MUMBAI: 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 Saturday, the Indian show has a heavy dose of Pakistani flavour. If Atif will be seen mentoring singers from Pakistan, 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 also might take some Indian singers as well," Atif, who has made a name for himself in India, said during a group interaction here.
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 Atif and Himesh.
Atif clarifies the misconception.
"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."
What worked for Aslam?
"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," he said.
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, Atif 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 from 'Jayanta Bhai Ki Luv Story', I will be singing two songs in 'Race 2'. My personal album will also come out, Insha Allah," he said
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