Playback singer Sonu Nigam has spoken out about his alleged showdown with Mumbai cops during an event for Chhath Pooja in Mumbai on Wednesday, when his rendition of hit Bollywood song ‘Shukran Allah’ was stopped midway.
Nigam, who was singing the popular number from Saif Ali Khan- Kareena Kapoor starrer Kurbaan (2009) was told by the cops to stick to ‘devotional’ or ‘patriotic’ songs. The event, in Mumbai’s Juhu, was organised by former MP Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress Party.
Talking to Hindustan Times, the 41-year-old singer says, “I was singing my regular hit numbers but the policemen said I should only sing devotional songs. In any case, I was not singing any vulgar ‘chaddi-choli’ songs. Music is a prayer in itself. And don’t we hear Lungi dance and all of that during Ganesh Visarjan or the Durga Puja visarjan functions?”
Elaborating on what happened at the event, Nigam says, “Just when I started singing Shukran Allah, cops came and stopped me, pointing towards the ACP, who was standing at a distance. I told them to talk to Sanjay Nirupam, who was the organiser of the event. After discussing among themselves, they told me that I should only sing devotional songs as they only had permission for that, and that I must avoid any kind of ‘dhamaal’ songs so that the crowd doesn’t get unruly.”
He adds, “I was a little zapped because seven lakh people had not gathered there just to hear bhajans from me. People obviously have certain expectations from Sonu Nigam when they come for his show.”
The singer says that when he explained that he didn’t have many devotional songs in his repertoire, he was told that he could sing some patriotic songs instead. “So, well… I sang Rang De Basanti Chola, Zindagi Maut Na ban Jaye, Sandese Aate Hain to set the mood. Thankfully they didn’t create any issue after that. I’m more amused than offended at the whole incident,” he says.
Commenting on the controversy, Sanjay Nirupam said “It was not a big issue. Since it was a devotional programme, police did not want ‘dhamaal’ songs and dancers on the stage when Nigam sang as police feared that excited crowd may go out of control. Following the objection to song Shukaran Allah, we asked Sonu to stop and carry on with just devotional and patriotic songs.”
Nirupam indirectly pointed a finger at deputy commissioner of police (Zone IX) Satyanarayan Choudhari saying he took objections to several trivial things citing the rule book.
“We have been organising Chhat Puja in Mumbai for last 17 years but police never took objection to anything. This time, Choudhari had some issues with size of the stage and our security arrangement. However, we took all possible efforts to sort out the issues as we want the programme to be held without any glitches,” Nirupam said.