New York, NY: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. announced “Zeal for Unity,” a peace initiative to bridge the gap between India and Pakistan through cultural experiences Mar. 15. The initiative took off at the Wagah Border with six Indian and six Pakistani filmmakers coming together and showing their support in a token gesture. We use the word “token,” because they have already supported the initiative and the 12 films are ready.
The channel feels that this is a momentous step toward changing the way people across India and Pakistan see, feel and think about each other. Though the Border Security Force is said to have denied the media permission to be there at the Wagah Border at the last moment (this had been announced in the itinerary and was the unique selling point of this trip for the media contingent), the photographers were taken for a photo-op showing the filmmakers meeting and greeting each other — on the Indian side but not AT the border. Like a photographer told this reporter, “Good you guys did not come! It was a complete anti-climax!”
At the main press conference held at the Sarhad Restaurant a kilometer away from Wagah, the filmmakers mentioned how the concept, along with the freedom to choose what films they would like to make, fired their enthusiasm, and they agreed instantly to ZEEL’s proposal that came via phone calls from Shailaja Kejriwal, chief creative of special projects, ZEEL. Punit Goenka, managing director of ZEEL, and Sunil Buch, chief business officer of ZEEL, were also present.
Sharing his thoughts about the initiative, Goenka said, “The Zeal for Unity initiative is in line with our corporate brand philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The World is My Family.’ The objective of this initiative is to bring together creative minds, filmmakers, cultural exponents and thought leaders from both India and Pakistan to facilitate an apolitical exchange environment of peace and harmony.”
Kejriwal, while thanking her bosses as well as her team, added, “The 12 films, especially created to celebrate this historic initiative, will be simultaneously showcased in both the countries. As we progress, we aim to continue this cultural dialogue between people from both sides of the border through varied forms of art.”
Buch, explaining the logo that was unveiled with the tag-line ‘It Takes Two,’ said, “To do anything constructive in life, it takes more than a single individual or a solo effort. It takes two to move ahead, always. And that is the value proposition that we have chosen. A simple yet powerful thought that it takes two to bring change, and sustained change can only be brought about through concentrated efforts of people from both countries. ‘Take Two’ also fits in intrinsically with all art media, especially films, where it is multiple takes that bring to life the creative imagination and aspiration of storytelling that indelibly changes the hearts and minds of people. Also, the symbol as it is designed also indicates the ‘V’ or Victory sign.”