Nathiagali, Karachi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi: (World View Media, Reuters)
A five-second viral clip has breached Pakistan and India’s heavily militarised borders, replacing feelings of enmity with a need to party.
The video features a group of young Pakistani women outside a roadside diner in front of their car. The author-19-year-old Denaneer Mobeen–looks straight into the camera and states the obvious: “This is our car, this is us, and we are partying.”
The “pawri” (slang for “party”) clip and its subsequent hashtag-#pawrihoraihai—has since inspired millions of imitations, parodies, and music across social media. Celebrities such as Indian actor Ranveer Singh Have posted their own versions of it, and the clip’s influence has stretched beyond the realms of social media to Indian public service announcements and was even recently referenced by the president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at a rally.
“I think it’s just amazing because people are sharing the friendly dialogue across the border, there’s so much love being shared, a lot of appreciation pouring in across the border, it’s beautiful. I’m honoured and I’m grateful for all the love across the border,” said Mobeen, who lives in Islamabad.
Mobeen said she had no idea that the short clip, originally posted on her Instagram, would have caused such a stir.
“We parked the car in the side, the music was playing, and if I could say one thing, it would be that this was the most random video that I have made in my life… I had no intention of uploading it. There was absolutely no intention behind making this video,” said Mobeen, who now has 1.2 million followers on her Instagram account.
Since acquiring her newfound celebrity status, Mobeen said she has been offered acting and modelling jobs, but she intends to pursue a career in Pakistan’s foreign service. She is currently applying to universities to pursue her undergraduate degree.
Over the border in India’s capital of New Delhi, residents said the “pawri” clip hits close to home, especially during the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is hatred between the two countries (India and Pakistan) and it would be better if there was no hatred. People are enjoying the (‘Pawri’) clip and since we all are under stress due to COVID-19, we do not really care whether the meme comes from America or Pakistan… we have a reason to enjoy it and we are thoroughly enjoying it,” said New Delhi resident Aman Sharma.
The nuclear-armed neighbours have experienced an increase in tensions over the past few years, and in recent months, their armies have exchanged fire along the disputed border with Kashmir.
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