Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Thursday threatened to prevent the airing of a musical reality show that features Pakistani artistes.
Bollywood filmmaker Boney Kapoor, who is producing the show 'Sur Kshetra' that is set to feature singing legend Asha Bhosle along with Pakistani music stars Abida Parveen, Atif Aslam and Runa Laila, met the members of the MNS film division here.
Speaking after the meeting, MNS film division member Shalini Thackeray said the outfit's stand was firm and not negotiable.
"Our stand remains that we will not let the show 'Sur Kshetra', and we have conveyed Raj Thackeray's order to the producers," Shalini Thackeray said.
"We were not sitting here for assurances, we were here to convey the order, which we did. Now, he (Boney Kapoor) will sit with the channel representatives and arrive at a decision," she added.
Producer Boney Kapoor was noncommittal about the action he would take on the show, though he did not oppose the coercive MNS diktat.
"The MNS has a point of view, and I appreciate their point of view. Our show is a musical show, a cultural show, and our intention is not to hurt the sentiments. We respect the people's sentiments, and we will address this issue," Kapoor said.
The MNS' point of view was echoed by the Shiv Sena, which said that Asha Bhosle, being a singer of repute, should have known better than to participate in the show.
"Now, Asha Bhosle herself is a great artist. She also understands being patriotic, she knows what kind of things she should do and what she should refrain from. Whether it is the Pakistan cricket team, or Pakistani artistes, giving them importance here will be seen as a weakness on India's part," Shiv Sena lawmaker Sanjay Desai said in New Delhi.
Congress party said that the MNS' position on the issue was unfortunate, adding India had a tradition of welcoming overseas artistes into its entertainment industry.
"Artistes from around the world have come and worked in the Indian television and film industry, so this is a tradition. A statement like this is objectionable. I oppose and condemn it. A tradition such as this must be allowed to continue. However, care must be taken that the value of Indian artistes is not undermined," Congress lawmaker Sanjay Nirupam said.
The MNS has, in past, come into news over instances of violence against migrants from north India residing in Mumbai, as well as a coercive and right wing stance that claims to benefit Maharashtra's ethnic Marathi community. (ANI)