Turkish series Diriliş: Ertuğrul has soared to popularity with its first season being aired on PTV in Urdu. The drama has received its fair share of criticism as well, though the critique has mostly been on it being aired on the state-owned television. Many celebrities have also shared their reservations about this. Celebrities of the likes of Shaan Shahid, Yasir Hussain, and Mansha Pasha didn’t back the airing believing it to be damaging for the local industry.
On the other hand, many including Hamza Ali Abbasi, Saba Qamar have actually welcomed the series with open arms. Recently in an interview with Express Tribune, veteran actress Sania Saeed discussed the much-debated series. Saeed has an illustrious career reigning over almost two decades. She has been the face of many successful dramas over the years including PTV’s Aahat, as well as classics like Sitara aur Mehrunissa.
“I think Ertuğrul’s success is about the storytelling, the novelty of the story and the fact that it comes from a different culture. That’s why stories were told in the first place, right? People would travel from one place to another, telling stories about the places they’d come from and that is how culture and languages were propagated.”
The Sang e Mar Mar actress highlighted how the characters in Ertugrul are very different from what our audience gets to see in local plays. She admired the portrayal of women in the drama in particular, “These women are industrious, working women. They move freely in their tribes, lead them and run the economy.”
In her viewpoint, the portrayal is admirable as it is not just about modesty but the fact that they are empowered, strong, and feel free as well as safe in their setting.
“It’s also about the way that characters have been developed that people are liking. It’s a story well told, the production value is really good and we just feel proud because we identify with it very strongly as Muslims. So, I think people are just very proud that it’s been made by a country that is also predominantly Muslim,” Sania shared.
She then adhered to the men in the drama, whom the audience will not solely identify with for their bravery and masculinity but also their vulnerability, passion, love, and dedication to their family and their women “They are not afraid to cry when their fathers, comrades, or soldiers die. They are not afraid to cry when they’re thinking of the woman they love or when their wife is in pain when their children are born,” Sania added.
While she was all praises for the content itself, she did raise a question about the network’s policymaking.
“Was there a plan? Or does all this get done on whims such as, ‘Oh, the PM said ‘buy it, so buy it!’ What is the policy?” she questioned. “There’s no point in screaming after something like this happens. There has to be a negotiation that is done continuously with the government to create a policy for your country. A while later after Ertuğrul finishes, everyone will forget all this and move on and this discrepancy will be buried. Who is negotiating with a clear-cut policy after or before that?”