Mohabbat Ek Ittifaq: Make way for the first Urdu-dubbed Turkish feature film

Published: November 22, 2013

Mohabbat Ek Ittifaq is the story of a love held in the hands of fate. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

KARACHI: 

Regardless of how agitated people might be by the arrival of new channels playing Turkish soaps on Pakistani television, or the running of Indian films in Pakistani theatres, the fact remains that these foreign entertainment imports are keeping Pakistani cinema and television alive.

It appears that this trend will not be slowing down anytime soon as Pakistani cinema braces itself for the arrival of its first ever Urdu-dubbed Turkish feature film, expected to hit the big screen in January 2014.

The film, which will be playing in theatres under the title Mohabbat Ek Ittifaq, is the Turkish blockbuster Ask Tesadulfleri Sever, which grossed over $50 million when it was released in Turkey in 2011. The film is being imported to Pakistan by Kayzee Enterprises, and has also been dubbed locally. The importers also own the rights to releasing the same version in Bangladesh and India.

“People are putting so much money in to making cinemas in Pakistan [such as Nueplex], but there isn’t enough content [on screen],” Kaukab Zuberi, an investment banker turned film importer, told The Express Tribune.

“Hollywood films are watched by 1% of the population, Pakistani films are not made frequently and Bollywood films can always be affected by political situations and other social factors. So it is very important to cash in on an alternate product, “he says.

Ask Tesadulfleri Sever, with the English title Love Likes Coincidences, is a 2011 romantic saga directed by Ömer Faruk Sorak, and features Turkish stars Mehmet Günsür and Belçim Bilgin Erdo and Günsüris, who is a familiar face for Pakistani audiences, as he has also played the role of Shahazad Mustafa in a Turkish drama currently running on Pakistani TV channels, Mera Sultan. The story of the film revolves around a series of coincidences that will decide the fate of two lovers, Ozgur and Deniz. The film intercuts between their childhood in Ankara and their present-day life.

“It is our similarities with the Turkish culture and the ownership of a common religion that made the dramas work — and will make the film work,” says Zuberi. “It is important to mention the time Turkish writers spend on writing one film. That quality of screenwriting can’t be expected of India, let alone Pakistan, and will contribute to the success of the film,” he says.

Well-known Pakistani film-maker Syed Noor appears to share Zuberi’s outlook on the matter. Noor feels that Bollywood films don’t possess the values Pakistani people live by. “I was never against foreign films coming to Pakistan, I was just against Indian films that were being imported illegally or were culturally inaccurate for a Pakistani audience,” he says. “It is great to see a Turkish film being imported to Pakistan because, above all, it’s another Islamic country and we have so much in common with them [Turkish people] as well.”

Bollywood may be a factor assisting the local success of Turkish films in more ways than one. The decline in the quality of Bollywood films, which Zuberi believes have become second-rate over time, can only make the audiences more accepting of Turkish films. “I think there is a huge potential for dubbed Turkish films in Pakistan. If a film like Chennai Express can work, so can a great film like Mohabbat Ek Ittifaq,” Zuberi says optimistically. “Pakistani people have had enough of the typical, formulaic films from Bollywood and definitely deserve something more meaningful.”

Apart from film imports, Kayzee Enterprises also plans to open doors for Pakistani films in Turkey, so as to take advantage of the 2,000 screens present in the latter. The company also has two films in the pipeline, Glamour and Dhundd, which will begin the production process as soon as their directors are finalised.

While Zuberi may be confident, for now, his claims rely more on ambition and hope than empirical research and the combination may prove to be a recipe for a box office disaster. After all, he is trying to invoke innovation in an industry that relies heavily on established trends. The curiosity that the first Urdu-dubbed Turkish film piques will have people heading to theatres, but the first time Turkish entertainment was imported to Pakistan organisations like the UPA (United Producers Association) responded with outcry. In response to these concerns, Zuberi says, “Exhibitors plan to make 200 screens by 2015. Like-minded people should think of methods of eventually filling up those 200 screens [and not hinder efforts to do so].” he says.

The exact release date of Mohabbat Ek Ittifaq will be announced in the coming week. first Urdu-dubbed Turkish film piques will have people heading to theatres, but the first time Turkish entertainment was imported to Pakistan organisations like the UPA (United Producers Association) responded with outcry. In response to these concerns, Zuberi says, “Exhibitors plan to make 200 screens by 2015. Like-minded people should think of methods of eventually filling up those 200 screens [and not hinder efforts to do so].” he says.

The exact release date of Mohabbat Ek Ittifaq will be announced in the coming week.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • oton
    Nov 22, 2013 - 7:22PM

    turkish entertainment is far better than indian mindless crass!

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  • Brigitte Bardot
    Nov 22, 2013 - 7:35PM

    “It is our similarities with the Turkish culture and the ownership of a common religion that made the dramas work — and will make the film work,” says Zuberi.

    So now Pakistan is the “owner” of Islam? By the way, the scantily clad actress showing her naked shoulder in the picture is Islamically okay for the hypocrite who is criticizing Bollywood for being “culturally inaccurate for Pakistan” in this article?

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  • Ariba
    Nov 22, 2013 - 8:35PM

    Which promotes nothing but obscenity, vulgarity & nudity. Even American media has laws against it.

    “It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time. It is also a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours. Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the responsibility for administratively enforcing these laws. The FCC may revoke a station license, impose a monetary forfeiture or issue a warning if a station airs obscene, indecent or profane material.”

    http://www.fcc.gov/guides/obscenity-indecency-and-profanity

    If only PEMRA had the gutts to do this.

    obscene (əbˈsiːn)

    — adj
    1. offensive or outrageous to accepted standards of decency or modesty
    2. law (of publications) having a tendency to deprave or corrupt
    3. disgusting; repellent: an obscene massacre

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  • shahana
    Nov 22, 2013 - 8:59PM

    Advertising Indian movies,Indian artists and west including Turkish drama or movie tells us a lot about your news paper and media group,Indian media never ever will show this love for us ,yes it is inaccurate to show half naked by any ,regardless if its Indian or Turkish,how come Turkish nudity or rubbish dramas are better ?

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  • Stranger
    Nov 22, 2013 - 9:19PM

    @Brigitte Bardot:
    Go GIRL ……

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  • MK
    Nov 22, 2013 - 9:38PM

    @Brigitte Bardot:

    ” ownership of a COMMON religion ” means VERY different than ” Pakistan is the “owner” of Islam”.

    You also criticised their opinion on Bollywood for being culturally inaccurate for Pakistan. As a matter of fact Bollywood films are culturally inaccurate even for India. Typical masala films do not represent cultural norms of India (or Pakistan). So for that matter both Indian and Turkish films do not represent Pakistani culture in its entirety, however both Indian and Turkish culture share different levels of similarities with Pakistani culture.

    Considering Turkish films are far better in production quality and content and represent their own Turkish culture more accurately They are more real and fun to watch.

    We can leave the rest for the audience to decide. We will soon have English/American, Indian, Turkish and Pakistani movies running in theatres side by side. On the positive note this will force Pakistani film makers to up their game to make better movies to survive (something we have already started to see).

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  • Ahmed
    Nov 22, 2013 - 9:59PM

    Will the turkish people watch pakistani drama for a reciprocation ? The answer is big NO.They are even hard to find us on world map.

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  • HelloSyedNoor
    Nov 22, 2013 - 10:36PM

    “I was never against foreign films coming to Pakistan, I was just against Indian films that were being imported illegally or were culturally inaccurate for a Pakistani audience,” he says. “It is great to see a Turkish film being imported to Pakistan because, above all, it’s another Islamic country and we have so much in common with them [Turkish people] as well.”

    Are you kidding me Syed Noor Sahib? What is common between Turkish people and Pakistan except for the religion that they follow very moderately/liberally? Turkish language has little commonality with spoken Urdu. Their food, dress, physical appearance, lifestyle, is all way to different to Pakistan.

    The bay-haiyai spread by Turkish dramas like Ishq-e-Mamnoon and Fareeha is not Pakistani culture! I’m half guessing the feature film will be yet another story of disgusting and baysharam beyghairat coincidences that have made desperate Pakistani audiences turn to the Turkish dramas.

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  • Yacoub
    Nov 22, 2013 - 10:59PM

    I predict a nexus of Pakistani and Turkish film-making, which will finally nurture the deep reservoir of Islamic talent in this county. Goodbye Bollywood, Hello other more-or-less Islamic country! To return the favor, we should help Turkey gradually implement Taliban-style Sharia, just like we’re doing over here. Maulana Radio can be the next ambassador to Turkey – this will be a good foreign policy move.

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  • AINY
    Nov 23, 2013 - 12:38AM

    after watching most of turkish plays a little now i came to on conclusion that all soaps of turks are totally rubbish all stories are about pre martial relationship,illegimate child whether directly or in directly extreme nudity and with a sandwich story of 2 men 1 women and all etc but in production,quality,background scores and natural shooting locations as far film is concerend its seems to be like masala film as per name said ishq ek itafaq but the indian crap movies must be stop only some reputed movies release in pakistan but now the pakistani cinema is grooming our 1 choice of and of course cinema authority must be a PAKISTANI FILM

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  • tung
    Nov 23, 2013 - 12:45AM

    bollywood is so craap..i want it obliterated

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  • Akbar Khan
    Nov 23, 2013 - 1:34AM

    This is exactly need of the hour……….Pakistanis need to shun support movies from muslim countries as well as work on developing their own.Recommend

  • x
    Nov 23, 2013 - 2:25AM

    @Yacoub:
    Haha!
    Regarding article, syed noor’s comments are mega LOL. Turkey has an 98% Muslim population and that’s ALL it has in common with Pakistan. It is a secular country unlike ours. It has a rich Islamic history which is kind of similar to ours but whereas we have ruined our legacy, they have preserved theirs. In addition, Turkey is modern, progressive and believes in freedom of choice unlike our society. It has a thriving economy, good educational and health facilities, etc.
    However, as a fan of Turkish movies and dramas, I think it’s good entertainment and a good move. Also, maybe seeing this ‘beyhayai’ in a fellow Muslim country might engender social acceptance of western attire, personal choices and freedom in our conservative socities which propagates cliches in our Urdu dramas and sees unrealistic, conservative cliches in inane Indian dramas.

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  • Kashif Naqvi
    Nov 23, 2013 - 10:00AM

    Turkish movies to come to Pakistan is all fine, but please do not link this up with religion. Turkey and Pakistan have nothing in common except the state religion! Neither Pakistani nor Turkish movies are shariah compliant!

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  • Np
    Nov 23, 2013 - 12:11PM

    @tung:
    Obliterated? But why? If you find it crap don’t watch. Isn’t it that simple?

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  • lol
    Nov 23, 2013 - 1:07PM

    @tung: tell that to ur fellow pakis who cannot live without bollywood … u bollywood haters( which i assume u r not …. u r just a hypocrite) onl represent 0.5% of pak population or maybe less than that….. u r amusing…

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  • Ahmed
    Nov 23, 2013 - 2:28PM

    @MK:
    Question: What do you know about Turkish culture? Please tell me how Turkish culture shares similarities with Pakistani culture? Is it the language? food? looks? Religion? Dress? skin color even? history? literature? I mean excuse me, I only see scantily clad women here! We all know all about the other Turkish dramas! Just to remind you, Turkey had a long-term ban on women wearing scarf in public offices which has only just been lifted!

    So please do tell me about the similarities because I fail to see anything in common except they follow the same religion (I would again, remind you of the scarf ban!) which is also followed by the Malaysians, Indonesians. I don’t see anyone relating Indonesian culture with Pakistan’s or for that matter Moroccan culture!

    How come religion become culture? The two are not same!

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  • Khalq e Khuda
    Nov 23, 2013 - 2:36PM

    Last time I was visiting Pakistan my aunt was watching one of the Turkish soaps where everyone would drink a mashroob before meals. She inquired if this is some variant of Rooh Afza that they drink in Turkey and told me I was mistaken and Tirkish people are Muslims when I indicated it was Red wine.

    Moral of the story: We share more culture with India than we do with Arabs, Turks and Persia but Pakistanis are in denial of truth about more serious matters than movies so we can let thus one go.

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  • Ahmed
    Nov 23, 2013 - 2:36PM

    I am culturally ignorant. Please tell me what similarities Turkish culture shares with Pakistan’s as one commentator pointed out!

    I do know Turkey had a ban on women wearing scarf in public offices (there goes the religion similarity)! I have seen people complain about the amount of skin being shown in these Turkish dramas. I do know we don’t even look remotely alike, we don’t share a similar language (except for a few words- at best). Our history is not same. Our forefathers definitely didn’t come from Turkey! We are not geographically very close. Our food is definitely not same. Our movies, music, our art is not same, we don’t dress the same. So please help educate me, tell me more about our culture.

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  • Ali
    Nov 23, 2013 - 5:14PM

    @HelloSyedNoor:
    Why do you have to belittle them and think we’re all morally good Pakistanis? Are you forgetting our mujra culture? At least they do things with class. We’re in denial as usual. Thinking we’re the world’s best Muslims…FYI, pakistani culture is also the furtherest thing away from Islam, just like Arab culture. We still don’t even know what Islam is. As usual mixing culture with everything. Does Islam even allow dramas & films? So dumb fighting over this & that. Sad thing is your were Indian only 60 plus years ago and meant nothing to the majority of the world? The Turkish will always be better than Pakistanis. And before u criticise them for how they practise Islam, ever even turkey as seen that women wear headscarves and they are also religious? The “liberals” and the “conservatives” live side by side. As I’m pretty much conservative too, I was shocked and I love the country.

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  • Hassan
    Nov 23, 2013 - 6:38PM

    I have been living in Turkey for the last 20 years. Apart from religion there are lot of commonalities between our language, culture, food, respect to elders to name a few. Before making sweeping comments please educate yourself. If fact majority of the Turks voted for a party 3 times which is close to religion. This is the only country where there is respect for Pakustanis and the common Turks calls Pakistan as brother country and Pakistanis as brothers.

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  • Moon
    Nov 23, 2013 - 9:50PM

    @Hassan:
    Exactly only country in the world with respect for Pakistanis and we also criticise them. Well thank u guys. No one likes us! When will the majority of you thick-headed Pakistanis get that in to your head! Who has to walk around with the label of a terrorist, honour killing, barbaric and inhumane, intolerance and dumb, rapist, woman hater and acid attacker?! ME, wherever I go! I also hope the Turks don’t like us anymore and alienate us too. We deserve to have no friends and die in shame of being a FAILED state!! Is there really anything to be proud of in this country? No!!!! I so wish I wasn’t Pakistani – ET post this. I have a full right to my opinion!

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  • Teb
    Nov 24, 2013 - 1:38AM

    My mother is turkish and my father is pakistani so I think I would be a good person to tell any similarities and differences between Turkey and Pakistan.

    Different race! Turks are caucasian/white pakistanis are asian/brown.
    Different life style! Turks live a more liberals and modern life style however pakistanis live a more culturally bound life style.
    Different food! Turkish food is mediterranean and middle eastern food however pakistani food is the same like india food.
    Different clothing! Turk have western style clothing however pakistanis wear similar clothes to Indians (salwar kameez).
    Different music! Turks have mediterranean music however pakistani music is almost same like indian music.
    Different geographical location! Turkey is located between Europe and the Middle East however pakistan is located in South Asia, bordering India!

    So, there isnt much similarity between the Turks and Pakistanis but the main part which is RELIGION is similar so despite all the differences turks and pakistanis are brother states and will always be!

    The present turkish state has plans on many muslim countries including pakistani. The plan is to bring modern islam to them. The first step is by introducing the turkish culture to them, hence all the turkish soaps and movies being dubbed and played in pakistani channels. Inshallah Turkey will succeed and all our muslim countries will have s’more liberal and moderate states!!

    Hope to see pakistan as a moderate and democratic muslim state like turkey!

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  • Ahmed
    Nov 24, 2013 - 2:05AM

    @Moon:
    @Hassan:
    Before writing emotional comments about how much our Turkish brothers adore us, would you please mention some facts? Just mere keywords like “language, culture, food, respect to elders” just does not serve the purpose. Can you please explain how the language/culture/food is similar? About respect to elders, sorry to burst your bubble but others cultures have respect for elders, too, that alone does not make you culturally similar or dissimilar. Please give some facts not just emotional talk. Thank you.

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  • Moon
    Nov 24, 2013 - 7:07PM

    @Ahmed:
    Mate I was not talking about our patriarchial, disgusting culture being the same with theirs, in fact they are completely different to us, and GOOD for them!! Read my comment before you include me in your “rational” questions LOL. I wouldn’t want anythingto do with or have anything similar with a failed country like Pakistan anyway. My comment was directed to all the negative comments about turkey when in the whole world only Turkish people have some respect left for Pakistan (but I’ll just show all my Turkish friends how much their brothers in Pakistan “love” them.Face it, majority of us would run to Turkey if we had the chance. How are u going around calling them obscene, vulgar and criticising their culture? Ever even stepped foot in the country? There are religious people in Turkey, Women do wear scarves, religion does play a large role but difference is its not dictated on anyone, Mosques do the prayer loud, don’t label the country as obscene and think Pakistan is filled with perfect people just because in their movies if they do some scene that is vulgar, which I myself am no fan of, all of a sudden your painting everyone with that brush. On that note, I’m half Pakistani through my father and thank Allah I have nothing to do with this failed and rubbish country other than a connection through my father! And my emotional comment is directed at u blind fools who don’t even admit that Pakistan is a failed country…..please get that in your head, my friend. Thank you. ET post this! This Ahmed guy needs to mature up seriously

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  • Loki
    Nov 25, 2013 - 7:21PM

    How come only 1% of the population watchs Hollywood?? Its too less… People may not watch hollywood in cinemas but in their homes they do. This figure of only 1% is not correct.Recommend

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