Muslim serials back on TV, thanks to 'Qubool Hai, Beintihaa'
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A year since its launch, 'Qubool Hai' has notched up top ratings for Zee TV. With 5830 TVTs (Television Viewership in Thousands) in Week 47, it is second to the channel's number one show, 'Jodha Akbar'.
Though an experiment by the channel, the serial did not take much time to catch on. Today, the show's lead pair, Asad and Zoya, played by Karan Singh Grover and Surabhi Jyoti are household names.
Lending a freshness to the TV landscape, which is crowded with saas-bahu sagas and reality shows, 'Qubool Hai' is encouraging channels and producers to hunt for a suitable story set against the backdrop of the Muslim community.
It was not surprising to see Colors launching 'Beintehaa', a show set around the Muslim community. But what made Muslim serials go off the TV radar in the first place?
During the '90s several Muslim serials were popular. Be it the story of Heena (Simone Singh), who struggles through an unhappy marriage or be it Juhi Parmar in the title role of Shaheen, a serial that dealt with extra-marital affairs, and the iconic Doordarshan show Gul Gulshan Gulfam, which revolved around a Kashmiri family's houseboat business being affected by terrorism.
From 2000 onwards the decline of Muslim shows started. It was taken over by joint family shows and 'saas-bahu' conflicts with the success of Ekta Kapoor's 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi'. "It's all a trend," says producer Farhan Salruddin, producer of 'Beintehaa', which has Amrita Rao's sister Preetika Rao making a debut on television.
"Serials such as 'Basera' and 'Amaanat', which were set amidst Punjabi backdrops, ruled the roost then. But when dailies got introduced, producers started making their shows with a Gujarati set-up," he adds.
While most experts attribute the renewed interest in Muslim socials to cyclical pattern of trends, there are some who blame channels for lacking vision. "Our channels don't show any foresight. I am sure producers might be approaching them with great ideas, but nothing comes out of it," says Mrinal Jha, creative producer of 'Qubool Hai.' She claims that they approached many channels before Zee TV, and faced opposition. "We were told by other channels that our country at this point of time was not ready for a show with Muslim backdrop," she adds.
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