clips of his singing seemed pretty bad. The Crystal chick seemed much better. BUt then again, I get a kick out of the bad singers getting ahead on these shows. The last time I paid close attention to American Idol was when that moron Sanjaya entertained with his awful singing. I wanted him to go all the way so he could ruin that show.

  24. to pravin: what makes you think that I’m a guy? just cause my partner happens to be female, you automatically assume that its a heterosexual relationship and that i must be using a male ID? wow! heterosexism in clear action here!

  25. Well, there was this guy posting as Jyostsana. So I thought it was a new trend of guys wanting to be gals. BTW, the assumption for heterosexual relationships will always be the dominant one based on pure numbers. It doesn’t mean we hate lesbians and gays.

  26. It’s possible that she did mention Karmacy, but it got edited out because Indian audiences wouldn’t have related with it

  27. In bollywood, there’s a long tradition of lifting the tunes and lyrics from other parts of the world ( and even from hindi to tamil/telugu or vice versa ). One of the judges of this very show, Anu Malik himself has made a career out of it, a rather successful one. Its not a big deal in India even if this singer meant to do it on purpose ( I don’t believe she did though ) The premise of the show itself is based on the contestants singing someone else’s works. Moreover, people take it easy on the so called “cheating” in India, whether it be in your tests at school or it be a singing contest :) .

    Here are some examples of Anu Malik’s blatant lifts

    Bollywood Version : Sun Sun Sun Barsaat ki Dhun : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6MRToAZa3E Original Version : Listen to the falling rain : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac8fqSbisqA

    Bollywood Version : Taaren Hai Baarati : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp1abpd3WL0 Original Version : El condor pasa : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuG35Tbrtbw

    Bollywood Version : Raja ko Rani se Pyar : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu9dEgHAd4o Original Version : Godfather Theme : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my23rf7OOHY

    And he has at least 20 or 30 of such hits and he hasn’t credited the original composer even once.. but nobody cares in India because as long as its being made available in some form, people are happy.

  28. If anybody from the “Indian Idol” production staff is reading this blog, that person should make amends to Karmacy by attributing the lyrics to the original artists. It is unconscionable that a budding artist would use plagiarized lyrics from other budding artists and make no attempt to clarify that they are not her original work. In fact, there should be demerits associated with such chicanery.

  29. Swap–I’m with others here, truly very honorable of you to say what you did, you couldn’t be more right that, in the end, hip hop is a movement and, the movement is about pushing something forward. If Karmacy can lay a foundation upon which others build, then let them build. Karmacy is doing a service. I agree that recognition would have been nice, and certainly appropriate, here. But the lack of that recognition doesn’t change what’s so cool–that this girl used your lyrics. Who doesn’t want to be “cited,” right? I’d consider it an honor, too!