Sony Entertainment Television Asia’s Executive Vice President and Business Head, Albert Almeida has rubbished rumours that its Smriti Z Irani produced soap ‘Viruddh’ is facing the axe.

Earlier this week, newspapers in India reported the soap was being dropped bt the channel due to declining ratings and a possibility of an Ekta Kapoor soap filling the “vacant” 21:30 slot.

A report in Mid-Day quoted Almeida, saying ‘Viruddh’ is here to stay. “It is not going off air. These are baseless rumours and I don۪t know who is spreading them. We have immense faith in the show and will continue to support it.”

When asked if Smriti۪s show is being replaced by a new Balaji show, he says, “We are in talks with Ekta Kapoor for new content, but that doesn۪t mean that a Balaji show is taking Virrudh۪s place.”

In fact, we have extended Smriti۪s contract with us beyond September 2007. Why would we do that if we wanted to wrap up the show?”

‘Viruddh’ has yet to make mark in the ratings in India. Nevertheless the soap has received immense critical acclaim.