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Hamisha Daryani Ahuja’s Netflix series ‘Postcards’ fuses the vibrancy of Nollywood and Bollywood

INDHamisha Daryani Ahuja’s Netflix series ‘Postcards’ fuses the vibrancy of Nollywood and Bollywood

Postcards is a compelling narrative of a Nigerian single mother embarking on a journey to India for medical reasons. She encounters many relationship struggles and eventually reconnects with her family in India. The series, shot in Lagos and Mumbai, features a diverse cast of Nigerian and Indian actors, portraying the multicultural spectrum of human emotions. A person of Indian descent, the Nigerian series director and entrepreneur, Hamisha Daryani Ahuja, is making significant strides in Nigeria’s entertainment industry and the Indian OTT space.

Speaking to us from Lagos over a video call, Hamisha shares insights into the creation of Postcards, her cultural influences, future plans, and her journey as an Indian-Nigerian filmmaker, businesswoman, and motivational speaker. Her unique background and experiences have shaped her creative vision, allowing her to create content that resonates with diverse audiences.

“Initially, the title I had planned was Postcards from India. We wanted to convey a sense of old-fashioned charm with meaningful messages from another country. However, we realised that just focusing on India might limit the global appeal. So, Postcards was chosen to give it a broader, more relatable feel across different cultures,” says Hamisha

Larger scale

Director of the series, Hamisha Daryani Ahuja wears multiple hats with elan
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Postcards is significantly larger in scale and reach compared to her 2021 feature film, Namaste Wahala. Hamisha says Namaste Wahala was initially aimed at Nigerian audiences, while Postcards aims to connect with viewers worldwide, focusing on universal themes of human connection and relatable life experiences. That it has garnered global attention, quickly climbing the ranks in Nigeria, the UK, Kenya, Mauritius, and Dubai reflects the show’s ability to resonate with viewers emotionally, evident from the feedback of binge-watching and repeat views.

As for the project’s timeline, Hamisha shares that Postcards took about a year from conception to release, with filming starting in January 2023. This meticulous approach ensured that every aspect of the series, from storytelling to production quality, met her high standards. “Our aim was also to create borderless content that appeals to a global audience. While the project was primarily focused on Nigeria, we wanted it to resonate with viewers worldwide, showcasing universal themes of human emotions and connections.”

Two-nation flavour

Hamisha also delved into the cultural similarities between Indians and Nigerians, highlighting aspects like touching elders’ feet, love for food and fashion, and a shared sense of national pride. “These commonalities played a crucial role in shaping the characters and storylines, making the series relatable to diverse audiences.”

Hamisha integrated Indian cultural elements like saris and Hindi language into the series, especially with Nigerian actors. “It was a seamless effort, thanks to the actors’ familiarity and love for Bollywood. One of the actors who portrayed Zainab spoke fluent Hindi, adding an authentic touch to the series. The sari scene was well-received, showcasing the cross-cultural exchange within the narrative.”

Track appeal

Among the different emotional tracks in the series, Hamisha says, she resonates most with the young couple’s storyline debating whether or not to have a child. Played by Nigerian actor Rahama Sadau (Zainab) and Bollywood’s Rajneesh Duggal (Dr Siddarth), their story can belong to any couple in the world. “It reflects the complexities of relationships and personal aspirations, emphasising that there’s no right or wrong answer, just different perspectives and life circumstances.”

Having a multicultural background can be an advantage when creating cross-cultural content. Hamisha agrees that it gives a unique perspective and a deeper understanding of different cultures, allowing one to make authentic, relatable, and inclusive content. “Your experiences and insights can help bridge gaps, avoid stereotypes, and celebrate diversity meaningfully. Embracing your multicultural identity as an integral part of your storytelling approach is a powerful tool in creating content that resonates with diverse audiences.”

Different film industries can sometimes reflect similar themes or character portrayals! Both Nollywood and Bollywood are known for their vibrant storytelling and colourful characters. Hamisha has used traits from two industries. Postcards seems to have captured Nollywood’s signature style, where heightened emotions, natural yet exaggerated performances, and deep feelings are vital components. Aunt Bunmi’s role (played by Sola Sobowale) in Postcards seems to embody characteristics of both Nollywood and Bollywood. “Her interactions, especially regarding hugging and showing affection, reflect the heightened emotional tone often seen in these movie industries. Aunt Bunmi’s portrayal is natural because it reflects how the actress behaves in real life.”

Acting dream

Regarding her acting stint and plans, Hamisha expresses openness to exploring more acting opportunities, building on her role in Namaste Wahala and a cameo in Postcards. “It was a little girl’s dream,” she laughs and hints at a sequel to the popular film and a new reality show on the anvil.

Hamisha’s love for Bollywood is evident in her admiration for the ‘90s era of the industry. She grew up watching Karan Johar’s films and developed a liking for the vibrant storytelling and colourful characters that are the hallmarks of Bollywood. Her dream is to work with actors including Manisha Koirala, Madhuri Dixit, Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, and Rani Mukherjee, staying true to her admiration for the ‘90s era of Bollywood.

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