Qatar officials pull plug on Sunny Leone concert
A Bollywood concert featuring a film star known for her racy resume has been canceled after intervention from Qatar authorities, organizers said.
Some 7,000 tickets have already been sold for Mega Bollywood Night at the Asian Town Amphitheater next weekend with comedian Sunil Pal, dancer Nirmal Tamang and pop star Himal for a 3.5-hour show in the Industrial Area venue.
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Posted by Mega Bollywood Night 2016 with Sunny Leone on Thursday, January 28, 2016
Organizers Arun Valley Entertainment said they had already secured the necessary permits from the Ministry of Culture before they started promoting the show.
However, they told Doha News that they were recently called into a meeting and told that Leone would not be allowed to be part of the program.
In a Facebook message on Sunday, organizers said they were pulling the plug on the entire show and that everyone who had already purchased tickets could receive a refund.
Project manager Ghimire Kalyan lamented the development:
“This is very bad news … We’re taking a huge loss,” he said. “I’m here in Qatar and follow the rules and laws … But (the government) had already given us permission.”
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Authorities in Qatar generally frown upon entertainment that contains explicitly sexual material and have previously banned screenings of movies, including Raaz 3 – a 3D Bollywood erotic horror film – in 2012.
However, event organizers previously told Doha News that there was nothing about the event’s program that would violate the Qatar’s norms or social values.
Kalyan said his goal was to give Qatar’s large South Asian population additional entertainment options.
Mega Bollywood Night is the second Asian Town show to be canceled in less than a month.
In mid-February, promoter World of Music scrapped a concert scheduled for Feb. 26 headlined by singers Atif Aslam and Shalmali Kholgade.
A spokesperson told Doha News today that it was due to “unforeseen circumstances” and that he was not authorized to divulge any more details.
World of Music declined to say how many tickets had been sold. The company said on its Facebook page that ticket-holders would receive a refund.