Controversy erupted on the sets of
Ek Se Badhkar Ek
because playback singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya objected to the participation of a Pakistani singer in this weekend reality show.
Consequently, Abhijeet—as he puts it —quit the show. Others say he was shown the door. Abhijeet Bhattacharya and choreographer Ahmed Khan were judges on Zee’s weekend reality show which features TV actors and singers performing in jodis.
Among the new entrants in the wild card round, there were Sanober Kabir and Mussarat Abbas. Pakistani contestants have often participated in the various channels’ music reality shows.
Mussarat Abbas was a contestant from
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007
. Abhijeet has earlier protested against Pakistani singers. In 2003, he even petitioned the government seeking a ban on Pakistani singers performing in India. This time, he said, “If Mussarat sings, I will not judge him.”
Abhijeet said that to allow foreigners to participate in the show was unfair to Indian talent. On another note, referring to Pakistani singers giving playback for Bombay’s movies, he said, “It’s a matter of great shame that our music directors should go to Pakistan to get Atif Aslam to sing because he didn’t get a visa to come here.
bhukhemar rahe hain
(Our own singers are dying of starvation here).”
Fired or quit?
Media reports have said thatAbhijeet had been shown the door due to his behaviour. But the singer states, “I spoke to the channel. They said they couldn’t change the format, so I have quit. It was mutual. But it’s sad that I had to leave because of a non-entity Pakistani singer.”
Tarun Mehra, programming head of Zee, states that he isn’t aware of the fact that Abhijeet had walked out. According to him, “We can’t change the format of the show.. it’s about singing and dancing. We will have to find a replacement.”
Diplomatically, Mussarat says that he will miss Abhijeet on the show: “I understand what he means. The fact that Indians aren’t allowed to perform in our country is amatter of embarrassment to us.We have such deep cultural and family links.” (With inputs by Bidisha Singha)