Apart from the channel head, Sur Kshetra's producers and Sahara One CEO Boney Kapoor met MNS chief Raj Thackeray at his residence Krishnakunj here today. Citing the huge investment made in the music show, they said that Sur Kshetra's 15 episodes for which shooting has been completed must be telecast or else the entire money will go down the drain.
Thackeray was apparently convinced by their argument. Earlier, his party's film wing had warned that the show will be disrupted. "We respect art. But Pakistan did not reciprocate this sentiment when it summarily banned Salman Khan's Ek Tha Tiger recently. We will not allow any shoot of the channel if it goes ahead with the show involving Pakistani artistes," stressed the Chitrapat Karmachari Sena in a letter sent to Colors last week.
On his part, Raj Thackeray demanded that "Pakistani singers should come out in the open and denounce Pakistan for its role in perpetrating violence on India." Incidentally, Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon expressed support for his stand on the issue.
"There are comic stars who come to India from Pakistan aur wapis jaake hamari vaat lagate hein! Whether it is sending terrorists like Kasab or sending hatred-invoking SMSes, Pakistan has always played dirty. So, what friendship and cultural exchange are we talking about," Raveena demanded to know.
Raj Thackeray was also unhappy over veteran playback singer Asha Bhosle being a part of the show's jury, but she refused to back out from her commitment to Sur Kshetra.
After the singer pointed out that "The show aims to promote peace and harmony between two neighbouring countries", the MNS chief retorted, "Ashatai says she is into music and as such, she doesn't understand the nuances of politics. However, as a responsible citizen, she should understand the magnitude of cross-border terrorism which is tearing India apart. There is no need for an artiste of the calibre and status of Ashatai to collaborate with Pakistani vocalists."
Latest reports say that Thackeray has agreed to allow Asha Bhosle to participate in Sur Kshetra. The show will feature 16 participants in all.