Humayun Saeed and Adnan Siddiqui’s Turkish Series

Set in the Indo-Pak Subcontinent and Turkey during the Khilafat Movement in the early 20th century, Humayun Saeed and Adnan Siddique's upcoming serial.

Set in the Indo-Pak Subcontinent and Turkey during the Khilafat Movement in the early 20th century, Humayun Saeed and Adnan Siqqidui’s upcoming series will recount the story of Turki Lala or Abdur Rehman Peshawari, whose family had migrated from Kashmir and settled in Peshawar, in the colonised subcontinent.

At the time of the Khilafat Movement, Peshawari was studying at the Aligarh University to gain momentum. Sacrificing his education, he devoted himself to gathering support and monetary funds from like-minded people and travelled to Turkey to fight for the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan war.

The story, encapsulated into a series, is scheduled to span three seasons, with 30 episodes each. Ranging across both Pakistani soils as well as Turkish, Humayun Saeed and Adnan Siddiqui’s new venture fits well as a joint narrative between both countries. And as both veteran actors point out, the potential it holds for Pakistan’s entertainment industry is immense.

“If this project manages to become successful, it will be incredible for Pakistan,” said Humayun Saeed. “Turkish producers have emerged as one of the world’s biggest exporters of content. During the coronavirus pandemic’s reign alone, their series and films have been distributed all over the world and have become major hits.”

“This series, also, may one day become a worldwide success. Our actors may become popular in Turkey or even beyond. The language barrier is an impediment but in the present day, it easily gets sorted out through dubbing.”

“This could open the door to many more international collaborations for Pakistan,” Adnan Siddiqui foresees. “Our actors and localities may get seen on major OTT [streaming] platforms and global channels. We will get so much exposure.”

Who is Dr Kashif Ansari of the hitherto unknown Ansari Films? “He is an overseas Pakistani who wants to invest and support our local talent,” says Adnan Siddiqui

Humayun Saeed added, “There are so many Pakistanis living abroad who want to support Pakistan on an international level. They are on the lookout for investments that could build Pakistan’s image and economy. Once Turki Lala gets underway, I predict that we’ll see many more foreign investors reaching out to local producers and directors.”

Auditions are tentatively scheduled to begin in March. “Right now, the story’s structure and concept is being developed. The team has been working very efficiently and perhaps shooting will begin later this year,” said Humayun Saeed.

The complete first season of the Humayun and Adnan Siddiqui’s series is scheduled to release in 2023, a year that holds great significance in Turkey since it will mark its 100 years of independence. The producers hope to air the episodes simultaneously in Turkey and Pakistan, where it will be broadcasted on PTV.

“PTV’s reach is spread out all across the country and, as a state-owned channel, it will be the ideal choice for airing Turki Lala. It’s a series that is aimed towards strengthening Pak-Turk ties and is dictated by PM Imran Khan’s vision for the country,” stated Humayun Saeed.

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