Talent hunt for the role of Anarkali

MUMBAI :It sounds like a dream but it is true. It will take one person to make one guess and leave the rest to his or her fate. The stake is Rs 2.5 million and world fame. Feels like Bollywood? Well, almost. A London-based millionaire plans to find a new Anarkali through a major television hunt spreading over six months. The TV show that aims to rock the South Asian television world would be a joint production between Akbar Asif, the son of legendary Indian filmmaker K. Asif and a prominent Pakistani satellite TV channel.

Asif, whose father’s historical epic Mughal-e-Azam is due for general release in Pakistan on June 2, 2006, plans to follow the release with a television extravaganza – Akbar Asif Ko Anarkali Ki Talash. The program will involve the most known international and Bollywood celebrities as judges and will be shown globally.

The winner of the program is set to bank a cash prize of Rs 11,100,000 and a film contract. There is also a Rs 2.5 million cash prize each for the person in India and Pakistan who would correctly guess as to who would crown the winner. The guessing game is billed to be as exciting as the whole show.

Akbar Asif said there is no partner at the moment in the Anarkali Ki Talash adventure but he was at an advance stage of negotiations with a major Pakistani TV channel. “The program will be broadcast India-wide in collaboration with an Indian TV network and details of that are being sorted out at this moment.”

It may be mentioned that major Indian TV channels have expressed an interest in the unique concept. Once the deal goes ahead, an international TV cooperation would be created to make the program a worldwide attraction. Asif believes his creation would be the “next big thing” to hit television in the subcontinent.

Asif, who had previously gifted Rs 11,100,000 to the technicians who coloured Mughal-e-Azam through Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan in 2004, revealed that he started to develop the concept for the grand show in London after he realised a long held dream of getting his fathers film released in Pakistan. He hopes that his father’s magnum opus would thrill the Pakistani cine goers. “I hope it would earn as much money as possible as all the proceeds were promised to go to charity”.

Akbar Asif commented: “I thank the people of India for making my father’s film a legendary creation by loving it so much. I hope the same would happen in Pakistan and I am looking forward to creating another legend. For that I would need the support and prayers of the Indian people and I hope they would offer that to me as they did to my father.”

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Johnny Vaz

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