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.