Monday, August 11, 2014 - 13:19

The News Minute | August 11, 2014 | 12.58 pm IST

Pakistani serials are all the rage in India since they were aired in India around one and a half months ago.

Broadcast by Zee Zindagi, an exclusive channel for content from other countries which could resonate with Indian audiences, these shows have received much appreciation in India.

Currently, two shows on the channel Aunn Zara and Zindagi Gulzar Hai are very popular among Indian audiences.

In an interview with Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Business Head of Zindagi Priyanka Datta said that the launch team had viewed 4,000 hours of programming. The channel is the only Hindi channel which shows content from other countries. Although the channel started with Pakistani shows because of linguistic cultural affinity, it plans to branch out into content from Egypt, Turkey and even Latin American countries eventually.

The Pakistani media are quite upbeat that shows from their country are being shown in India and have been widely appreciated. Arisha Meraj wrote in a blog published by The Express Tribune: “Women not only want to buy Tulsi’s sari now, but to also, at times, address an unfortunate happening or a mishap as abshugan (Hindi for bad luck). The effects on our culture can be easily spotted.

"However, a few days back, I came across news that was thoroughly refreshing to hear; Pakistani dramas are being aired on an Indian channel called Zee Zindagi. Curious as to what people had to say about our dramas, I was pleasantly surprised to note that people were very appreciative of our shows, story-lines and actors. The overwhelming response indicated that the audience was looking forward to watching how Pakistani dramas portrayed real-life situations with characters that have depth and substance. A few responses on Twitter made me realise how much our dramas are being liked in India:”

A story on website Desi Free Tv also echoes the same response. Website Youth Ki Awaaz went a step further and said “Zindagi Channel Is Airing Pakistani TV Shows That Make Indian Shows Look Immature”. Naturally, the urge to compare could not be resisted.

Kashmir Reader had a story about how Kashmiri youth loved the serials. Quoted in the story is a Standard VII girl who said she liked the serials because: “They (characters) do not die and their actors do not keep resurrecting like the Indian actors.”

Caravan Daily had this to say about Zindagi Gulzar Hai: “Based on prolific writer Umera Ahmad’s novel of the same name, the romantic drama focuses on women and shows how equality of girl child and the need for women to have a career are important in their society too.”and here’s how it described Aunn Zara: “Another well-known director Haissam Hussain’s “Aunn-Zara”, based on Faiza Iftikhar’s novel “Hisaar-e-Muhabbat”, revolves around a couple — pampered Aunn and headstrong Zara.”

The Hindu reported: “By providing a platform for Pakistani serials in India, the Zee network has addressed a long-held grouse among people on the other side of the border — about how Bollywood had finished their film industry.” The report also said that Indian laws do not permit direct downlinking of Pakistani channels into Indian homes.

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