Lata Mangeshkar-Sachin spoof: NYT clarifies what ‘so-called’ means

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Tanmay Bhat’s ”Sachin vs Lata Civil Wars” Snapchat video may have gone viral, but it has drawn flak and little support since its released. The video even found mention in the New York Times, but it was criticised for calling the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar as a ‘so-called playback singer’ in their report.

“In the expletive-laced video, which was created on Snapchat, Mr Bhat uses that app’s face-swap feature to impersonate Sachin Tendulkar, a hugely popular cricketer who retired in 2013, and Lata Mangeshkar, a so-called playback singer for Bollywood films whose career dates to the 1940s. Playback singers record vocals for song-and-dance numbers, to which actors and actresses lip sync,” read the report.

The Indian media promptly reported NYT’s gaffe and commented that it they should have got their facts right.

However, the paper’s South Asia bureau chief defended NYT saying that the term ‘playback singer’ was used in the right spirit as non-Indian readers are not familiar with the word.

Ellen Barry, South Asia bureau chief for The New York Times, explained in a tweet: “A note on ‘so-called’: Used here for non-Indian readers unfamiliar with the term ‘playback singer’. In no way a commentary.”

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