Politics aside at benefit

Song-and-dance show set for Mumbai

Indian and Pakistani thesps and artists will come together for a Feb. 6 concert to raise funds for thousands of Indians affected by last month’s tsunami.

In a historic first, more than 200 members of the two industries from the once-warring countries will put on a song-and-dance show in Mumbai.

In the lineup are Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Sunjay Dutt, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta and Sameera Reddy plus singers including Sonu Nigam, Rabbi and Kumar Sanu.

Pakistan’s film industry — known as Lollywood after the city of Lahore — will send along Meera, Mona Rana, Raahat Ali and Waaris Ali.

“While we have not yet decided whether the show will be ticketed, it will be telecast on 17 local Indian TV channels,” said film producer Bunty Walia, one of the organizers.

Proceeds will go toward the Indian Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Meera said the extravaganza would showcase the growing unity between the film industries of the neighboring countries, which have been locked in dispute over Kashmir for more than five decades.

“We want to tell the world that in times of need, we are together,” Meera told the Times of India.

Bollywood was quick to react to the calamity, which killed 10,744 people in India.

Khan and other stars made personal donations, while actors Vivek Oberoi and Rahul Bose went to southern India to help with relief work.