#DearNeighbour social-media program unites Indians, Pakistanis

"Dear Neighbour."
"Dear Neighbour."

The celebrated founder of a Mumbai production house lanched the campaign with a short film titled "Pause"

MUMBAI — Handloom Picture Company's Ram Subramanian has initiated "Dear Neighbour," a social-media movement to improve the relations between Indians and Pakistanis.

The initiative, which invites people from the two countries to post velfies (video selfies) on its Facebook page, was launched with a three-minute film titled "Pause."

The film urges people from both sides of the border to initiate a conversation. It compares the walls between homes to that of the wall between India and Pakistan.

The video's protagonist is trying to write a letter but isn't able to because of  noise from his neighbor's house. As he shifts in his seat to retrieve a dropped pen, the video slows down; a narrator seated in his place lists all the ways in which Indians and Pakistanis are similar. The spot ends with a message that reads "#DearNeighbour" and encourages people from the two countries to "Chat Up."

Speaking with Campaign India, Subramanian (founder and director of Handloom, a two-year-old production house based here) explained the concept: "If people want change, it has to begin with us. When I grew up I was taught to hate Pakistan. But that has to change.

"This (Pause) campaign started on Twitter," he said. "When the film went out, I got one response of a video from Pakistan. That’s where I got the idea of the video exchange.

"Now, we want to invite people to exchange velfies from across the borders which are showing the real person instead of a media based thing."

He added, "Aman ki Asha ["Hope for Peace," a Pakistani/Indian peace movement] is now supporting the cause. A couple of people from America are also spreading the cause. We are now looking to make it a self-sustaining movement. We want to do something for the peace movement.

"I have made it creative because I want the media to grow. I want to give people a sense that their video will go viral. The next step is hopefully moving to other countries, but only after having pushed this to get a higher response."

About the reception the initiative has received, Subramanian said, "It's been a good response with several videos posted on the Facebook page. 'The Logical Indian' page has picked this movement up; they've opened entries on to their YouTube page as well; and they've posted several videos, too."

Read the full version of this article on campaignindia.in.

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