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NEW DELHI: ZEE5, the video streaming service owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, will see five new productions from Pakistan make their way to the platform as part of the original library on its Zindagi vertical, this fiscal. Dealing with feminist issues, notions of family, death, loss and masculinity, these aim to question societal norms and stereotypes, on the same lines as the platform’s last acclaimed original Churails.

First launched as a general entertainment channel on TV in 2014, Zindagi transitioned into a digital-only service in 2017 and was rebranded as Zindagi Digital, streaming exclusive shows from Turkey, South Korea, Spain, Colombia, Ukraine, Pakistan and Brazil in 12 languages starting 2018.

“We’re done with acquisitions and are focusing on original productions, mainly from Pakistan. The idea is to sow seeds of content in the Hindustani language that can be watched across the south Asian subcontinent," Shailja Kejriwal, chief creative officer, special projects, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd said adding that the shows would appeal to all audiences who are familiar with Hindi and Urdu languages and that the idea is to put ‘language over geography.’

Currently streaming shows such as Dhoop Ki Deewar, Ghaao and Ab Dekh Khuda Kya Karta Hai, Kejriwal admitted the constantly evolving dynamic between India and Pakistan is a challenge but also exciting for the makers. “When there is opposition and difficulty, there is that much more compulsion to say something that is important rather than formulaic. Plus, a lot of situations are common in the subcontinent so it is better to have a wider audience," she added.

Apart from shows, Kejriwal is also focusing on building a library of plays for Zee Theatre, a segment under ZEEL. Spanning languages like Hindi and Marathi, these include the works of writers like Gulzar, Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Munshi Premchand, Amrita Pritam, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Qurratulain Haider, Balwant Singh, Asad Muhammad Khan, Ghulam Abbas, Rajinder Singh Bedi and Intezar Hussain.

“Even before the pandemic, there were hardly any places where you could go to watch plays. These are all socially relevant themes and the lack of censorship in the medium ensures artistes enjoy more creative freedom," Kejriwal said.

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