The hit 1987 Pakistani drama serial “Dhoop Kinare”, starring Marina Khan and Rahat Kazmi, will be airing this year in Saudi Arabia, with Arabic dubbing.
Shahzia Sikander, former Director International Relations of PTV, said that this is the first time Pakistan Television is dubbing a local TV production for Saudi viewers. The project came about as a result of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision to modernize Saudia Arabia, which includes creating new avenues of entertainment for its citizens.
Sikander, who is also leading this project, told reporters on Thursday, “The information ministry will send it to Saudi Arabia through our foreign office. We are also contacting different media houses in the Kingdom, in case they are interested in exchange of dramas or buying our dubbed content.”
She added that the task of dubbing classic Urdu dramas in Arabic was assigned to PTV by the Information Ministry, which “we accepted as a challenge and now our first project is complete for delivery.”
Sikander further said the move will both revenue and international recognition to Pakistan and its local productions, while also helping Saudi citizens better understand Pakistan’s culture.
According to Arab News, three drama serials had been chosen for dubbing, including Dhoop Kinare, Tanhaiyan, and Aahat. Budget constraints led to the dubbing process being halted, but the dubbing of Dhoop Kinare is now complete according to Dr. Lubna Farah, the translation expert supervising the project.
Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, tweeted that the drama is set to release in Saudi Arabia.
Chaudhry, while speaking to Arab News, said Saudi Arabia was “opening up” under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s leadership, and that his vision for the Kingdom must be appreciated. He said, “In the field of art and culture, he has changed the Kingdom in a big way.”
According to Chaudhry, work on the project originally began when Saudi Information Minister Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad visited Pakistan last year. He said, “I shared this idea with him to run Pakistani dramas in Saudi Arabia as they are much ahead in quality and values than other countries. He welcomed the suggestion and we started working on the project.”
Chaudhry added “the idea once again came under discussion during my visit to the Kingdom” when Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan became the Saudi Culture Minister.
He also said, “He was very kind and promised to support my initiative of broadening the cultural relationship between the two brotherly Muslim countries. Under this arrangement, the first Pakistani film, Parwaaz Hai Junoon, was screened in Saudi cinemas last November. Our main aim was to promote a joint production with Saudi Arabia along with Saudi investment in the fields of film and drama.”
A Pak-Saudi ministerial committee on information and culture was decided to be formed during the crown prince’s February visit, which would improve the cultural exchanges between the two countries. Both sides are still working on implementing the idea.
Osman Khalid Butt, a famous Pakistani actor, talked about this initiative and said, “Our drama will get more global audience. In today’s world, if the content is good, language does not become a barrier. Pakistani actors will get greater international exposure through this.”
He added that the Pakistani entertainment industry needed investment and new markets, “We create between 20 and 30 films a year which is not enough to sustain an entire industry. If a joint production with another country takes place, it will be a great learning experience for us.”