Bollywood films may be barred from being screened in Pakistan, but that is not stopping filmmakers of another variety from selling creative talent across the border.
And in the season of thawing relationships between India and Pakistan, it is only apt that an Indian advertisement should be topping the popularity charts in Pakistan.
The ad for Dabur India's digestive tablets brand Hajmola shot by adman Prahlad Kakkar is among the most popular ones in Pakistan, claimed the company.
Interestingly, the ad, tailor-made for the Pakistani audience, has been shot in India using a cast that includes both Indians and Pakistanis. To be politically correct, a Dabur spokesperson is quick to point out that the ad was made along with a Karachi-based agency, Reach Advertising.
The ad is set in a train. Although it depicts several Pakistani railway stations like Karachi, Multan and Lahore, it has actually been shot at an Indian station called Panvel.
"Several clients in Pakistan feel that using the services of Indian advertising talent, and production in India, will give them greater value for money," said Kakkar, CEO, Genesis Films, which has also shot television commercials in India for PepsiCo Pakistan.
"This is the first time an Indian company is getting into full blown, customised marketing activity in Pakistan. It is a very important market for Dabur," said a company executive.
According to Dabur, there were several similarities between consumers in India and Pakistan, which is advantageous for Indian advertising companies.
"In Pakistan, too, we are trying to position Hajmola as a fun, impulse purchase product rather than a medicine. But there, it is targeted at the males in the family who usually make all the buying decisions," explained the Dabur executive.
As part of its overseas expansion plans, Dabur had entered the West Asian market, including Egypt, Africa and Pakistan through its subsidiary Dabur International.
The company even has plans to put up a manufacturing facility in Pakistan. Dabur's products are currently imported into Pakistan through its manufacturing plant in Dubai. In its second phase of expansion in the country, Dabur plans to launch its personal care products later this year.