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Sonu Nigam caught in South African legal tussle

By Fakir Hassen, IANS

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Downlaod Kal Ho Na Ho WallpapersAward-winning Indian singer Sonu Nigam is caught in a legal tussle between rival show promoters over his ongoing South African tour.

Though Nigam performed to a packed audience at the tour opener Saturday at Westridge Park Stadium in Durban, his shows in Cape Town June 5 and Johannesburg the next day are in jeopardy despite reportedly huge ticket sales.

The versatile singer, whose title song rendition of "Kal Ho Na Ho" became a huge hit fetching him laurels, has been "disturbed" by the legal wrangle, according to his spokesman.

The Durban show took place only after the promoters agreed to place 100,000 rands ($15,340) in trust, pending the outcome of the court case in which a promoter is claiming that Nigam had breached an agreement with him.

In the case, Vijay Maharaj of Everest Promotions claimed he had exclusive rights to Nigam's performances in South Africa for five years.

Maharaj brought a high court application against Nigam and Showtime Promotions, which is hosting his current tour, within hours of Nigam reaching the country Friday.

Judge Jan Hugo granted an interim order directing Showtime Promotions to deposit 100,000 rands into a trust fund while adjourning the matter to June 2.

Sonu NigamMaharaj claimed through newspapers that in July 2000, Nigam had agreed with promoters Praneal Singh and Anil Singh in what was described as a "partly oral and partly written contract" to perform in South Africa exclusively for a company to be formed by them. Maharaj claimed that the agreement was for Nigam to perform three shows annually in South Africa for five years for which he would be paid about 380,000 rands ($58,300) each year.

Maharaj said that after he took over Everest Promotions through a 500,000-rand ($76,670) deal in May 2003, he had tried repeatedly in vain to arrange dates with Nigam for the performances in terms of this agreement.

Showtime Promotions representative Veesham Maharaj said the company had proceeded with advertising and planning the shows with Nigam because it has a binding contract with the singer.

Nigam's spokesman and Mumbai show promoter Abhijeet Choudary said the singer was "disturbed" by the legal wrangle, especially since this is the first time in his career that he was being slapped with a legal order.

Choudary said Nigam, who has performed to packed houses in the country for the past three years, had come to South Africa to keep his fans happy and was "disgusted" with the way things were turning out.


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