Pitch for Peace

Talking about her Indian television debut, renowned Pakistani Sufi music singer Abida Parveen says that music has the power to transcend boundaries

She is a regular in Delhi's cultural circles, but Abida Parveen confesses that she has been missing Mumbai. "Very few Sufi music concerts or festivals take place in Mumbai," rues the renowned Pakistani Sufi music artiste. "In Delhi, I am part of the annual Sufi festival Jashn-E-Khusrau, which is directed by filmmaker Muzaffar Ali. Mumbai's vibe and people are beautiful in a different way, and I receive many requests to perform there," she says.

Though a concert may not be in the offing, Parveen's music will soon reach out to her fans in Mumbai and beyond as she makes her Indian television debut with Sur Kshetra that goes on air on September 8. A music reality show that will be simulcast on Colors and Sahara, Sur Kshetra will see Pakistani and Indian artistes pitted against each other as teams led by Pakistani musician Atif Aslam and Indian music composer-singer Himesh Reshammiya, respectively. Parveen will judge the show alongside Pakistani ghazal singer Runa Laila and Indian playback icon Asha Bhosle.

Parveen has, until now, stayed away from both Indian films and television even as other prominent musicians from her country, including late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, took up assignments in the Indian entertainment industry extensively. The artiste explains that she is selective about working with the visual medium in her own country too, as it does not allow for the same flow of passion as a live concert. "But when Gajendra Singh offered me Sur Kshetra, I was hooked," says Parveen.

While some in the industry are of the belief that the show exploits the India-Pakistan rivalry, Parveen argues that music has always transcended boundaries, proving to be a unifying factor.

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