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Raj Thackeray backs down on threat to stop Indo-Pak reality show.

Mumbai: A day after warning the Color television channel against airing its forthcoming musical programme featuring Pakistani singers, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Nirman Samiti (MNS) on Friday indicated that it would not disrupt the telecast of the programme as it had indicated earlier.

Alluding to a threat handed on Thursday by his party's film wing to Colors television channel against telecasting musical reality show "Sur Kshetra", MNS chief Raj Thackeray took serious exception to the gimmick of involving Pakistani artistes employed by the private entertainment channel to increase their Target Rating Point (TRP).

However, Raj appeared to have decided not to go ahead with his party's protests against the telecast of "Sur Kshetra", when he said: "The Color television channel wants to increase its TRPEoACA*. It has shot its music programme in Dubai. But, the television channel concerned should realise that its office is in Mumbai. Let me treat whatever that has happened as past. But, there should not be a repeat of such programmes in future".

"Sur Kshetra" is a reality show featuring upcoming signers from India and Pakistan. While noted playback singer Himesh Reshammiya is mentoring the team of Indian singers, Pakistani pop singer Atif Aslam will lead the team of singers from his country.

Noted Indian signer Asha Bhosle and her counterparts from Pakistan Abida Parveen and Runa Laila will don the role of judges in the programme which will go air from September 8. The Colors television channel held a function to launch the programme at the Taj Lands End at Bandra here on Thursday evening.

Addressing a convention of his party office bearers at the Shanmukananda Hall at Sion in north-central Mumbai, Raj said: "If any channel indulges in similar gimmickry [of involving Pakistani artistes], it is the Maharashtra government that will be responsible for the consequences that will follow."

The MNS chief went on to warn the state government to take serious cognizance of the programmes aimed at promoting artistes from Pakistan and stop them forthwith.

"We have a situation on hand where people are reeling under one bomb blast after another. When a breadwinner in a family leaves for work in the morning, his wife is not sure whether he will return home safely in the evening or die in a bomb blast. Here is a country [Pakistan] which is wasting its life sponsoring acts in IndiaEoACA* the television channels are trying to promote artistes from a country that is being looked upon with contempt," Raj said.

Taking exception to noted Asha Bhosale's justification of participating in "Sur Kshetra", the MNS chief said: "Ashatai says Athiti Devo Bhavah (The Guest is God), while justifying her decision to participate in the programme along with singers from our neighbouring country. But, I would like her to clarify first if it is Athiti Devo Bhavah or Paisa Devo Bhavah (The Guest is God or Money is God)".

The MNS chief's decision to go soft on Color channel's music programme, featuring Asha Bhosale and Pakistani singers, came a day after the Indian singer justified her decision to take part in the programme.

The MNS' film wing Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena (MNCKS) had on Thursday written to Color television channel management, warning against telecasting "Sur Kshetra" featuring Pakistani singers. President of MNCKS Amey Khopkar had threatened that if the television channel went ahead telecasting the programme, the party's film wing workers would disrupt the shooting of the programme. He had also requested Asha Bhosale not to participate in the programme.

In her interaction with the media, Asha Bhosale had said on Thursday evening: "I am not related to any politics or party's agenda. I love Raj [Thackeray] and he loves my music. That's it. He talks about me. That is his perspective of things. I am not concerned with political issues over the show. As humans, we must take along everyone in life. That is humanity".

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena's executive president Uddhav Thackeray also expressed displeasure over Color television channel airing a musical programme featuring Pakistani artistes.

Talking to media persons here, Uddhav said: "The Shiv Sena's stand has been that until the relations between India and Pakistan are not improved or until such a time Islamabad does not stop sponsoring terrorism in our country, we are opposed to having any kind of relations with our neighbour. We have in the past protested against all kinds of shows or performance featuring Pakistani artistes.

When his attention was drawn to Asha Bhosale featuring as a judge in "Sur Kshetra", Uddhav said: "I am not telling just Ashatai, but all that we should come together to fight the evil tendencies of Pakistan".

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Aug 31, 2012
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