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While a planned meeting in New York last month, between Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj might have been called off, artists on both sides of the border aren’t ready to bow down to political pressures. A case in point is Talash (Urdu/Hindi for ‘search’), a single which brings together musicians from Pakistan and India. Hence, the hashtag: #talashforpeace.

As the story goes, Lahore-based music band Call’s lead vocalist and a well-known actor Junaid Khan was recently contacted on social media by indie alternative-rock band Spunk’s drummer Abhinandan Mukherjee from Kolkata. The two hit it off instantly. Soon they were collaborating on the song.

“We love Indian artists and their work, and they love our work. This affinity is all so natural and organic, because we used to be one people,” says Khan, who also co-wrote the song. “Through Talash, we are giving out a positive message — of living peacefully and freely in a borderless world.

“It’s also a fun song,” he tells Gulf News tabloid!. “Its genre is metal-rock.”

To give it a more South Asian appeal, Tahmim Habib Dipro from Bangladesh’s creative studio Glitch was roped in to direct the video. Kathmandu in Nepal was chosen as the shooting location.

According to Khan, Nepal was chosen for its scenic beauty: “The story portions were shot there. Later, heavy rains forced us to shoot our [the musicians’] part indoors, at a warehouse.”

The video, which is currently in post-production, features Khan as well as Spunk’s Abhishek Chatterjee on vocals, while Mukherjee is on drums, and Soumik and Rahul Maity on guitars and bass respectively. It is expected to be out end of this month.

Talking exclusively to tabloid! from his hometown, Mukherjee relates how he came up with “this very, very crazy idea”: “Since our fans had long been waiting for our original music, we thought of making it special. So I involved one of my biggest inspirations, Junaid bhai. I messaged him on Instagram, introducing ourselves and the sort of music we make, and asked if he’d be willing to work with us. He wanted to know whether we had an original track ready, we sent it to him, and he loved it.”

Over the next few days, they exchanged ideas excitedly over the phone and through emails. Mukherjee requested Khan to create the melody, the chorus, and the words. At the same time, Chatterjee was writing the “bridge.” By April this year, the song’s basic structure was in place.

“I don’t think any rock band from India has taken such a drastic step,” he declares. “I told Junaid bhai that let’s make it even more grand and engage this Bangladeshi company I knew from before. After all, we [India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh] were all together once, maybe 70 years back!”

Nepal was a natural choice for the shoot, he says, because “it’s a neighbouring country. So we’d formed a full circle.”

The young musicians as well as the crew “bonded amazingly well” on the set and even post-shoot: “We’d hang out, and party. It just goes to show that music has no boundaries.”

The people at Glitch also voice the same emotions: “This was no ordinary project… This was a matter of pride. [Also] there was not a single dull moment after we met in Kathmandu… Borders are mere constructs and music recognises no such thing.”

Replying to a query about the video launch happening in India and/or Pakistan, Khan says, “We haven’t discussed it among us yet. We might initially just release the video online, and see the response to it.”

But he is sure to “take our collaboration to global platforms, in terms of touring abroad.”

Tours between India and Pakistan are unlikely in the current scenario. So, Khan believes “we shall be playing [the song] outside of the two countries, we’ll be stressing on restarting the peace process. Being artists, we can only do so much.”