Fawad Khan, Sanam Saeed’s ‘Barzakh’ Sets Streaming Date (EXCLUSIVE)

Series “Barzakh,” starring top Pakistani actors Fawad Khan and Sanam Saeed, has set a streaming date.

The six-episode series is produced by Waqas Hassan and Shailja Kejriwal for Zindagi, the Indian subcontinent focused programming block on streamer ZEE5 Global. It is helmed by critically acclaimed director Asim Abbasi who also directed Zindagi’s first Pakistani original “Churails” and the feature film “Cake,” which was Pakistan’s entry for the 2019 Oscars.

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Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Hunza Valley, captured by DoP Mo Azmi, the narrative centers around a reclusive 76-year-old man who invites his estranged family to his remote valley resort for an unusual event – his wedding to the ghost of his first love, prompting reflections on life’s mysteries, the afterlife, and the enduring power of love. The series tackles themes of mental health, postpartum depression, generational trauma and gender inclusivity. It also explores the role of folklore in human experience.

The series reunites Khan and Saeed for the first time since their hit show “Zindagi Gulzar Hai.” The ensemble cast also includes Salman Shahid, M. Fawad Khan, Eman Suleman, Khushhal Khan, Faiza Gillani, Anika Zulfikar and Franco Giusti.

“The process of making ‘Barzakh’ started during the throes of COVID and the pandemic, Shailja and I were having a lot of conversations about life and death and to have lived and to have a legacy and have meant to lose so many people. It also reminded me of my own father’s passing and his soul, where did they go, that’s how the idea of ‘Barzakh’ germinated,” Abbasi said. “I had then just recently completed ‘Churails’ and Zindagi was quite keen on collaborating with me again, and this made me think that I can explore television the way literature is explored. I also wanted to move away from the hyper realness I had created in ‘Churails’ and wanted to create a dysfunctional family and generational drama similar to what we had created in ‘Cake.'”

“Love, loss, death, and the world beyond are explored in ‘Barzakh,'” Abbasi added. “Shailja has championed this and supported me in creating this show as I envisioned it. Zindagi as producers allowed me the freedom that honestly no other platform would’ve provided. I think as a storyteller, director, and writer I’m always looking to tell a story that is authentic to me and can transcend to my viewers. The only thing I want my audiences to take away from ‘Barzakh’ is to have a better understanding of relationships, humanity, and the fact that this life is just a part of the much bigger picture. The lives that we have lost, have not gone forever.”

Kejriwal added: “After ‘Churails,’ Asim and I both spoke of doing something simpler, more contained, more about family and personal issues. And then came the synopsis that read – A wedding invite. A dead bride. A family reunion where ghosts arrive. The story was about a family, about love, about loss, about guilt, about anger – all the family issues. But what it also had was fairies and ghosts and myths and red moon nights and paper balls raining down from the sky. It was the most amazing thing that I had read, and it reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s work. Now comes the tough part. Asim’s story defied all audience research and data – and I had to choose between head and heart. I’m happy with my choice, praying fervently for the audience to like it as well.”

Hassan said: “Creating the ‘Barzakh’ universe with Asim and Shailja was a milestone. Working with an international partner broadened horizons for Pakistani filmmakers, showcasing their ability to meet global standards. From constructing villages to forging lifelong friendships, ‘Barzakh’ embodies a heartfelt project ready to captivate audiences worldwide.”

Following its well-received premiere at Series Mania in France, “Barzakh” will stream worldwide on Zindagi’s YouTube channel and ZEE5 Global from July 19.

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