Will revamp Zindagi’s content without Pak serials: Dr Subhash Chandra

In the backdrop of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan following the terrorist attack in Uri, which claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers, the fallout is now being seen in the entertainment industry as well. All Pakistani artists have been given an ultimatum to leave India within 48 hours by MNS leader Amey Khopkar. He has also asked Indian film and TV producers and directors not to cast Pakistani actors.

Following the ultimatum, there is a shadow of uncertainty over the forthcoming films – ‘Ae Dil Hain Mushkil’ and ‘Raees’ – which star Pakistani actors.

Meanwhile, in the television space, speculations are rife about the fate of Pakistani serials on Zindagi, the channel from Zee’s stable. There have been various reports in the media ranging from Pakistani serials being pulled out from the channel to even shutting down Zindagi till the tensions abate.

Just a day after Khopkar’s statement and putting all speculations to rest, Dr Subhash Chandra, Chairman of Essel Group and Zee, tweeted: “Will not shut down Zindgi channel but revamp programming without Serials from Pakistan, we will have Indian subjects on Muslim community.”

He also expressed his disappointment over Pakistani President Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, calling it an “unfortunate stance of Mia Sharif at UN”.

Implications for Zindagi

How these developments will impact Zindagi will unfold over the next few weeks. As reported earlier this month, the channel recently underwent a revamp and is set to unveil a new primetime line-up from October 3, 2016, along with the fresh positioning of ‘Yeh Lamha Hi Hai Zindagi’ (earlier, ‘Jodey Dilon Ko’).

The forthcoming shows include a light-hearted Turkish drama, ‘Little Lord’; three original Indian shows – Sunjoy Wadhwa’s Sphere Origins’ ‘TV Ke Uss Par’, ‘Khwaabon Ki Zamin Par’ by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, and ‘Agar Tum Saath Ho’ by Gulshan Sachdeva’s Film & Shots.

Zindagi currently offers syndicated content from countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt. Pakistani shows ‘Aunn Zara’, ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’, ‘Humsafar’, ‘Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam’, and ‘Noor Bano’ have received tremendous response from Indian audiences. In fact, the channel rose to prominence due to its flagship shows like ‘Humsafar’ and ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’.

Launched in 2014, a large chunk of Zindagi’s programming includes Pakistani serials. The idea of co-curating shows with Pakistan was to ease the tensions and bring in harmony between the two countries. As Dr Chandra tweeted, “By launching Zindagi, I fulfilled my promise to Nawaz Sharif of ‘Jodey Dilon Ko’. But love cannot be one-sided.”


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