Digital platform Arré has collaborated with Pakistan’s digital entertainment brand Teeli to co-produce, co-write and co-create the first digital short film, filmed across Delhi and Karachi to celebrate Independence Day for India on August 15 and for Pakistan on August 14.
The collaboration is an attempt at opening up dialogue in a purely creative field, far removed from political and diplomatic relations between the two countries. The idea is an experiment to engage with shared cultural values like food, language and social relationships, rather than the politics that has shaped the current narrative.
The short film explores the possibility of a personal relationship between young people in these two countries and tries to ask the question: What would happen if one of us got a chance to befriend someone across the border? Would the countries’ political and social history come in the way? Is the sarhad more than just a geographical construct demarcating territory?
Matched! captures the unlikely friendship between an Indian girl from Amritsar and a Pakistani boy from Lahore, made possible through a dating app. Lahore and Amritsar are only 50 kilometres apart – and yet are separated by more than just geography. So what happens when two people who only associate India with Bollywood and Pakistan with Coke Studio strike a conversation? A friendship evolves, similarities are discovered, differences are cast aside and by the end of it, you’re left wondering what makes them so different from us.
The video was out on the Arré and Teeli platforms simultaneously on August 13.
Catch the teaser here:
The film was a collaboration between Arré and Teeli in every sense of the word. From script, production and post-production, teams on either side worked on Skype over a period of two months, with the sole purpose of exploring how we can overcome barriers with digital content. The film was simultaneously shot in Karachi and New Delhi by members of the two teams and every attempt was made to deliver a film that is not one country’s version of the other, but a joint expression of two neighbours. Even though the crew and actors on both sides never met each other, the working relationship evolved smoothly over two months for a seamless film that does not feel divided in any way.
Sharan Saikumar, Creative Director, Arré, said, “Matched! is a product of the digital age. It suggests that even though our countries and politics may falter, as people we can always be true.”
Gul Zaib Shakeel, Head Writer, Teeli, said, “Digital content has made borders irrelevant. It’s shown and shared the thrilling, mundane and honest things that our regular lives are all about. The fact that content from either side of the border resonates with the other is testament to how truly similar we are at the core. This is what the video is about. Teeli hasn’t worked on a collaboration of this nature before. Once the introductory phone calls with Arré were done, you’re essentially working as one unit… with a lot of distance between each other. From video calls that stretched for hours to last-minute phone calls from the set to confirm minute details, the journey from scripting to production to post has been an absolute delight."