Remember those days of VCRs and video libraries, when we used to devour episodes of Dhoop Kinare featuring the brooding Dr Ahmer Ansari and the effervescent Dr Zoya Khan? Remember watching Bakra Qiston Pe – rather bad prints but we used to watch it anyway? No? Oh your young lot; you don’t know anything!
There was a time when we used to devour Pakistani serials such as these, Ankahi, Tanhaiyan and many more. But worry not; we in India are to once again have a taste of those Pakistani serials this side of the border, here on our own TV sets again. Zindagi channel set to launch on 23 June 2014 by Zee TV, will showcase some of the best Pak serials. We Indians have enjoyed Pak serials for so many reasons; and will again:
The Ornate Urdu
The beautiful, fluid sounding, Urdu syllables have always appealed to us – even if some of the words of chaste Urdu may have made us go Huh! What’s that again? Nafees? Who’s that? Erm… it simply means lovely or exquisite. Clearly you’ve not been keeping up with the Ghulam Ali ghazals and Abida Parveen’s vocal renditions.
The Handsome Hunks and the Beautiful Belles
The guys in those serials used to be rather drool worthy if memory serves – there was Zain in Tanhaiyan, Dr Ansari in Dhoop Kinare, and some more. I remember some male cousins having serious crushes on Zoya (Marina Khan), Zara (Shehnaz Sheikh) as well.
Bakra Qiston Pe taught me how to swear stylishly – I seem to recall that I had taken to name-calling with some serious tehzeeb: झाड़ू से बिछड़े हुए तिनके (a piece separated from the broom) खैराती खीर के पिस्ते (pistachio from rice pudding for the needy) were my favourites – the comedy was often silly and slapstick but ultimately uproariously funny. This is the comedy we Indians enjoy anyway; subtle and arcane humour never really appealed.
Their Content Vs Our Grandeur
By all accounts, Pak serials tend to be shorter and less meandering than our saas-bahu sagas. While our serials may be high on glamour and style, theirs tend to be about content. This is a still from Aunn Zara one of the top serials in Pakistan last year; the show will be aired on Zindagi Channel.
They Tell the Stories We Can Relate To
As a people, Pakistanis have many of the same problems that we Indians have, our ethos and way of life are similar at many levels. It follows that Pak serials tell many of the same stories that we laugh and cry with; stories that strike a chord, stories that you and I can relate to.
Punjabis and Punjabiyat has always fascinated us; whichever side of the border it originated from.
In those days, we had heard the rumor that Pak serials had to follow very strict censor guidelines. No touching between men and women; even the depiction of an unrelated couple in the same frame was frowned upon, we heard it said. The previews of Pak serials that we’ve been watching on the Zindagi channel proclaim that they have certainly progressed beyond this now; but there does appear to be that restraint; the understatement in their serials which will probably appeal to us.
We you see a video of Karachi; you’d think you’re looking any untidy Indian city. They look like us, they eat like us, they dress like us, and they sound like us. At heart we do always feel that tug of familiarity; the recognition of a familiar lifestyle and ethos of the Pakistani people. At heart we always secretly wondered what a brilliant cricket team it would be – with both Indian as well as Pakistani players in it!
By – Reena Daruwalla