Mumbai, Jan 23 Producers of an upcoming music-based reality show “Sur-kshetra” were hoping to bring to India some well-known artists from Pakistan. But the plans have gone for a toss, after the numerous controversies that Pakistani artists have been getting embroiled in within the country, forcing the makers to shoot the show in Dubai.
The show, being made by veteran producer Gajendra Singh for Sahara One, already has Pakistani singer Atif Aslam associated with it as the captain of his country’s team. But the plan was to bring in more names from across the border.
“Sahara One’s entertainment head-honcho Boney Kapoor and ‘Sur-kshetra’ producer Gajendra Singh were all set to bring a number of Pakistani stalwarts to India for the show. Atif Aslam did come down to India for a brief visit. But there were plans to get several other stalwarts of the Pakistani-Bangladeshi music industry, among them Runa Laila, Abida Parveen, Ghulam Ali, down to India for the show,” said a source.
These plans have hastily been dropped. The show would now be recorded completely in Dubai. According to earlier plans, the venue for the show was both India and Dubai with musicians from both Pakistan and India involved in a free-flowing stream of merging talent.
But now bringing a large cartel of Pakistani musicians into Mumbai seems, in the words of a source from the show, “suicidal”.
When contacted, Singh said: “Yes, the show is going to be recorded exclusively in Dubai. Some Pakistani artists who come to India for short-term publicity, damage and negate the humble effort I’ve been making for the last three decades to better cultural ties between the two countries through music.”
Singh has earlier given a platform to Pakistani singers through music reality show “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa”.
“I don’t believe there’s a better tool than songs to bring India and Pakistan together. But every time a controversy like the one with Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan or Veena Malik happens, we move back many steps.
“There are good times for Indo-Pak relations, and there are bad times. I’d say we’re currently at a low ebb in our relations with our neighbours, and some of their artists, who are coming to work in Mumbai, are not helping the cause,” he added.
While Singh went mum on the issue after the outburst, a source close to him reveals that procuring visas for Pakistani artists became tougher in the past few weeks.
“Non-controversial artists like Ali Zafar and Atif Aslam are embarrassed by the antics of their colleagues from their nation. But there’s little they can do except look the other way,” said the source.
“Sur-kshetra” will have singing legend Asha Bhosle as one of the three judges on the show. The other two names will be officially announced soon by the channel.
Other names associated with the show include singer-composer Himesh Reshammiya, who will captain the India team.
The host of the show, expected to be launched in February, is yet to be announced.