Zindagi – reactions across the border

Zindagi, an entertainment channel launched in India a while ago, has aired several Pakistani serials, all of which were popular with audiences on both sides of the border. It’s a very proud moment for us, we have a strong drama industry and this move is certainly going to improve relations between the two countries as they will be able to see the similarities in the lifestyles of the two populations and india will be able to see the real face of Pakistan, one that is positive. All in all, Zindagi’s effort has garnered positive reactions from both the rival countries and has helped in breaking stereotypes. All of this has been said over and over again.

While I’m very happy that our serials are receiving their much deserved glory, I can’t help but notice a vast difference in the reaction of Indian and Pakistani audience. The Indian audience welcomed the new content instead of protesting against it and weren’t hesitant in admitting that our drama industry is stronger than theirs. They openly appreciate that the serials aren’t endless and stick to a storyline till the end instead of wavering here and there.


As Zindagi Gulzar Hai’s ‘grand finale’ aired in India last night, viewers poured their reactions on Twitter and on Zindagi’s Facebook page biding a bitter-sweet farewell to a much loved serial. Zaroon and Kashaf had become part of their lives and imagining their evening without them is plain heartbreaking for most.

“British Pakistani Actor-Model, Sanam Saeed is one of the strongest actors the Pakistani TV and film industry has to offer. She has played many characters that have been critically acclaimed, including her role in Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Mera Naseeb. Her character of Kashaf Murtaza in the show Zindagi Gulzar Hai (ZGH) that aired on Zindagi channel became extremely popular and she says that people still call her ‘Kashaf’ sometimes…” Sanam Saeed’s intro on dnaindia.com.

Similar reactions were seen when Aunn Zara ended on 12th of July.

This is in stark contrast to the reactions we get from Pakistan’s audience every time a channel airs foreign content, especially Indian dramas. The latter takes seconds in resorting to abuse. The biggest argument is that showing ‘Hindu’ culture on our screens is actually corrupting our traditions and values. Anyone who dares to ask them to define what exactly they think is Pakistani culture, is labeled as an agent of the enemy.

However, they don’t seem to have any problem in rejoicing over ‘Muslim’ culture being aired on an Indian channel. Yes there are Muslims in India, a huge number of them, but there are more Hindus than Muslims and they have the wits to appreciate the difference in culture, whether it is digesting the fact that Kashaf’s father had two wives or that Aunn’s dadi reads Quran every day.

The reaction of the media on both sides is different as well. When Urdu 1 aired Turkish dramas, UPA held constant protests and condemned the channel on social media as well. Despite frequent reiteration that our industry is better than most, the fraternity felt insecure. On the other hand, since the time Pakistani serials have gained popularity on the other side of the border, top news papers and websites have done features and articles supporting the new channel along with publishing several interviews of Pakistani actors who were a part of serials that were aired.

Samina Peerzada’s interview on india.com

Reasons to watch ZGH

Indian celebs reaction to Pakistani serials on Zindagi: Bye-bye unending television dramas, welcome Zindagi

More to come on Zindagi

Connecting with artists across the border

and much more.

Admittedly, it’s a fantastic breakthrough for Pakistan’s television industry since it offers an all new audience that is eager to watch the serials that they find refreshing after their endless soaps. Hopefully our industry will grow and be appreciated internationally. And hopefully the Indian audience will like Maat, Noorpur Ki Rani, Behadd and all the amazing serials lined up for them on Zindagi. And even more hopefully, it will serve as a reality check for us and encourage us to be more accepting and tolerant towards change.


Email: farwa.rants@gmail.com

4 thoughts on “Zindagi – reactions across the border”

  1. This article simply reflects the naivete of the author. How many hindus or muslims, so to say r watching Pak dramas. There mite be many, but they are’nt in such huge no.s, fyi there r no trp ratings for the content. Just quoting few celebs tweeting about the content does’nt mean that whole of india is watching it. Actually Shiv Sena and others r not protesting simply cos this channel’s viewership is small and does’nt deserve attention. Instead of looking at it witha hindu-muslim mindset try to look at it as indian mindset. Do u know how Indians masked signals of Ptv back in 1991, when Pak serials had major viewership. What happenned to actor Mohsin Khan, Anita Ayub in 1993, Shakeel Siddiqui in 2008 and more i cant recollect, they simply had to run to save their lives, they were stopped from working, their visas were’nt renewed, they were made to suffer. Compare that to Pakistanis like u roll over and becum red carpets to anything indian. There is a granddaughter of Noor jehan, known as Sonya Jehan, who is married to a hindu and lives in delhi but has been getting mega contracts in Pakistan, olpers and telenor. this is Pak’s large heartedness please research first regarding collaborations b/w Indian and Pakistanis how Muhammad Ali and Zeba were forced to wear bindis and hindu dresses and sing hindustan zindabad in Manoj Kumar’s clerk or that veer-zara last scene where the Pakistani is always a girl planted with a sindoor on her forehead. Their actions have deep meaning and we lack common sense, thanx to ppl like u who make sweeping statements.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, I would have welcomed it if you had been a bit civil. Anyway, on to your ‘aitirazat’:
      I never implied that ‘whole of India’ is watching the channel and none of the tweets I quoted are those of celebs.
      But if a negligent amount of people were watching it and TRPs weren’t good enough, notable Indian newspapers and news websites would not have written extensive reports on the channel nor would they do the effort to interview the actors if their readers didn’t want to read them.
      Secondly, how long are you going to hold a grudge because of what happened in the past? It will do us much much better if we MOVE ON and work on our country’s development instead of fuming about what they did. To be fair, we were just as unfair to Bangladesh even though it was a part of our country.
      Furthermore, the fact that the actors in the past had to run to save their lives or whatever simply implies that they too were ready and interested in working for the Indian industry despite the tensions. So please, stop blaming Pakistanis for rolling over like red carpets for anyone. They are artists, they can choose what they want to do.
      Pakistan’s ‘large heartedness’ isn’t proven by the fact that Sonya Jehan gets huge contracts. She is a Pakistani no matter where she lives and belongs to a notable Pakistani family. Marrying an Indian national doesn’t change her identity.
      M. Ali and Zeba did what they had to do to play their part in the movies they CHOSE to work in. That’s their job. They knew what they signed up for when they agreed to do an Indian film. Kindly stop whining like an immature child.
      Thanks for reading. Again.

  2. I don’t believe you saying Pakistanis aren’t large hearted and welcoming to foreign content . It’s been decades indian movies and indian dramas have been a part of households here.
    Our news channels give bollywood news, indian dramas channels are being continously aired. Indian content is bought and is aired on our channels. Kapoors are Q mobile’s ambassadors. We nake a revival movie after so long and caste Naseer ud din shah in it. We make award shows and dance on indian numbers (though i feel pity on these actors dancing on indian numbers).Which pakistani doesn’t know about bollywood khans and kapoors. Pakistanis love them and imitate them.
    They were negligent about Pakistani talent and have been biased about airing Pakistani content since so long. Pakistani drama is too good to be ignored.
    Its nothing like they have done immense kindness to us. They should have done it long ago.
    Its ignorance on their part to recognize our strong drama industry so late.

    1. You are taking me in the wrong context. The person who commented before, said that offering a Pakistani, who also belongs to a notable family, huge projects is ‘large heartedness’. I object to this statement because I don’t think there is anything wrong in using Pakistani stars who live in another country, or more specifically, India, to promote Pakistani products.
      You are totally right in saying that Indian soaps and movies have been part of almost every Pakistani household since decades. But both the movies and Indian channels were banned officially. The movies were pirated and cable operators still run Indian soaps recorded on DVDs. And it was the same on the other side of the border. Indian citizens watched Pakistani serials and movies on the internet or pirated CDs and appreciated and enjoyed them just like we enjoyed their programs. And most of them have always acknowledged that our drama industry is better than their’s. I know they haven’t done any sort of ‘ehsan’ on us but they did what they could.
      Change has come on both sides of the border now. Their serials are telecast on our channels and their channels have started airing our shows. Same goes for the movies: we can see Bollywood movies in our cinemas and they can see Pakistani movies in their cinemas. It’s a good thing and I really think we should be happy about it.
      Peace 🙂

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