A 19-year-old Pakistani student, who shot to fame after her five-second video went viral on social media across the subcontinent, hopes numerous renditions of her monologue will translate into more dialogue between rival neighbours India and Pakistan.
The short video, shot by Dananeer Mobeen in the Nathiagali Mountains of northern Pakistan and uploaded onto Instagram, shows a group of youngsters enjoying themselves by a roadside.
Swinging the device she is filming on around to face her, Mobeen gestures behind her and says in Urdu, “This is our car, this is us, and this is our party taking place.”
Seemly innocuous, she deliberately mispronounced the English word “party” as “pawri” to poke fun at South Asians who adopt Western accents.
It immediately struck a chord on both sides of the border, sparking top trending hashtags on social media, and garnering millions of views and hundreds of spin-offs in Pakistan and India.
Yeh Narendra Modi Stadium hai, yeh iske do Ends hain…aur yeh cronies ki pawri ho rahi hai. pic.twitter.com/J13uJcFTNH
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) February 25, 2021
“It was the most random video. I initially had no intention of uploading it,” Mobeen said, expressing surprise that it went viral and adding that the trend showed the power and reach of social media.
“Pawri” monologue renditions have since been used by police in India and the Delhi Commission for Women in their social media outreach campaigns.
Dial 181. Theek hai ? 😄 pic.twitter.com/IvmA3NS3aC
— Delhi Commission for Women – DCW (@DCWDelhi) February 24, 2021
In one video, two Indian soldiers deployed in snowy mountains give it their own spin. “This is us, this is our gun, and we are patrolling here,” they say.
Popular Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone each did a version that also went viral.
Indian dairy company Amul, known for inculcating trendy takes on current issues in its advertisements, did a “this is our pav-tea” version, in a nod to a popular bread snack eaten with tea.
— Amul.coop (@Amul_Coop) February 18, 2021
Even politicians jumped on the bandwagon, with the president of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party using the catchy hook at an election rally.
— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) February 26, 2021
“I’m honoured and grateful for all the love across the border,” said Mobeen, expressing her happiness at fostering some rare friendly cross-border dialogue.
India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed nations, have fought three wars and often had tense relations since gaining independence in 1947.
Relations had most recently soured over developments in the northern region of Kashmir, which both countries control in parts but claim in full.
Last week, their militaries released a rare joint statement saying they had agreed to observe a ceasefire along the disputed border, after exchanging fire hundreds of times over past months.
Since the video went viral, Mobeen said she has been inundated with acting and modelling offers, along with requests for product endorsements. Instead, she says she aspires to join Pakistan’s foreign service.