Song lines

Watch: A Mumbai musical battle about potholes turns sour as Shiv Sena raises the pitch

After a parody video about the city’s bad roads, a radio jockey is threatened with a defamation suit – and her mother served a notice about mosquito larvae.

It’s a musical battle that has suddenly turned discordant. On Friday, Shiv Sena municipal corporator Kishori Pednekar gave a Mumbai reason to chortle when she appeared on several Marathi-language channels warbling a tune that parodied a promotional clip released by a radio station. In that promo, Red FM radio jockey Malishka Mendonsa bemoaned the potholes and flooded streets that inevitably accompanied the monsoon.

But on Wednesday, two members of the youth wing of Pednekar’s party decided that Mendonsa’s promo was no laughing matter. Ameya Ghole and Samadhan Sarvankar of the Yuva Sena urged Mumbai’s municipal commissioner to file a Rs 500-crore defamation suit against Red FM. A member of their party is the city’s mayor.

“Mumbai is not North Korea, we are open to criticism, but only if it is fair,” Ghole, who is also a member of the municipal corporation, told Scroll.in. “We are protesting because the song blames us for every problem in Mumbai, even if it is not our jurisdiction.”

Ghole and Sarvankar had a meeting with municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta to hand him a letter stating that the radio station and the radio jockey were unfairly blaming the municipal corporation for problems that are not under its jurisdiction. It also suggested that Mendonsa’s video had maligned the image of the municipal corporation as well as the city.

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On Tuesday, Sena corporator Kishori Pednekar told Scroll.in why she had decided to compose her parody of the radio station’s promo. “Satires are always appreciated but they need to be factually correct,” Pednekar said. “The last line of our song indicates that in process such publicity stunts, if a Shiv Sena member gets angry, the blame is on Red FM and it is not our responsibility.”

Pednekar that several roads in the city did not fall under the jurisdiction of municipal corporation: other organisations, such as the Bombay Port Trust and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, were responsible for some stretches.

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Mendonsa’s upbeat rant about the city’s roads during the monsoon was titled Mumbai Tula BMC Var Bhorosa Nahi Ka?’ or “Mumbai, do you not have faith in the BMC?” the acronym by which most city residents know the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The song speaks about the traffic jams during the monsoons, delayed train schedules and the roads, which are either filled with pot-holes or water.

For Mendonsa, the threatened defamation suit wasn’t the only sting on Wednesday. The municipal corporation also issued a notice to her mother about mosquito larvae that were found at their home residence at Bandra, in western Mumbai. The municipality frequently carries out checks to ensure that malaria-bearing insects are not breeding in stagnant water.

Mendonsa did not respond to a request for comment. Other representatives of Red FM said that they had been asked not to comment on the issue.

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