The Pakistani actor strongly believes that exchange of content from Pakistan to India will develop better relations between the two nations
She grew up watching the films of Bollywood's late ethereal beauty Madhubala, has enjoyed new wave Indian gems like Parineeta and Barfi!, and loves to catch up on Comedy Nights With Kapil. But Samina Peerzada, a veteran actor-filmmaker from Pakistan, says exchange of content from Pakistan to India has been "long-awaited" and will help find a connect.
"I think it has been long-awaited - this exchange of content from Pakistan to India. We're glad that viewers in India will now hear the voice of Pakistan; will have a face to our country; see our lives; feel our emotions; issues; and see our commonalities through our shows," the 59-year-old told a source.
Indian shows have for long been lapped up in Pakistan - but viewers had to rely on pirated recordings.
The internet opened the gates and allowed people to access Pakistani shows via online video-sharing platform YouTube.
But Zindagi TV-Jodey Dilon Ke, a new offering from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), is now taking stories from across the border to Indian viewers' bedrooms by officially treating them with some of Pakistan's best shows.
With Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Samina has already found a fan following here and now one of her old shows, Noorpur Ki Rani, an adaptation of English novel "Rebecca", is set to be beamed on the channel starting Monday.
"It's wonderful how, through art, dance and music, people across the world have learnt to celebrate each other's cultures.
"Through Zindagi channel, we're excited to showcase Pakistan's stories to India. It's a positive change," added Samina, who was born into a Muslim family in Lahore, and had to patiently convince her parents to let her pursue her passion for acting.
She started her career in 1976 with Nazdikiyan, following which she featured in Bazaare Husn and Khawahish.
Widely travelled, she has done her bit in theatre and she also went behind the camera for films like Inteha and Shararat, apart from working as an actress in a slew of TV shows.
Now she says she's hoping to plan a co-production with an Indian producer for some "great storytelling".
"I hope India gets to sample the new wave of cinema in Pakistan. Our hope is that when you release your films in India, a Pakistani film gets a simultaneous release," she said, pointing out the positive response that films like Khuda Kay Liye and Bol from her nation received at the Indian box-office.
Samina says she's been visiting India off and on since 1979 and has been witness to its economic, political and cultural development.
"There are some wonderful people, and I have some great friends in Mumbai, from Bollywood, and then I have some friends in Delhi and Kolkata. I love visiting them," she said while also sharing that she's looking forward to coming back to India in August for a brief visit.
She believes "things will be different now", courtesy Zindagi.
"I think it will open new avenues for artists and talent, as well as facilitate more interaction and sharing of ideas between the two countries," said the actress-filmmaker, who herself is ready to face the cameras here as she is "free".
"I can travel anywhere in the world to act. And India? Absolutely," she exclaimed.
When she comes to India - there are two people whom she definitely wants to meet - one is Bollywood's dancing diva Madhuri Dixit and the other is the star standup comedian Kapil Sharma.
"Madhuri is so pretty and she dances so beautifully. I want to meet her when I come down this time, and Kapil for sure! When I come back home after a hard day at work, I unwind with Kapil's show. It brings me back to life."
Such is the heart's connect between people in the two nations.
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