Renowned Pakistani comic-duo Irfan Malik and Ali Hassan to act in Indian series on Doordarshan

NEW DELHI: Exulting over the revamping of the prime time programming of Doordarshan’s national channel which had resulted in rich harvest, DD director general Tripurari Sharan said a major reason for this had been the aggressive marketing that was being done.

He said that cross-channel promotion within the network and social media were the new trends apart from print and banner advertisements.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a press meet to announce the participation of two renowned Pakistani stand-up comedians Irfan Malik and Ali Hassan as actors in the series ‘Yeh Zindagi Hai Gulshan’ directed by well-known filmmaker Suhail Ilyasi and co-produced by him and Mushtaq Bala, an award-winning filmmaker. The series also stars veterans like Pankaj Dheer, Raza Murad, and Zarina Wahab.

However, he admitted that there were some inhibitions within Doordarshan about cross-channel promotion in private channels as some of them were rival channels. He also added that cost benefit analysis was also necessary to decide the most relevant channel for advertising DD programmes.

He said that a major change had also been made by introducing programmes that appealed to all age groups including the young, with programmes like ‘Yeh hai India meri Jaan’ and ‘Yeh Zindagi hai gulshan’ which had social messages as well. He said even a programme like ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’ starring Rajit Kapur which had been made about two decades earlier had shown high ratings during prime time.

Doordarshan had also experimented with simulcast with other private channels with programmes like ‘Satyamev Jayate’, ‘Coke Studio’, and the on-going ‘Saraswati Chandra’.

Ilyasi described the participation of the two comedians in the series as a new beginning in Indo-Pak relations, and said this was the first time the two were coming as actors in any series. Until now, they have only been taking part in reality shows.

Hassan said that the Indian series ‘Yeh Zindagi hai Gulshan’ was very popular in Pakistan, and also said that Doordarshan was seen by a large number of people in his country.

He revealed that he and Malik had been working independently as stand-up comedians in Pakistan, and it was only when they were invited to India in ‘Laughter Challenge’ that they teamed up as a duo. He said that they owed this new avatar to India as it had proved very successful.

He said artistes spread friendship. Asked about their role in the series, he said he enacts the role of the hero’s father while Malik playes the role of his wife’s sister.

Malik said in answer to a question that it was wrong to say that Indian artistes were not allowed to take part in Pakistan television channels. He said that singers like Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi had taken part in reality shows on channels like ‘Hum’ and ‘Ary’. However, people in India did not know this as India does not allow Pakistani channels to be beamed here.

The series, aired on Doordarshan every Saturday and Sunday at 8.30 pm, is a love story of a progressive Muslim girl. The serial is a first of its kind Muslim social television serial.

The concept of the serial ‘Yeh Zindagi Hai Gulshan’ is based on ‘Shariah’ which has given equal rights to women to pursue their development. The serial has a powerful story to promote education among girls and self awareness of their rights.

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