- Imran Abbas, the heart throb of Pakistani cinema and television is a handsome cross between Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.
- Indian fashionistas love Pakistani fashion in clothes.
- Bollywood stars are adored in Pakistan while we in India can’t get enough of their TV serials (mostly through pirated video tapes many years ago and nowadays on YouTube).
One would not be remiss in realizing then that a strange bond exists between these two nations. As Imran Abbas said at the launch of Zee TV’s newest channel Zindagi: “The blood is the same and calls out to each other.”
Imran Abbas was accompanied by Shailja Kejriwal (Chief Creative Head of Special Projects at Zeel for Zindagi) as well as other members of the Zeel for Zindagi Creative Team at this Indiblogger event held at Hotel Leela on Saturday, the 21st of June.
Even after 60 years of partition, an uncomfortable distance remains between the two nations in spite of an unexpressed craving of the people to interact with each other both emotionally and geographically. It is really not very difficult to find differences if one is so inclined. See what happened, before the Zindagi team arrived, between the bloggers in Delhi and Mumbai in this event, which was a three-city live interaction between Delhi, Mumbai and Lahore.
Climate and weather became the bone of contention between the two groups of bloggers and if there were no cameras that kept these two entities apart they might even have come to blows. And these are people that belong to one nation.
It is thus not very difficult to imagine the mental and emotional distance that exists in the minds of the people of India and Pakistan, especially seeing the violent past they have shared and the selective information propaganda that is carried out, on and off. “That these disruptive elements are not successful is proved by the presence of the artists from across the border,” was Imran Abbas’ succinct reply to one such query.
According to Shailja Kejriwal, who originated the concept for this show, artists are the ones who can take their countries to other countries and touch the hearts of the people of that country.
Zindagi, the channel, thus aims to break barriers through entertainment.
And if you want to stifle a yawn because you are already overfull with the saas-bahu sagas on Indian television that seem to go on endlessly, generation leap after generation leap, then you can relax because these serials from across the border are dramas backed by a solid story line and impeccable acting. They will tackle issues that are universal and touch the heart. And best of all, they will have a limited number of episodes each.
In fact, Shailja revealed that it was ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hain’ directed by Sultana Siddiqui (lovingly called Sultana Aapaa by all), owner of Hum Network in Pakistan, that was the inspiration for Zindagi. Sultana Siddiqui has been Imran’s mentor and he took great pains to point out that Sultana Aapaa was a wonderful example of the significant position that women in Pakistan enjoy. But women in the sub-continent continue to struggle and these struggles will be show-cased in stories with names like Aunn Zara, Kaash Main Teri Beti Naa Hoti and so on.
Suave Imran held all the audiences in thrall and when coaxed he even regaled us with songs from Indian films sung in a voice that was both mellifluous as well as soul-touching.That he is a music buff is proved by his collection which numbers more than 25000 compositions. The fascination that Indian audiences have for Pakistani singers is equally and in some cases exceedingly reciprocated which Imran Abbas revealed to an unsurprised audience.
Ravi from Delhi and Garima from Mumbai received MotoG phones for their blogposts that spoke about breaking borders towards joining of hearts. Their blogposts perfectly embodied the “JodeyDilonKo” concept of Zindagi.
Once the interactions ended, it was time for tea, which many bloggers in Mumbai put to good use by clicking selfies with Imran Abbas (yes, he was quite the dude, and he is also a lead player in some of the serials that will be telecast on Zindagi).
We can now look forward to entertaining evenings even as we see glimpses of ourselves in the stories that will come to us from across the border, that is, Pakistan, now, but other countries too, later. I’m thrilled because the Pakistani serials I remember watching many years ago have captured a place in my heart and I would love to revisit them, especially as the spoken language in those serials was so beautiful and so musical to the ears that even when the characters spoke harshly or in anger, the beauty of the dialects was retained. Will I be able to re-experience that ? I shall know at 8pm tonight when the first episode of ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hain’ is aired.
This post is part of the #JodeyDilonKo initiative conducted by Indiblogger.