Sanam Saeed wins hearts across the border

Published: July 16, 2014
Actor is ecstatic that her show Zindagi Gulzar Hai has turned out to be the first drama to have broken the ice between India and Pakistan.

Actor is ecstatic that her show Zindagi Gulzar Hai has turned out to be the first drama to have broken the ice between India and Pakistan.


Having immortalised strong women-oriented roles on TV screens here, young and multi-faceted Sanam Saeed, known to Indian audiences as Kashaf Murtaza of Zindagi Gulzar Hai, says that while India makes the most of its filmmaking capacity to tell stories, the medium in Pakistan is TV.

The 29-year-old is ecstatic and grateful that Zindagi Gulzar Hai, one of the most popular ongoing shows in India, has turned out to be the “first drama to have broken the ice across the borders in current times”, says Sanam.

“India uses Bollywood, rather cinema, to tell its stories. It is one of the largest filmmaking nations in the world and so your talents get to tell stories about politics, love and drama through films. In Pakistan, our medium is the small screen,” says Sanam.

“We don’t make many films, and hardly have theatres. A majority of people seek entertainment while sitting at home and TV gives it to them, so we excel on that part,” she adds.

Shows from Pakistan are high on content and quality and Indian audiences are gradually gettign acquainted with them courtesy new channel Zindagi – Jodey Dilon Ko, a first-of-its-kind initiative, beaming entertainment and content from our side of the border.

The show Zindagi Gulzar Hai, based on prolific writer Umera Ahmad’s novel of the same name, is a romantic drama focusing on women, portraying equality of the girl child and importance of a career for women.

As an artiste, Sanam, who was born in Britain and shifted to Karachi with her family when she was six, prefers to pick parts which depict a woman’s struggle. “I’ve seen the effect some of my shows have had, and so, I like characters that can be role models for young girls, roles that can help to change people’s perspective.”

By people she means the middle-class. She says the upper middle class here has options for entertainment. They have the internet, Hollywood and books, but for the middle-class, there is only TV.

“A lot of them sit at home and watch TV as they can’t afford other forms of entertainment. So, we try to do shows which have inspirational value,” says the actor.

Sanam started out by being a model, following which she became a video jockey, did theatre, tried her hand at standup comedy and is also a singer, apart from being an actor.

On a final note, the actor says: “I’m glad that the shows are having a positive impact on people in India – it’s the same effect that they had on people here.”  

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • jatinder Singh
    Jul 16, 2014 - 11:44PM

    After many years a Pakistan tv serial watch through Indian channel. Before the cable network starts i watched Pakistani tv shows in my childhood through anteena.

    I like this serial Zindagi Gulzar hai. The story is very interesting. And all characters playing their role very good. Specially kashaf. She is my dream girl now. I really Love to see her in another shows on zindagi channel.


  • Ayesha
    Jul 17, 2014 - 12:12AM

    I really would like to see Indias reaction to Thalkiyah as it is based to Arundathi Roy’s novel ‘God of Small Things’. I believe that is one of Sanam Saeeds best work.


  • goggi (Lahore)
    Jul 17, 2014 - 1:04AM

    @jatinder Singh:
    You can watch another very heart-touching serial in YouTube “Dil-e-Muztar…..meaning = helpless heart!
    I am sure your beard shall become like a wet towel!


  • John
    Jul 17, 2014 - 2:49AM

    We don’t really care if our Dramas wins hearts or not.We know they are good and don’t necessarily need approvals from the other side of the border.


  • bharat
    Jul 17, 2014 - 10:35AM

    I liked the fact that Pakistani serials have a mature story line and it is based on lives of ordinary people.

    The emphasis is on script.


  • Saqi
    Jul 17, 2014 - 10:39AM

    Dear Indians Friends watch following Pakistani Dramas on YouTube and you would enjoy a lot. its guarantee

    1) Humsafar
    2) Meri Zaat Zare e Benishan

    Some how i feel that majority of Indian films are not showing true face of India. where were films like Mother India. I really feel that Indian films can give good lesson as they are watched all over world. But what lesson they are giving. Do not know about India, but majority of films can not be watched in Pakistan with family.

    I really feel that Indian civil society should seriously think over what they are being shown. There are few Indian films that are very good and can be watched with family but very few.


  • Dhirendra Yashodev Varman
    Jul 17, 2014 - 11:19AM

    Dear Saqi,

    You are right in stating the fact that many of the Indian films of last decade can’t be seen with family members. But there are enormous film makers who can make good message giving films. India is land of stories but I don’t know why only commercial films are made in huge numbers.
    In India more meaningful movies are made in regional languages these days.

    I like Zindagi Gulzar Hai serial & I like Sanam’s acting very much.


  • Timorlane
    Jul 17, 2014 - 1:01PM

    As Indian movie making has made remarkable technical advancement unfortunately Indian TV dramas are ridiculously treated like camera focusing faces of the characters one by one with a jolt in long pauses with characters spewing totally made up expressions, they are nauseating. Indian comedy programs are also a sure fire disappointment with the climax is almost always a man impersonating as a women (the lack of wit and creativity is stunning).


  • Hasan
    Jul 17, 2014 - 1:16PM


    Very well put – 100% agreed.



  • Haleema
    Jul 17, 2014 - 1:29PM

    Wait until you guys get to see Humsafar!!!!! i’m sure you will all love it.


  • Haleema
    Jul 17, 2014 - 1:31PM

    Wait Until you guys watch Humsafar,.. im sure you will all love it!


  • Haleema Tariq Ameen
    Jul 17, 2014 - 1:35PM

    Wait until you guys watch Humsafar.. you will adore it!


  • Sami
    Jul 17, 2014 - 4:59PM

    John: stop hate-mongering please


  • Ishan
    Jul 17, 2014 - 8:20PM

    I don’t watch tv serials that much but since a Pakistani tv serial was being aired in India for the first time, I watched few episodes of Zingagi Guljar Hai and it was probably entertaining.


  • Dwijendra
    Jul 17, 2014 - 11:07PM

    Yes, sanam saeed is a good actress….and storyline of zindagi gulzar is quite mature….I don’t know but I always wait for kashaf’s character to undergo a monologue…those dialogues are most beautifully written, when she talks to herself….


  • hello
    Jul 18, 2014 - 8:35AM

    , within a period of 3 months all these good actors from Pakistan will shift base to India.


  • John
    Jul 18, 2014 - 12:05PM

    Please point out the part of my comment which is “hate mongering” !


  • Last Word
    Jul 18, 2014 - 7:33PM

    Sanam Saeed performance reminds me old TV dramas telecasted from Lahore in 1979-80 onwards which were exceptionally good and better than the one telecasted by Doordarshan. Those were the times of single antenna which had to be rotated towards Lahore from Amritsar to watch TV telecast from Pakistan. I still remember a very well directed drama ‘Warris’ which was never missed by me till its last episode.


  • Saima
    Jul 18, 2014 - 8:17PM

    @Haleema both humsafar and meri zaat have very conservative stories. i think zindagi gulzaar hai was an excellent choice to show across the border


  • Moiz Omar
    Jul 19, 2014 - 12:48AM

    I think our Pakistani dramas are much better than Indian dramas.


  • Jul 19, 2014 - 2:57PM

    I really loved the serial ” Zindagi Gulzar Hai “… It was mind blowing.. Every character had done good job… Especially Kashaf and Zarun did very well…It was my best show i had ever watched..Its true that Pakistani Serials are far better than Indian Serials..


  • Raji
    Jul 19, 2014 - 9:10PM

    Loved zindagi gulzar hai serial .Its so progressive in terms of women empowerment through education and later working in jobs in senior positions ! Excellent work by sanam and fawad khan and all the actors .Each episode is so interesting and so well edited .No over dramatic dialogues and so realistic . All of us can connect and feel for kashaf and her struggles . Sanam is exceptionally talented and beautiful.Hope to see many more serials like these.


    Jul 20, 2014 - 7:24PM

    Watching Zindagi Gulzar Hai is pleasing experience, be it acting,dialogues,story line or direction,every thing is par exellent, It is high time Indian maker of series drama should learn from thier Pakistani counterparts.Last but not least congrats to Sanam Saeed and Fawad ashraf Khan for their superb acting.


  • Gunn
    Jul 20, 2014 - 8:59PM

    One word for Zindagi Gulzar Hai- “Brilliant” ! Kashaf was indeed a refreshing character amidst all the “typical bahus” here. I hope they would now appreciate that girls can go to university, keep intact the values, get a good job and still find good husbands like Zaroon. ;-) Well jokes apart, there is no doubt that with this strong story and outstanding performances, ZGH has easily made it to our hearts. Barring the specific references to cities of Pakistan, there was nothing in the show which would remind us of its foreign origin, but then again, it lays emphasis on the similarity of our values, cultures and the challenges we face in our day to day life.

    I am thankful to Zindagi Channel which truly justifies its “jodey dilon ko” caption. This exchange of stories can go a long way to help us learn from each other while also enabling us to appreciate and respect each other for our commonness as well as our distinctiveness. And plus, there is one more reason to fall in love with Pakistani shows. With shows being aired in chaste Urdu, I am totally excited to learn a new language in most easiest of ways.

    Lots of love and best wishes from India :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)Recommend

  • Jul 23, 2014 - 1:51PM

    Dear Indians,
    thanks for compliment the drama. this is the way we can remove our hatness that our so cold politicians bring between us.
    another drama serial now a days on air in pakistan is pyaray afzal what a beautiful please you all will like.
    here is link all the episode and drama still continue.
    watch it you will like this. another awesome serial of pakistan


  • saif
    Aug 11, 2014 - 11:33AM

    it is really stupid 2 ask a pakistani about shows which are made in pakistan. it would be better if some one from iran or turkey appreciate pakistani serials. as far as india is concerned, we are in a phase where we watch anything and everything, not just pakistani shows, we watch shows from bangladesh to korea (that is where most of bollywood movies are “inspired” from).
    best shows claim pakistanis and yet spend 240 million pkr and 230 million on stupid movies like kick and dhoom3. i now KNOW what pakistanis are. glad to read this. BTW nobody is watching Zindagi gulzae hai or any other things by 70% of our population. google pakistanis…..


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