Mumbai: The success of Pakistani web series Churails has inspired the team to unite for a second season though there is nothing official yet, says Shailja Kejriwal, Chief Creative Officer Special Projects, Zee Entertainment. Written and directed by Asim Abbasi of “Cake" fame, “Churails" streamed on ZEE5 in August to critical acclaim.
The show narrates the story of four self-proclaimed ‘churails’ (witches), who unite to open a detective agency to expose cheating husbands but eventually unearth a bigger racket involving elite men in Karachi. “Honestly, this affirmative response does call out for a season two. While nothing has been finalised yet, I can tell you that it’s definitely something we may pursue further. “Progressive stories have been existent in our industry for quite sometime and we are happy to see ‘Churails’ stand tall amongst them," Kejriwal told PTI. The show earned praise, particularly for its portrayal of inter-sectional feminism through the characters of Sarwat Gilani, Yasra Rizvi, Mehar Bano and Nimra Bucha playing the four lead. The biggest takeaway for Kejriwal was how the show found acceptance from both, women and men. “The response we’ve received on ‘Churails’ has been overwhelming, and what makes it even more gratifying is that the support is coming from women and men alike - and in our view that’s the true success of this show." “Churails" is part of the re-launched Zindagi channel, which paved way for immense popularity of Pakistani stars like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan by curating their hit dramas “Zindagi Gulzar Hai" and “Humsafar" upon its launch in 2014.
After the Uri attacks in 2016, however, Zindagi dropped serials from the neighbouring country. While Zindagi has started its “phase two", the stigma around Pakistani artistes has only gotten deeper in the country, with a ban on them by film bodies and often political pressures on music labels to pull down songs by singers from across the border. But Kejriwal feels art has to be seen “outside of geographical boundaries" and the success of “Churails" is a testimony to that. “‘Churails’ is proof that good content has takers and it always brings people together but most importantly it encourages people to look beyond man-made boundaries." In its second outing, Zindagi plans to roll out several shows, including “Shehr-E-Zaat", “Aunn Zara", “Mastana Mahi" and “Main Abdul Qadir Hun". The first phase of Zindagi included specially-curated content but in its second phase, the focus is on developing original works, she said.
“We have got artistes to make content from Pakistan, in Pakistan. It’s not that we have got artistes over here in India to make the content. Of course, that’s the dream at some point for that to happen… But you have to keep pushing," she said. Zindagi already has Pakistani star Sabah Qamar, who made her Bollywood debut opposite Irrfan Khan in “Hindi Medium" (2017) on board for a show that is currently under production. Asked about the possibility of Fawad Khan, who enjoys a massive fan following in India, being seen on a show, Kejriwal said she is trying “desperately" to find a script for the actor.