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Pakistani Drama Serials to Make a Comeback in India as Zee Zindagi Goes Digital

Actor Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan in a poster from their drama Humsafar.

Actor Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan in a poster from their drama Humsafar.

Though there is no official ban, Pakistani artistes have been barred from working in Indian films and music in the aftermath of the terror attack on an army base in Uri in 2016.

Year 2013 saw a boom of Pakistani dramas among Indian households with the start of channel Zee Zindagi. The channe popularised Pakistani actors and even fashion in India. Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan became the heartthrobs in no time with shows like Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Humsafar. It also aired Turkish shows like Feriha and Fatmagul and even Korean soaps.

However, the channel went off air since July 2017 much to the disappointment of Indian TV enthusiasts who were introduced to foreign cultures and drama trends. But it looks like the world of OTT has some good news. Zindagi is going digital with Zee's OTT platform Zee5.

“We did the global launch of the Zindagi brand on the app on July 23 and the India launch on July 27. There are about 30 shows of Zindagi now on Zee5. That’s almost 1,000 hours of content. More will be added to the library month by month,” Shailja Kejriwal, chief creative officer — special projects, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, was quoted as saying by The Telegraph. Zee5 makes the shows available in 173 countries.

She said that people loved the curated list of shows aired on Zindagi. Th digital version of the channel too will gradually ave shows from South Korea and Turkey.

The first Zindagi original serial created for Zee5, titled Churails, started streaming on August 11. The show stars Yasra Rizvi, Mehar Bano, Sarwat Gilani and Nimra Bucha and talks about women empowerment and assertion of women’s voices.

Actor Mehar Bano, in an interview, had said that it is heartbreaking that there's a break in the cultural exchange between India and Pakistan but felt fortunate to live at a time when the internet has blurred boundaries.

The 26-year-old actor said it is saddening that despite similarities, India-Pakistan can't continue cultural exchange. "We have the same language, same culture and are right next to each other. I don''t want to be stuck in the middle of a dispute in my young and impressionable years. But I have no choice, there''s no exchange of art that can happen," Mehar told PTI over phone from Lahore.

Though there is no official ban, Pakistani artistes have been barred from working in Indian films and music in the aftermath of the terror attack on an army base in Uri in 2016, which prompted India to launch a surgical strike on terror launch pads in Pakistan. Earlier, actors like Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Marwa Hocane acted in Bollywood films. Singer Atif Aslam has been a favourite and has given life to many songs.

Mann Jogi, Dhoop ki Deewar, Abdullahpur ka Devdas and Aik Jhooti Love Story are four other Pakistani dramas in the pipeline to be shown on Zee5.

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