Forgotten Bollywood Heroes

As India was still celebrating the success of Jai Ho, India’s bonafide contribution to the British production Slumdog Millionaire, two of its key bollywood participants, singer Sukhvinder Singh and lyricist Gulzar, found themselves watching the event unfold on television, miles away from Los Angeles where they were meant to be.

The irony is sharper for Sukhvinder, who was supposed to perform live along with A R Rahman at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony at the Kodak Theatre. The singer and lyricist couldn’t make it to the event as their paperwork was botched. His absence has raised quite a few eyebrows in the music industry.

A source close to the singer said, “Sukhvinder was charged up, and was looking forward to the live performance at the Oscar event. Rahman had worked out an updated version of Jai Ho, and the two were to sing the new version at the event.”

“However, as the date of the event got closer, bollywood singer Sukhvinder was surprised to learn that he’d not received the official work permit letter from the Oscar authorities. A work permit letter is required because Sukhvinder was to perform there. Sukhvinder had even completed the formalities sending across a photocopy of his passport along with the required documents. But somebody goofed up.”

Whether the balls-up came from Rahman’s end or Foxlight Productions is still a mystery. “By the time Sukhvinder realised it, it was too late,” said our source.

Gulzar too failed to receive an official letter from the Oscar committee. “He was looking forward to attending the event, but missed it because no letter came,” the source said.

Sukhvinder was disappointed, but took it in his stride. “Rahman and Sukhvinder are friends. Rahman had even a talk with the singer and said he’d celebrate his victory.”

Sukhvinder, when contacted, confirmed that attending and performing at the Oscar night remained a dream. “Yes, it is true that I did not receive any official intimation from there. Therefore, I could not make it to the event. I don’t know what went wrong? Rahman and I are like brothers, and he is not responsible for this. In fact, he was the one who insisted on my performance at the event.
Somewhere, someone must have goofed up. But I don’t know who is responsible for it.”

Gulzar remained unavailable for comment.

Composed by Rahman and penned by Gulzar, the song Jai Ho won the Oscar in the Best Achievement in Music written for Motion Pictures, Original Score category.

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