Series Mania: Fawad Khan, Sanam Saeed Show ‘Barzakh’ Unveiled (EXCLUSIVE) Most Popular Must Read Sign Up for Variety Newsletters More From Our Brands

“Barzakh” starring Pakistani actors Fawad Khan and Sanam Saeed is the only South Asian selection in Series Mania this year.

The series will debut in the showcase’s International Panorama, a 12-title competition section where it will be eligible for Best Series, Director, Actress, Actor, Student Jury and Audience Awards.

“Barzakh” (6 X 58′) is directed by critically acclaimed director Asim Abbasi, who also directed the first Pakistani original “Chorrels” and the feature film “Cake”. Produced by Shilja Kejriwal for Zindagi, it airs on ZEE5 Global, a programming block focused on the Indian subcontinent.

The series is a family drama centered around an elderly man’s search for love. It explores the generational trauma between fathers and sons. The narrative is set within a fantastical world of supernatural beings and otherworldly events that depict the gulf between life, death and rebirth.

“What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to have a soul, and is it alive for us? How do we find hope and happiness in a perpetual state? These are the central concerns of ‘Barzakh,'” Abbasi said. Variety.

The series was shot in Karachi and Hunza Valley.

“Barzakh” is a deeply personal show for Abbasi. “After my father passed away, and watching my son grow into a young man, I found myself wracked with nostalgia, lost memories and loves of the past, and I talked about my fears. I started thinking – the end of consciousness, the end of imagination, the end of love. And out of those fears, a story grew where love was truly eternal. Where it survived us – making it the ultimate human legacy,” Abbasi said. .

Kejriwal said Variety: ”Barzakh is a product of the Covid mind – it was a time when Asim and I were like everyone else unable to say goodbye to love, life, death, losing loved ones. There was a sense of loss at being incomplete, but also confusion. Death and separation didn’t seem like a final thing as it used to because both funerals and weddings were taking place on Zoom. This new reality was surreal and physical contact with friends and family or meeting in person became crucial to make sense of it. So came the idea of ​​a show that was basically a family reunion.

“But families are never simple. And the family that Asim creates is complex, layered, troubled, funny and vulnerable all at the same time,” Kejriwal added.

Abbasi, who worked with Saeed in “Cake”, appreciates the actor’s “other-worldliness” in the show. About Khan, who recently starred in “The Legend of Moolah Jat”, Pakistan’s biggest box office hit of all time, Abbasi says the actor “brought so much honesty and authenticity to his performance. , who captured both the charm and the opposition of the character with ease.”

“Barzakh” marks a tonal shift from “chorales” for Abbasi. “Chorrels” had a wonderful mood and kinetic energy. It found its roots in the exploration of rage and our stylistic choices for this series reflect that. ‘Barzakh’ relates to the silences, the space between what is said and what is not said. It is mysterious and mystical in its essence. And so it requires a different level of control, restraint and precision,” said Abbasi.

Zindagi was launched in 2014 and his original commissions include “Ek Jhothi Mohabbate Ki Kahi”, “Dhoop Ki Dewar”, “Ktal Hussain Ke Naam” and “Mrs”. & mr. Shamim.

“With Life I’m doing my best to create a safe space for writers and directors to fearlessly explore and express themselves. That’s really the only commissioning philosophy I have. So the audience ‘needs’ Instead of trying to force fit the artist’s thinking, we’re this small shop that’s trying to find the right audience for each piece of original thought. I strongly believe that every [piece of] If made within a realistic budget, the content can find its audience as well as its returns,” said Kejriwal.

Both Abbasi and Kejriwal are happy to make the series Mania Kit.

“Being a part of the Series Mania selection gives my team and I a sense of great courage and validation that it’s okay to think outside of the data. The space for original thinking is shrinking fast and it’s encouraging moments like ‘be seen’ “And being recognized gives us hope and wings,” Kejriwal said.

Abbasi added: “As artists, we often find ourselves working in a bubble for long periods of time, away from outside perspectives, to be selected by programmers at a prestigious festival, where some of the world’s The most exciting series will feature them. Premieres, very modestly. ‘Barzakh’ has been an experience of sorts for both me and life – a narrative that defies easy definitions. And it’s on an international stage. It’s a really happy moment for the whole team to see him make space.”

Series Mania runs from March 17-24.

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