The idea was to unite two uneasy neighbours through melody and music and what better platform than the reality show “Sur Kshetra” that brings together singing talents from India and Pakistan, says Pakistani composer-actor-singer Atif Aslam.
Going live on Saturday, the Indian show has a heavy dose of Pakistani flavour. Aslam will be seen mentoring singers from Pakistan and Bollywood playback singer Himesh Reshammiya will be seen with the Indian team. The judges are three South Asian singing legends — India’s Asha Bhosle, Pakistan’s Abida Parveen and Bangladesh’s Runa Laila.
“The effort is to unite India and Pakistan. There are many people from Pakistan who sing well and, as Himesh Reshmmiya has said, he might take them in his film too. I might take some Indian singers as well,” said Aslam, during a group interaction there.
The message of peace and harmony is timely as always. “Sur Kshetra” was also in the line of fire when Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray demanded that Pakistani artists be banned from participating in the show.
Many eyebrows were also raised when the promos went on air and some friction was seen between Aslam and Reshammiya.
“The promo has been made in such a way that it seemed we are fighting. Himesh is brilliant as a composer. He has been the hit machine in terms of a music director. He is a brilliant artist. He is my colleague and I enjoyed working with him,” said Aslam, clarifying the misconception.
When asked what convinced him to do the show, he said: “When I got to know about the jury, I was interested. I was also interested for Pakistanis to come on stage and sing. I am not thinking about who is going to win or not. I just want to do something good.”
To ensure his team fares well, the singer, known for his hit albums “Doori” and “Jal Pari”, has put in a lot of effort and said he has trained them a lot.
“Everyone has put in a lot of effort. I remember I used to always make them rehearse before their sessions. So I tried my level best that they sing very well,” added the singer, who made a name for himself in India with hit numbers like “Pehli nazar”, “Tu jaane naa” and “Piya o re piya”.
Seen in a prominent role in director Shoaib Mansoor’s hit film Bol, Aslam said he would take up another acting project only if he agrees with the script. As far as singing goes, he has a treat ready for his fans, thanks to the songs in upcoming Bollywood films.
“There were a lot of offers, but I wasn’t interested in them. There are two songs in Jayanta Bhai Ki Luv Story that I will be singing and two songs in Race 2. My personal album will also come out very soon, Insha Allah,” he said.
To be aired on Colors and Sahara One simultaneously, the show has been shot in Dubai.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.