BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation

07/14/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/14/2022 05:55

Special podcast series Baat Sarhad Paar: Conversations Across The Border brings together eminent personalities from India and Pakistan

Published: 14 July 2022
Updated: 14 July 2022
What better way to mark the 75th year of India and Pakistan's independence and partition than bringing together people across the border to trace the shared cultural past and also celebrate each other's individual journeys."- Rupa Jha, Head of India, BBC News

It is a unique initiative to celebrate the spirit of dialogue and deep-rooted ties between India and Pakistan based on the countries' shared social and cultural memories, as well as heritage.

This podcast series will launch this Friday 15 July. A new episode will be released every Friday on the BBC News Hindi and BBC News Urdu websites and respective YouTube channels, and on all major podcast platforms including Gaana, JioSaavn, and Spotify.

This podcast explores the special connection and admiration that is commonly found between people across the border, especially when it comes to cinema, music, and literature.

In each episode, high-profile figures will share their anecdotes and experiences of changes they have seen in India and Pakistan, and how they derive inspiration from their counterparts from across the border. The tone of the podcast series is light-hearted, humorous, at times emotionally moving and thought-provoking.

The title song, Baat Sarhad Paar composed by Chintan Kalra and BBC's Ajit Sarathi, is a classic amalgamation of Indian and Pakistani folk instruments infused with digital production, evoking past times. The heartwarming lyrics have been written by Anish Ahluwalia and sung by Jagtinder on Sharat Chandra Srivastava's violin.

Rupa Jha, Head of India, BBC News, says: "What better way to mark the 75th year of India and Pakistan's independence and partition than bringing together people across the border to trace the shared cultural past and also celebrate each other's individual journeys. Telling these fascinating stories as a podcast is an insightful and intimate experience for our audiences and we can't wait to share them."

Asif Farooqui, Pakistan Editor, BBC News Urdu, adds: "Working on this series has been a fascinating experience for me and my colleague at BBC Urdu, Nazish Zafar, who has been instrumental in curating the episodes around the themes and involving the people who could connect the 75 years of history with the future, so that younger generations on both sides of the divide feel connected with their past and hope for a future of peace and togetherness."

Summary and highlights of each episode:

Episode one: Music Across The Border

Renowned singers Sunidhi Chauhan from India and Zeb Bangash from Pakistan talk about their fans' love that continues to inspire them, and how music has become an integral part of their memories. Their heartening conversation shows enormous admiration for each other's work, with Zeb describing the chat as a big fan moment and recalling the times she heard Sunidhi's song from the movie Highway. She says Sunidhi's songs have given her strength and support during dark phases in her life.

Both singers recall being inspired by the musicians they grew up listening to from across the border, and also their experiences working with music composers from each other's country. Sunidhi and Zeb sing their own songs too, as well as covering classic songs by Indian and Pakistani singers.

Episode two: Satire And Cinematic Entertainment

Accomplished Indian writer, lyricist and stand-up comedian Varun Grover engages in a sharp-witted conversation with famous Pakistani director, producer and actor Sarmad Khoosat, who has directed several iconic television drama series. His film Zindagi Tamasha made Pakistan's official entry into the foreign film category in Oscars in 2021, but the release was delayed by over a year due to political controversy.

Varun and Sarmad talk about the similar sense of humour shared by both countries. They also make poignant observations about the challenges and resistance satirists can face, if the comedy isn't taken in the right spirit.

Episode three: Poetry And Evolution Of Feminist Ideas

Features acclaimed feminist poets Anamika from India and Kishwar Naheed from Pakistan. Both have been honoured with prestigious literary awards of their country. Anamika is the first female poet to receive India's Sahitya Academy Award. Kishwar received Pakistan's Sitar-e-Imtiaz for her contribution towards Urdu literature. Both literary personalities take audiences down memory lane, reminiscing on the rich literary heritage shared by the countries. They also recite their renowned poems.

Episode four: Partition Of India And Pakistan

Indian historian, researcher and writer Aanchal Malhotra is in conversation with the Pakistani fashion journalist, social commentator and television personality Mohsin Sayeed. The guests narrate moving accounts of their parents and grandparents' migration caused by partition, which displaced and separated millions of people on both sides. They discuss not just loss, but also the determination of people that helped their family cope and rebuild their life with renewed faith.

Episode five: Cross-border Marriages

Here the focus is on love and its triumph against the odds. Three young people - Arman Dehlvi from India, who married Maliha Khan, a Pakistani; and Desiree Francis, a Pakistani who married an Indian - reveal the social and bureaucratic difficulties faced by people when they decide to marry across the border. In a candid conversation, they recount dramatic anecdotes and share personal experiences.

BBC Hindi and BBC Urdu are part of the BBC World Service.