In 2007, when 32-year-old British-Pakistani journalist Saima Mohsin visited India, she was busy meeting “Bollywood royalty.” “We filmed around Mumbai and in the Film City, and I interviewed the Bachchans, Salman Khan and Anil Kapoor,” she says.
On her most-recent trip here, however, she did something completely bizarre. “I laid a plastic road,” exclaims the presenter, who as part of BBC World’s Horizons show, spent a lot of time in India shooting two special episodes titled Eco Cities, which will air tomorrow and day after.
Featuring two housing developments in Bangalore that are attempting to use renewable sources of energy to function, the show attempts to reaffirm the importance of eco-housing, a concept popularised by economist-turned-eco-entrepreneur Chandrashekar Hariharan. The chairman of Biodiversity Conservation India Limited is one of the many people interviewed by Saima.
“He aims to show that eco-housing is not only simple and affordable but also one of the best practices,” she says. “I don’t know if he has a solution, but he feels eco-housing can make a difference.”
Having worked extensively in the broadcasting industry in Pakistan, Saima found many parallels between the way daily news is captured in India and in our neighbouring country.
“I’ve seen TV (flashing ‘exclusive’ to grab eyeballs) on Indian and Pakistani channels. The industry there is still in its infancy, but that’s not an excuse. Viewers need to be treated with more respect. The content should be valued more than the graphics,” she says, adding on a lighter note, that Hindi films truly bond the two countries.
"Everybody I know in Pakistan loves Bollywood! Even in conservative and rural communities, I’ve seen people who are well-versed with the lyrics of songs. Pakistan isn’t hugely different from the rest of South Asia.”