Zindagi – reactions across the border

Zindagi, an entertainment channel launched in India a while ago, has aired several Pakistani serials, all of which were popular with audiences on both sides of the border. It’s a very proud moment for us, we have a strong drama industry and this move is certainly going to improve relations between the two countries as they will be able to see the similarities in the lifestyles of the two populations and india will be able to see the real face of Pakistan, one that is positive. All in all, Zindagi’s effort has garnered positive reactions from both the rival countries and has helped in breaking stereotypes. All of this has been said over and over again.

While I’m very happy that our serials are receiving their much deserved glory, I can’t help but notice a vast difference in the reaction of Indian and Pakistani audience. The Indian audience welcomed the new content instead of protesting against it and weren’t hesitant in admitting that our drama industry is stronger than theirs. They openly appreciate that the serials aren’t endless and stick to a storyline till the end instead of wavering here and there.

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As Zindagi Gulzar Hai’s ‘grand finale’ aired in India last night, viewers poured their reactions on Twitter and on Zindagi’s Facebook page biding a bitter-sweet farewell to a much loved serial. Zaroon and Kashaf had become part of their lives and imagining their evening without them is plain heartbreaking for most.

“British Pakistani Actor-Model, Sanam Saeed is one of the strongest actors the Pakistani TV and film industry has to offer. She has played many characters that have been critically acclaimed, including her role in Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Mera Naseeb. Her character of Kashaf Murtaza in the show Zindagi Gulzar Hai (ZGH) that aired on Zindagi channel became extremely popular and she says that people still call her ‘Kashaf’ sometimes…” Sanam Saeed’s intro on dnaindia.com.

Similar reactions were seen when Aunn Zara ended on 12th of July.

This is in stark contrast to the reactions we get from Pakistan’s audience every time a channel airs foreign content, especially Indian dramas. The latter takes seconds in resorting to abuse. The biggest argument is that showing ‘Hindu’ culture on our screens is actually corrupting our traditions and values. Anyone who dares to ask them to define what exactly they think is Pakistani culture, is labeled as an agent of the enemy.

However, they don’t seem to have any problem in rejoicing over ‘Muslim’ culture being aired on an Indian channel. Yes there are Muslims in India, a huge number of them, but there are more Hindus than Muslims and they have the wits to appreciate the difference in culture, whether it is digesting the fact that Kashaf’s father had two wives or that Aunn’s dadi reads Quran every day.

The reaction of the media on both sides is different as well. When Urdu 1 aired Turkish dramas, UPA held constant protests and condemned the channel on social media as well. Despite frequent reiteration that our industry is better than most, the fraternity felt insecure. On the other hand, since the time Pakistani serials have gained popularity on the other side of the border, top news papers and websites have done features and articles supporting the new channel along with publishing several interviews of Pakistani actors who were a part of serials that were aired.

Samina Peerzada’s interview on india.com

Reasons to watch ZGH

Indian celebs reaction to Pakistani serials on Zindagi: Bye-bye unending television dramas, welcome Zindagi

More to come on Zindagi

Connecting with artists across the border

and much more.

Admittedly, it’s a fantastic breakthrough for Pakistan’s television industry since it offers an all new audience that is eager to watch the serials that they find refreshing after their endless soaps. Hopefully our industry will grow and be appreciated internationally. And hopefully the Indian audience will like Maat, Noorpur Ki Rani, Behadd and all the amazing serials lined up for them on Zindagi. And even more hopefully, it will serve as a reality check for us and encourage us to be more accepting and tolerant towards change.

This summer’s agenda: Finding Na Maloom Afraad

I’m never really excited about the release of a Pakistani film.  Even though the movies are good, most of them show what we see in our daily lives: destruction in Pakistan. There is no fantasy, we are not transported to another world and once we are done watching the movie, we are more depressed than happy. The ‘feel good’ factor is missing. This summer, however, things are different. With so many movies, all of different genres coming out, I can’t help but anticipate the release of most of them. One of those movies is Na Maloom Afraad.

Let’s start with the cast. The film brings both old and new faces on screen, many of whom are renowned for their talent on television. Fahad Mustafa, Javed Sheikh and Mohsin Abbas Haider play the leading trio of miscreants who struggle to get away with their eccentric and destructive plans, undetected. Urwa Hocane is the female lead who will be playing Fahad Mustafa’s love interest while Salman Shahid will appear as a villain.

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The film is set in the most happening city of Pakistan. Yes you guessed it: Karachi. Fahad Mustafa’s character seems to be the lead miscreant who leads his friends in bizarre situations that usually lead to havoc. Javed Sheikh is the innocent one, who keeps trying to fit in and stay away from trouble at the same time. Mohsin Abbas Haider is apparently the chill dude who just likes to go with the flow without giving a damn about what would happen later.

Now, if the cast is not enough to excite you, I don’t know what is. Oh no, actually I do. Mehwish Hayat, the glamour queen, appears as guest star and will apparently be doing an item number. Now you are perking up.

 

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But there is more coming. Have you seen the trailer yet?

Na Maloom Afraad’s trailer is one of the most exciting ones I’ve seen so far. And yes, that includes Kambakht’s trailer too (it doesn’t mean I won’t watch it though). It starts with a dramatic ‘kehte hain hartaloun mai sab ka bura hota hai. Par hamara bhala hone wala tha,’ accompanied by clips of burning buses and people running in panic and is followed by a tensed Fahad Mustafa and his two peeps. And then begins the excitement.

The trailer includes all the elements that would encourage you to make plans to go and watch the movie when it comes out. It makes the viewer anticipate how much more the story holds and how each character will develop and affect the situation at hand. The 2.50 minute trailer is jam packed with chaos, romance, dance, humour and glamour and ends with the three mischief makers sitting on a roof identifying the unidentified persons that are so common in Karachi:

‘Na maloom afraad? Wo kahan se ayen ge?’

‘Wo ham hain!’

 

Email: farwa.rants@gmail.com

‘Ulte Hath Pey’

Every Karachiite knows that even if you’ve lived in Karachi all your life, it is impossible for you to remember all its twists and turns. Even Google maps fail to help you. So, no matter how much you try to avoid it, you have to pull up at some point and ask people for guidance.

Luckily, everyone in this city is ever ready to help you, even if they aren’t in a situation to do so. And nothing makes them more happier than giving you directions – especially if you are a woman.

It usually goes like this: you stop a rickshaw wala (because you assume he’d know the way) and tell him where you want to go. He will look perplexed and ask:

Kahan?’

You will repeat yourself. And then his face would shine up.

Ap yahan se seedha jayen. Agla signal cross kar k ulte hath pe samne hi hai.’

You will thank them earnestly and drive on.

Needless to say, by following these ‘clear directions’, you end up more lost than before.

Taking deep calming breaths, you will somehow make your way back to the main road.

Next you will ask a layman. He, too, will look perplexed and ask:

Kahan?’

Getting a bit impatient, you will repeat yourself. And this time, his face would shine up as well.

Wo to kafi peeche hai. Ap thora back (reverse) kar k seedha cut lain or main road pe nikal jayen. Seedha jayen, white building aye gi, wahan se seedhe hath pe lain, samne gate hai.

Hoping for the best, you will drive on in the blistering heat. But the promised white building will never show itself.

Now you are running out of time. You have started to freak out and, even with the AC turned on, your face is glistening with sweat. You will start cursing the world, honking angrily every time you see a bird flying freely.

 

Next you will ask a traffic warden. He will most probably get you the first time and will probably give you the right directions, only they aren’t enough.

Seedha jayen, agle signal se ulte hath pe cut lain, wahan pe…

Now, from wahan pe onwards, you are free to figure out your own way. You can feel your engine heat up so you have no choice but to turn off the AC. Sweating profusely, you drive on, looking for the ‘ulta cut‘. On your way, you yell at some idiots who try to take over your car, curse others for existing, and smack your face more than once. You are already late by now and the constant phone calls drive you even more crazy.

If you are lucky, you might miraculously reach your destination after driving round and round for hours. And sometimes, you might even end up getting actual help. Otherwise, you might as well crash your car in a pole and go home. Since you are already lost…good luck with that.

 

Email: farwa.rants@gmail.com