New Delhi Singers Rekha Bhardwaj and Harshdeep Kaur have withdrawn their names from Shaan-e-Pakistan 2019 gala in Lahore next month in the wake of the Pulwama suicide bombing that killed 49 troopers.
Rekha, well known for her versatile tracks like “Genda phool”, “Kabira” and “Ghagra”, was a star attraction at the gala, where Indian and Pakistani talent would have shared the stage for a musical summit and awards night on March 21 and March 22.
“I cancelled our show to Pakistan immediately after the Pulwama attack,” Rekha, who was due to travel with her team, told this reporter.
Harshdeep, who has sung melodious numbers like “Heer” and “Dilbaro”, confirmed to IANS that she will also not be a part of the event in Lahore.
Nevertheless, the show, where Pakistan’s Javed Bashir will be producer and director of music, will go on. “We have no news on Rekhaji and Harshdeep Kaur,” Rehan Babar of Aden Rehan PR and Management Soultions, official PR Partners of the event, told from Lahore when asked if they will be going ahead with the event.
“‘Shaan-e-Pakistan’ is about promoting fashion, music, art and culture and bringing Pakistan and India together on these platforms. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with promoting peace and love through art and culture. Regardless of the current political tensions, Shaan-e-Pakistan is still very much going ahead and on course to take place in March 21 and 22,” Babar added.
The February 14 terror attack has had a direct impact on cultural ties between India and Pakistan. While the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has announced a diktat saying Indian filmmakers must not release their films in Pakistan and that no collaboration with Pakistani talent must be pursued, veteran actress Shabana Azmi and her lyricist-writer husband Javed Akhtar axed their visit to Karachi to take part in centenary celebrations of Shabana’s poet-father Kaifi Azmi.
In fact, Rekha’s multi-faceted husband and filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj was also planning travel to Pakistan for research on the Netflix series “Midnight’s Children”, based on Salman Rushdie’s novel. However, as of now the plan of the web series’ showrunner stands cancelled, said a source in the know.