Monday, July 21, 2008

'Why should we promote Pakistani talent'- Abhijeet

Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya and organisers of the show Ek Se Badhkar Ek, on Zee TV, have parted ways. The singer allegedly refused to vote for Pakistani singer Mussarrat. While Mussarrat confirmed that Abhijeet refused to vote for him, the singer has no regrets about being thrown out of the show. He says, “I have given up Rs 50 lakh (his fee) only because I am fighting for a cause. Why should we promote Pakistani talent, when there is so much of good talent in our country? It is sad that the organisers threw out an Indian to accommodate a Pakistani who is a non-entity.”

Abhijeet also alleges that Pakistani singers get direct entry into the shows while Indians are forced to go through a rigorous procedure to get into the show. He says, “None of them are auditioned, but Indians are made to stand in long queues for days together and they are often thrown out of the audition within minutes.”

Abhijeet is also upset that Mussarrat was brought in as a wild card entry on a show and highly talented Indian singers like Emon and Harpeet were kept out. “This is injustice. They have no idea of the extent of trauma these kids have to go through. For me, it’s a matter of dignity, I will not allow Indian talent to die a slow death in their own motherland. I don’t want their money, I was certainly not there on the show for the money.”

We contacted Tarun Mehra, business head of Zee TV to find out the veracity of charges Abhijeet made against the channel. Refuting Abhijeet’s charges, Tarun said, “Yes, we have parted ways, but his allegation that Pakistani artistes get direct entry is false. Firstly, there is no audition for a show like Ek Se Badhkar Ek. We chose talent from among the established actors and singers and then paired them.”

But Abhijeet counters Mehra by saying, “We Indians don’t get the visa to go to Pakistan, so how can the auditions happen?” The singer’s parting shot was, “I want to ask Raj Thackeray, he is against north Indians, so why doesn’t he take up this issue of Pakistanis seeking employment in India?”

Mussarrat, who is caught in the crossfire, said, “There is nothing like Pakistan and India, art knows no border - so what if there is a border in between the two countries? We all are one.”


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