SRINAGAR: Even though there is barrage of Indian soap operas aired on satellite channels, Pakistani serials are once again gaining popularity among Kashmiris particularly youngsters
The enthusiasm among youth has got a new boost after Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel), the Indian TV giant, began to showcase Pakistani dramas on its channel Zindagi TV from June 23.
These Pakistani dramas have generated huge response. For instance, the Facebook fan page of one of the serials ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’ asked how many Indians fans are watching the show. In minutes it generated a huge response of 71,763 ‘likes’ from the Indian fans.
‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’ is aired Monday to Sunday at 8 pm; ‘Aunn Zara’ from Monday to Sunday at 8:55 pm, and ‘Kitne Girhain Baaki Hain’ from Monday to Sunday at 10:15 pm.
And there are still many Pakistani serials which the channel will be soon airing, including some of the highest rated shows like ‘Humsafar’ (23 episodes), ‘Kahi An Kahi’ (23 episodes), ‘Meeray Qatil Meray Dildar’ (26 episodes), ‘Ishq Junoon Dewangi’ (21 episodes), and ‘Ishq Gumshuda’ (21 episodes).
Meanwhile, many Kashmiri youngsters have the copies of these serials in their laptops and pen drives and pass it on to their mates.
The youngsters who watch the Pakistani serials not only praise the story but also say that the content is such that it leaves an impact on the audience. “If you watch ‘Daastan’, for example, one is able to understand the historical process that created Pakistan and how it impacted lives of many,” said Sadaf Khursheed, a mass media student.
Sadaf said she cried when Bano (a character in ‘Daastan’) escapes successfully from the clutches of “Sikh rapist to Pakistan and kisses the ground.”
Experts say that Pakistani television serials enjoy a reputation for being classier than the Indian dramas.
“They give a dream to live in,” says Tarique Bhat, a filmmaker who heads ‘Associated Media’, a production house in Srinagar.
“Unless a drama drags its viewer into a fantasy world where he or she connects himself or herself with the character, it cannot succeed, and the Pakistani dramas on Hum TV or ARY have that effect of hooking up its viewers. Their class is international,” Tarique said. “As a filmmaker I know that if audience identifies itself with the character it means job is done. And Pakistani dramas have no match in this regard.”
While Tarique was talking to Kashmir Reader, he asked his daughter, a 7th grader why she was fond of Pakistani serials. “They (characters) do not die and their actors do not keep resurrecting like the Indian actors,” pat came the reply.
Arshad Mushtaq, a theatre playwright and filmmaker, seconds Tarique. “Pakistani serials are brilliant. In their plot, story, direction and acting Indian dramas can’t even be compared.”
According to Arshad, Pakistani serials are made by professionals who depict the society they live in, and owing to literary base they touch the peoples’ issues.
“Pakistani dramas are driven by idea and have a strong literary base, while as Indian dramas are merely TRP exercises. Indian serials lack quality writers and Pakistan has built up a strong base in this area,” he said.
There are also people who say that it is cultural affinity between Pakistan and Kashmir that hooks Kashmiris to Pakistani serials.
“One is able to identify himself with the story or characters in these dramas as they share same social structure we belong to, thus making them more acceptable to us than Indian dramas,” said Shehzaad Ahmad, a bank employee.
“I have watched dramas from both the countries, but what makes me more enthusiastic about Pakistani ones is that they share our language and religion. Besides, we have emotional attachment with Pakistanis,” said Saqib-ul-Hasan an engineering graduate.