“Assalam Aliakum Yusra”, came a jovial and happy voice over the telephone from Pakistan, as I sat all ready with my pen and papers to converse with Pakistani actor and director Samina Peerzada. Asking me where I was from and getting Lucknow as the answer to it, I could almost see her face brighten up as she told me that elders in her family lived in Lucknow and that she herself had visited the city long back in 1979. The connect doesn’t culminate here though, her raging popularity in India as Kashaf Murtaza’s solemn and optimistic mother Rafia, in one of Pakistan’s best selling drama Zindagi Gulzar Hai, being broadcasted on Zindagi a creative initiative to build nations by Zee, has got Indian love and adoration flowing towards her.
As I started talking to her about Pakistan and its art, the creative talent there and the love of Indians for their soaps and dramas, her voice all calm and compose with the demeanour of a charming lady, came across as someone close by, ignoring the borders and the deep map lines. Her answers were with as much love for India and the emerging talent here as the one is now being bestowed upon Pakistani actors and directors from within the Indian masses.
The clock strikes 8, and Indians are glued to their television sets, not for some other saas-bahu drama happening on one of the lavish sets of Balaji, but for a more real to life, sombre, sans make up look of a Pakistan not many Indians know of.
The channel Zindagi with its tagline ‘jodey dilon ko’ has secured as many as a hundred Pakistani dramas to be showcased to the Indian audiences in an effort to build healthy relations between the two countries. As art and creativity know no boundary, the free flow of Pakistani culture amalgamating well with the close to life situations of families here, is gathering accolades from not just its viewers but also from netizens who are pouring their heart out to the change Zindagi has brought in their television life.
Samina’s voice ranges from being happy to content and satisfied when I tell her how her drama is giving a new dimension to people’s routine here. She responds happily, “We have been a regular witness to your talent, to your faces and charms here since ’73, it’s about the right time you over there would start attaching names to our on screen faces too. This was long overdue and I am glad that people will come close with such a creative influx, and the desire of Pakistanis to show their work in India has come to be true.”
Indian actors in Pakistan have always been a hit. Dilip Kumar to Amitabh Bachhan, Shahrukh Khan to Ranbir kapoor, all have had their share of billboards and hoardings throughout Pakistan. Passing by a hoarding in India about the new Pakistani serial to be launched at your doorstep, was a scene too offbeat here. However, the acceptance has been tremendous and the love has been immense, now that Kashaf is as much of a household name as maybe Tulsi and Aunn and Zara are as much of the new age couple in the Indian scenario as are they in Pakistan.
“The way we talk, the way we present ourselves, our day to day situations and the way we handle them, are all alike. People here and there are very much alike, and so are our stories. We have always seen Indian movies be it in theatres, or on networks or through tapes and DVDs and have known Indian stars and the art that is produced here. It was a much asked for desire of the Pakistani audience to take forth work that is produced there to families residing here, and it is through this that people will come close and together for it is when hearts become soft that politics will also become soft,” Samina tells me with an air of confidence and determination that wants to get all creativity together that is in appreciation of one another.
The audience loves Samina and has accepted her as the caring and supportive mother of Kashaf, the leading lady in Zindagi Gulzar hai, but with a new show soon to be aired, the audience will see a complete role reversal of their much adored character.
Zindagi is about to launch its new show Noor pur ki Rani on the 13th Of July that will replace the ongoing Rom Com Aunn Zara. The serials with their
short and fast paced story lines have an edge over the regular tv shows in India and viewers are adapting themselves to the fast pace at which these shows run. Samina Peerzada in her new show and her new avatar in Noor pur ki Rani will not only bedazzle her audience but with her exemplary acting skills, will make a new place in their hearts.
Noor pur ki Rani, will be a story of power struggles where three women and a man will be seen fighting the ultimate battle of power. It is story of paradoxes which is based on the English novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Samina Peerzada is all set to twist and turn the lives of the three others as she plays the role of a house keeper cum confidant of the male lead (veteran actor Noman Ijaz) who goes by the directions of Samina’s character.
The film tone of the camera, the simple homes and costumes, and the excellent acting of all the characters, has brought a new Zindagi to those viewers for whom experimentation is a welcome change.
Terming the shows to being as close to real life as possible, with real problems of relations and complexities of life, Samina rightly puts it across, “Our issues are the same, when people in both nations want to improve upon literacy, when they want freedom to express themselves, when they want a decent home, food and shelter, and a fully functional democracy, when we share the same concerns, why can’t we and why don’t we share our work with each other?” .
She bids adieu on that note and we part ways on happy terms with a promise to continue sharing art, culture and creativity from here to there and from there to here.