Bhubaneswar: Kalinga Stadium here will reverberate with ‘Rangabati’, the iconic Sambalpuri folk number, during the opening ceremony of 22nd Asian Athletics Championships on July 5.
Amid other chartbuster performances, Bollywood musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy will sing the cult song at the international event.
Though singers Jitendra Haripal and Krishna Patel, the original composer and director Prabhudatta Pradhan and writer Mitrabhanu Gauntia were initially hesitant when asked for permission, they later relented on the condition that the song is not tampered with.
Despite some controversies in the past, the song has had people sway to the rhythm of ‘dhol and nishan’ for the last four decades.
“I have no objection to experiments with instruments. However, the original flavour and style of the song should be retained. Shankarji is undoubtedly a brilliant singer and I hope he will seek guidance on the style and local diction,” said Haripal.
The singers, composer and writer gave their consent for the performance at a meeting called by Sambalpur collector Samarth Verma on Wednesday in the presence of state sports officials.
“As the event is being organised in Odisha, we wanted the cult song to be among the other performances to which Shankarji readily agreed. We will see to it that the original tune and style is retained,” said Culture Minister Manoranjan Panigrahi.
Originally recorded in 70s in AIR Sambalpur, ‘Rangabati’ has been part of every Odia celebration.
There was much hue and cry in the past when permission of the original singers was not sought during the remake of the song. While Sona Mohapatra, director Nila Madhab Panda and Pragyan Patra have tried to popularise the song through different mediums, Haripal only hopes that such attempts do not spoil the original version.

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