The title of Asim Abbasi’s much-awaited web series, which would reunite Sanam Saeed and Fawad Khan onscreen after the hit drama Zindagi Gulzar Hai, finally gets a title! Barzak, produced by Shailja Kejriwal, has already created high anticipation among viewers. The web series is all set for its debut in France at the illustrious Series Mania festival in March 2023.
In the series, Khan will play the role of a single parent – charming but ridden with guilt for what he has lost. Saeed plays the other lead role. Barzakh which marks the onscreen pair’s highly-anticipated reunion after 10 years, is the only selection from South Asia at the festival scheduled to be held in Lille.
The web series will be screened as part of the International Panorama line-up, a 12-title competitive section and is also nominated in several categories such as Best Series, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor as well as the Student Jury award and the Audience award.
Thrilled at the selection, director Asim Abbasi said, “At its core, Barzakh is a family drama framed within a World of supernatural beings and otherworldly events. The genesis of the story stemmed from a personal loss and the fears that came with it, making me realise that love is indeed eternal and nudging me to write a story about it.”
The filmmaker went on, “The selection of Barzakh at the Series Mania is such a momentous yet humbling occasion for all of us, not only because it’s a show that’s so close to my heart but also because the selection is such a strong validation of our belief in this story which is now finding its way amongst the best in the world.”
In an interview with Variety, Abbasi shared, “What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to have a soul, and does it survive us? How does one find hope and joy in a perpetual state of limbo? These are the central concerns of Barzakh.”
The Cake director shared it’s an extremely personal project for him. “In the aftermath of my father’s passing, and witnessing my son grow into a young boy, I found myself consumed with nostalgia, and memories of times gone and loves lost. And I began to think about my fears – the end of consciousness, the end of imagination, the end of love. And from these fears, grew a story where love was indeed eternal. Where it survived us – making it the ultimate human legacy,” he continued.
He added, “This series was conceptualised during the pandemic when all pre-defined notions of love, life, death and beyond were going through a seismic shift. Online work, mourning and celebrations had led to a sort of haze and confusion about what was real.”
‘Churails’ to ‘Barzakh’
Abbasi’s latest offering marks a significant shift from his last project, Churails. “Churails had a flamboyant flair and kinetic energy to it. It found its crux in the exploration of rage and our stylistic choices for that series mirrored that. Barzakh is more concerned with the silences, the spaces in between what is said and not said. It is enigmatic and mystical in its essence. And therefore, it needed a different level of control, restrain and precision,” he said.
Saeed, Khan reuniting onscreen
Last year, in a statement, Saeed commented, “I don’t think I have come across any perfect character as such. I have to fall in love with my character. I have to understand her, feel her, believe in her, understand her journey and her story and I think subconsciously I look for a message that my character can pass on to the viewers. As they say, TV is an extremely powerful tool which I understood very young in my career. I want to do roles that have a positive impact on women.”
Speaking about the show, the Humsafar star – without revealing too much – had shared, “The show features Sanam Saeed. That’s all I’m allowed to reveal. It’s been an amazing experience working with this wonderful cast and crew. There’s one thing I can definitely say about it: perhaps I didn’t get to know everyone on a one-on-one basis, but I spent a great time together with most of them.”
He added, “On the day I was leaving the set, I told them, ‘After Kapoor & Sons, this is probably one of those projects where I feel like I’ve made a family on set.’ A lot of positive energy went into making it and I felt those positive vibes. I love these guys. This project is dear to me and near my heart.”
Earlier, Khan, making a reference to the TV channel Zindagi, said in a statement, “I think Zindagi is taking bold and brave decisions when it comes to storytelling. It’s naturally evolving into a platform that encourages diversity of opinion and inclusiveness for all filmmakers and material ranging from everyday mainstream to avant-garde and noir. I feel there’s a place for everyone in this artistic landscape.”
Saeed had also added, “I’m thrilled to be collaborating with one of my favourite directors Asim Abbasi again, this time for Zindagi. This new project embarks on a fantastical journey with some stunning performances by a very meticulously picked cast. I can’t wait for everyone to see the magic that’s been created in this beautiful limbo land.”
Held annually at Lille in France, the Series Mania festival, since its inception in 2010, has been instrumental in recognizing and curating the best series across the world. The festival brings together the best screenwriters, directors and artistes together under one roof. Series Mania runs March 17-24.
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Originally published at tribune.com.pk