Pakistani actor Imran Abbas on what viewers can expect from Zindagi, the new channel devoted to content from next door

A little piece of history was notched up this Monday when Zindagi, a channel from the Zee Television network, was launched. The channel specialises in showing Pakistani dramas based on award winning Pakistani novels, directed and enacted by Pakistani artistes. It is significant that such a channel has taken off in a country where many oppose the entry of Pakistani artists. It may or may not bring about a better understanding of their way of life, but it will surely give a window to the ground reality.

Present at a little media do was Pakistani actor Imran Abbas. Speaking to the media, he said that life on both sides is similar but there is a difference in the words people use to express themselves. For instance, in Delhi we use the word ‘Chinta’ to express anxiety but in Lahore or Karachi the word ‘Fikr’ is used.

Expressing surprise at Indian serials which go on for many years and whose scripts are changed to suit the demands of the viewers, he said Pakistani shows have a limited span and work according to a bound script. “Our serials are not too long, we have only 20-25 episodes. So the director has a complete picture of the story in his mind and he can concentrate on it…otherwise everything is similar - the story , the actors, the language used is also similar. The only difference is the presentation.”

Imran also pointed out that Indian reality shows based on music and dance are pretty popular in Pakistan.“We used to watch Indian shows on a regular basis. I remember when in my childhood days Indian shows were banned in Pakistan, we used to put in some special antenna to catch the signals and also used to change the direction of the antenna very often.”

Incidentally, his show Mera Naseeb Hai will be seen on Zindagi channel. It is a 21-part series where he plays the character of Monis. Imran will also be seen in an upcoming Bollywood film titled Creature 3D with Bipasha Basu, releasing a few months later.

Although divided by geographical boundaries, people from both sides have worked and been accepted in each other’s country. “People like Naseeruddin Shah and Kirron Kher have worked in Pakistani films. There is a connect between us. With our new shows you will get to taste the sweetness of Urdu language and will also get to know the life in our country…I hope the Indian audience is going to love and appreciate our work,” Imran says.

Pakistan’s first woman broadcaster Sultana Siddiqui is directing a show on Zindagi, titled Zindagi Gulzar Hai. This is going to be her comeback show after a gap of nearly 13 years.