Zee Networks recently announced the return of Zindagi channel but this time on its OTT platform ZEE5. And kickstarting Zindagi’s second innings in India will be Pakistani series Churails.
Set in Karachi, the 10-episode series will talk about four women, played by Sarwat Gilani, Mehar Bano, Nirma Bucha and Yasra Rizvi, who have individually dealt with some kind of violence. They get together to covertly run an agency that would expose men who cheat on their wives. The Asim Abbasi directorial is streaming on ZEE5.
Sarwat Gilani, Mehar Bano and Nimra Bucha recently spoke exclusively to indianexpress.com over a video call. The acclaimed actors talked about their show streaming on an Indian platform and what they want the audience to take away from Churails.
Excerpts from the conversation:
The title of Churails has really left us intrigued. Tell us something about the show.
Nimra: You guys by now know what these ‘Churails’ are up to. These are a bunch of fiesty women who know what they want and don’t want. And they decide to bring an end to atrocities on women by taking things into their own hands. Honestly, we are just proud to be a part of something like this. It brought us closer to solving these issues in real life. It has a really strong message on sisterhood.
Each character in Churails is very different. How would you define your parts?
Nimra: It’s quite a different character from what we see in our shows and films. My character Batool has a past, where she has killed somebody, but she is unapologetic about it. She is beyond that emotion where she could be shamed or made to feel guilty. And that was really refreshing. As mostly, people are comfortable seeing women not in power, or when they are powerful, giving it all up for love.
Sarwat: I play Sara. She and Jugnu (Yasra) are best friends. They meet Batool and Zubaida one night. All these women are hurt, shaken up by their own experiences. So they come up with the idea of a secret agency. Since Zubaida was called a churail at home, the name is stuck in her head and that’s how the group gets a name. This encounter gives a new life to all these women, who start hiring others and pledge to help women, who are in need. They want to be the hero for them. All the issues projected in the series are real ones and people will definitely relate to it.
Mehar: My character Zubaida is the youngest of the lot. She is basically the brawler of the team. She is boxer, and kicks people literally. She and Batool actually end up doing all the dirty and gritty jobs.
The kind of chemistry you guys share is quite evident. How was it working together?
Sarwat: It was a big party. I think we really got lucky as the four of us were issue less and had no stardom in our head. We would all behave like artistes. We would sit and eat together, and even talk about our personal issues. It sounds unreal but was really very real.
Nimra: I have known Bano and Yasra, so they were familiar territory for me. I am not very good with making new friends and so wondered how it would be to work with Sarwat. But it was so amazing. We were shooting in remote areas, traveling together, taking turns going to the bathroom and protecting each other. It was magical, almost like we were back in our school and college days.
Given the show is directed by a man, did you feel the women gaze was compromised?
Mehar: Not at all. Asim has grown up among women, and understands their plight. He is also very empathetic. I think he really managed the gaze well, particularly with my character. Zubaida is someone who looks at men with lust. And only she has a full-fledged romantic track on the show, and he handled that pretty well.
How did you all react on Churails being released on an Indian platform – ZEE5?
Sarwat: We were all thrilled to be on such a big platform. Also, the fact that it goes to our neighbours, and then their neighbours. It is reaching a global audience. More than that, I was happy that a Pakistani story has been told by someone who understands the culture. There have been so many shows, but it did not depict us in the right manner.
Nimra: The web has definitely brought freedom and enabled us to show our worst and learn from it. This is what I love about Churails. It’s not there to shock or pander the ideas that one has about Pakistani women. You might come across these kinds of characters in Pakistan, India or any place. They are real and so the connection that you will have with them will also be real. We are just saying this is us.
While we will get to witness this Pakistani show, any Indian web series that you guys recently watched and liked?
Sarwat: I really liked Made in Heaven.
Mehar: I don’t remember the last show that I saw, but before that, I had enjoyed watching Hasmukh on Netflix.
Nimra: We are always in awe of the content made in India.
What do you want the audience to take back from Churails?
Nimra: We want to be household names in India. I would love it if women call each other by our names after watching the show. I have high ambitions (laughs).
Sarwat: I would say that I want the world to see Pakistan’s amazing artistic sensibilities. Also, the amazing artistes who have been hiding in a box. After Churails, I would want the pandora’s box to finally open.
Mehar: I would want women to feel empowered after watching the show.
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