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10/05/2021 10:00

The Sound of Friendship: Warm Wavelengths in a Cold, Cold War

Lena Herzog Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO)
Geisteswissenschaftliche Zentren Berlin e.V. (GWZ)

    How did radio wavelengths travel across borders and create personal bonds of affinity among people behind microphones and radio-sets during the Cold War? This is the theme of a recent documentary film “The Sound of Friendship: Warm Wavelengths in a Cold, Cold War” by Anandita Bajpai (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient). The film traces the story of the Hindi programme of GDR’s international broadcasting station Radio Berlin International (RBI). A public screening will take place on 19 October 2021 at the Funkhaus in Berlin, from where the radio station broadcasted its shows.

    The Hindi programme of GDR’s international broadcasting station Radio Berlin International (RBI) was aired from the Funkhaus, located at the Nalepastrasse in East Berlin, from 1967 to 1990. Anandita Bajpai’s documentary takes viewers from locales in Berlin to Madhepura, Bihar in India where a Listeners’ Club called the ‘Lenin Club’ was active. Over the 23 years of its existence, transnational friendships developed among the station’s listeners in India and the journalists in East Germany. How are these connections remembered today, more than 30 years after the station was shut down?

    Anandita Bajpai shot this film as a part of her ongoing research project “Entangled Wavelengths. Translocal Affect and Affiliation Among Radio Broadcasters and Listeners of German International Radio Stations in Cold War India, 1964-1990”. The filming in Madhepura, Bihar took place in 2019, whereas the parts in Berlin were filmed in 2020. As a medium, the film aims to bring together listeners in Bihar and presenters in Berlin, who have never met each other in person but were entangled in bonds of affinity. The film’s editing and post-production was completed during the COVID-19 lockdowns. As it becomes harder for those in it to physically come together in the future, due to travel restraints, the film’s objective of bridging distant spaces and people becomes ever more relevant.

    Bajpai is a Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin since 2014. She has been a fellow in the DFG-funded project “Modern India in German Archives, 1706-1989” (in cooperation with HU, Berlin and the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Georg-August Universität, Göttingen). She acquired her PhD in Global Studies at the University of Leipzig and is the author of ‘Speaking’ the Nation: The Oratorical Making of a Secular, Neoliberal India (Oxford University Press: 2018). Her most recent publication is an edited volume titled Cordial Cold War: Cultural Actors in India and the German Democratic Republic (Sage Publishers: open-access, 2021).

    “The Sound of Friendship: Warm Wavelengths in a Cold, Cold War” will be screened on 19 October 2021, 6 pm at Studio 2 of the Funkhaus, Berlin (Nalepastr. 18, 12459 Berlin). The film is in German and Hindi with English subtitles. The screening will be followed by a 40 minutes’ open discussion where the audience can interact with the film-maker and some of the protagonists.

    To register for the event as a journalist and for interview requests, please send an email to

    Contact for scientific information:

    Dr. Anandita Bajpai,

    More information:

    http://Film Trailer: m/watch?v=T4qLiM_jflw;
    http://Event Info:;
    http://CV Anandita Bajpai:;

    Criteria of this press release:
    Journalists, Scientists and scholars, Students, Teachers and pupils, all interested persons
    Cultural sciences, History / archaeology, Media and communication sciences, Social studies
    transregional, national
    Miscellaneous scientific news/publications, Scientific Publications


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