5 Things Indian Saas-Bahu Shows Can Learn From Pakistan’s ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’

Posted on September 8, 2014 in Culture-Vulture, Media

By Shraddha Chickerur:

Amongst a host of things that bind us in the sub-continent, one is definitely our love for drama. Like many fellow Indians, I’ve been obsessively watching ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’, a Pakistani television series. Here are a few pointers that the Indian television industry definitely needs to pick up from the roaring success of this drama.

1. It is possible to tell a story in 26 episodes.

The television drama, adapted from a novel, is directed by Sultana Siddiqui, who has the distinction of being the first, and probably the only Asian woman, who has started a television channel. ZGH has managed to raise issues of gender discrimination, class differences, ideas around independence, marital relationships and what not. Most importantly, it is an elegantly depicted hate to love story.

2. There can be more than five women in a show, where none of them actively plot or scheme against each other.

The cast is an ensemble of talented actors from the Pakistani television industry, who have etched some very believable characters. Sanam Saeed is perfect as Kashaf Murtaza, the self made eldest daughter of a school principal, who struggles to make ends meet, and a father who has remarried for the want of a son. Sidra (Mansha Pasha), as the practical optimistic sister does justice to her role. The second wife of Kashaf’s father is the only character that comes close to being stereotypical, and adds a vamp like element to the story. And the handsome Fawad Khan as Zaroon is more than pleasing to the eye.

3. A pessimistic lead actor, who is without make-up when at home, can actually work.

Sanam portrays the rather pessimistic but upright Kashaf beautifully. She is a struggler, always unhappy with life. She says a lot with her expressions. Hers as well as all other characters are very realistically portrayed, with perfect costumes.

4. A content-driven television show can have a fan following.

Fawad Khan, protagonist of “Zindagi Gulzar Hai”, giving his autograph to fans

The drama plays upon the contrasts between Kashaf and Zaroon’s life and relationships. ZGH is about a delicate balance. On one hand, it questions the value placed in having a son, which makes Kashaf’s father abandon his wife and three daughters. On the other, there are the independent women and clashes in what seems like a perfect world that Zaroon inhabits. While Kashaf has struggled with everything in her life, Zaroon seems to have it all.

5. Good camera work and dialogues need not be restricted to films alone.

zindagi gulzaar hai

Apart from the fact that Urdu is a pleasure to listen to, the dialogues are well written; the camera work adds to the quality of the show with no panning on each face in the room at every dramatic moment. The title track also sticks to your head.

One might not be satisfied with how the ends are tied as the drama concludes. That however, does not stop you from getting involved in the ruminations of Kashaf and Zaroon, as they routinely jot down their thoughts about life.


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