New podcast series highlights the cultural connect between India and Pakistan

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A new podcast series, titled ‘Baat Sarhad Paar: Conversations across border‘, brings together eminent personalities from the world of art, music and literature from India and Pakistan, as the two countries celebrate their 75th year of independence this year.

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Produced jointly by BBC News Hindi and BBC News Urdu, the series launched on July 15 has a new episode releasing every Friday on BBC websites and podcast platforms, including Gaana, JioSaavn and Spotify.

In each episode, the interviewee will share anecdotes and their experience with regard to the changes they have seen in India and Pakistan, and how they derive inspiration from their counterparts from across the border. The tone is light-hearted, humorous, at times emotionally moving and thought-provoking, say the producers.

The title song Baat Sarhad Paar, composed by Chintan Kalra and BBC’s Ajit Sarathi, brings together Indian and Pakistani folk music. The 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 the Partition than bringing together people across the border to trace the shared cultural past.”

Asif Farooqui, Pakistan Editor, BBC News Urdu, adds, “Working on this series has been a fascinating experience… 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.”

The first episode, which released on July 15, titled ‘Music across the border‘, has 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. Both singers recall being inspired by the musicians they grew up listening to from across the border and also their experiences of working with music composers from each other’s country.

The next episode, titled ‘Satire and cinematic entertainment‘ has Indian writer, lyricist and stand-up comedian Varun Grover engaging 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‘ was Pakistan’s official entry into the foreign film category in Oscars in 2021. They talk about the similar sense of humour shared between both countries, and also make observations about the challenges and resistance satirists can face if the comedy isn’t taken in the right spirit.

The coming weeks will see episodes on ‘Poetry and evolution of feminist ideas‘, ‘Partition of India and Pakistan‘ and ‘Cross border marriages: Focuses on love and its triumph against the odds‘.

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