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Intrigue and business in UAE-made TV series

Hindi show ‘Khwaabon Ke Darmiyaan’ features actors from both India and Pakistan in the high-stakes real estate industry

  • Khwaabon Ke Darmiyaan’s budget was $1.25 million.Image Credit: Supplied
  • Roshni Mehra, played by Nigaar KhanImage Credit: Supplied
  • Ajay Sareen, played by Sachin KhurranaImage Credit: Supplied
  • Faraz Mustafa, played by Muneeb ButtImage Credit:
  • Ikram Malik, played by Javed ShaikhImage Credit:
  • Kabeer Hussain, played by Aryan VedImage Credit:

It’s rare to have a story that’s relevant to a particular city, but Khwaabon Ke Darmiyaan, the Hindi TV series that will launch on Zee TV on December 3, wouldn’t make any sense if it’s taken out of the UAE, claims its makers.

“We are trying to keep the story as real as the life that you see in Dubai … It’s about a business tycoon Ikram Malik who makes his fortune in the real-estate world. Real-estate is happening here. But he goes through a lot of ups and downs in that process of building a big empire. It’s his story,” said Yasin Khan, one of its producers.

KKD, made on a budget of $1.25 million (Dh4.5 million), boasts a mix of Indian, Pakistani and local talents; and has Pakistani actor Javed Shaikh as Ikram Malik, the head of the lucrative real-estate company Radiant Properties in the UAE.

At the time of this interview the KKD team were on the tenth day of their shoot at Dubai’s City Walk and they had more than three weeks of filming left in the UAE.

“Today is going to be a long day. We are going to put in 20 hours of shooting, a marathon filming because we have to cover a lot in these hours. Over the next few days, we will be filming across several locations across the city. Every resident here will be able to identify with the story and their events in their life,” said Khan.

The rise, fall and the resurrection of a business tycoon Malik as he recovers from the 2008 economic downturn will form the crux of this Dubai-set fictional series. A total of 13 episodes will be played out from December 1 every Saturday at 9.30pm on Zee TV.

Khawaabon Ke Darmiyaan is about love, money, betrayal and plays out like a thrilling series. It’s going to be a game changer in the television serial world and I have been around for decades in this industry to tell you that. The look and the feel of this local TV production is something that you have never seen. It’s lavish and brilliant,” said Shaikh.

Gulf News tabloid! introduces you to the main players of KKD.

Who: Ikram Malik, played by Javed Shaikh
Nationality: Pakistani
His role: The chairman of Radiant Properties

What should you know about him: He has been in the UAE for 35 years and built his empire from scratch. He’s a man of principles and he values trust and loyalty. He treats his top executives like family. He doesn’t have children and therefore considers his board members like his own flesh and blood.

What the actor has to say about his character: “It’s about the life and workings of a man navigating the corporate world and it is about Dubai. It tells you what happened in 2008... and how my character got out of that to build his empire again.”

Who: Saira Malik
Nationality: Pakistani
Her role: Wife of Ikram Malik

What should you know about her: Mrs Malik has never enjoyed a smooth relationship with her mother-in-law. Their friction led her to leave Pakistan and join her husband. A resident of Dubai for more than two decades, Saira was happy to be by his side as a loving partner. But certain events in her life forced her to take over the business empire. She never thought of herself a leader, but she realises that she is made of much sterner stuff.

Who: Ajay Sareen, played by Sachin Khurrana}
Nationality: Indian
His role: Director of Radiant Properties

What should we know about him: He’s Malik’s pillar of strength. He is not confrontational and is diplomatic when it comes to maintaining business relations. He’s ethical and reserved by nature.

What the actor has to say about his character: “He’s a go-getter and is the type to dream about building a Burj Khalifa on his own. He’s an achiever and knows the real-estate industry very well. When Ikram Malik invited him to join the board, he says yes and they respect each other a lot. My character is always calm and also think big.”

Who: Kabeer Hussain, played by Aryan Ved
Nationality: Indian
His role: Director of Radiant Properties

What should we know about him: Another trusted aide of Ikram Malik. He’s emotional and is quick to help people in trouble. Money is secondary to him. He is a father of two children and tries his best to appease his wife Mehjabeen’s demands. Hussain’s brother, who regularly demands money from him, is a source of tension between him and his wife.

What the actor has to say about his character: “The fact that the TV series is being filmed in Dubai was a big attraction to sign up for my role. A lot of television serials in India are not based in cities, but I like myself in suits. I was wondering why they don’t more serials with make men in suits and then Khawaabon Ke Darmiyaan happened”

Who: Roshni Mehra, played by Nigaar Khan
Nationality: Indian
His role: CFO of Radian Properties

What should you know about her: She’s an astute businesswoman who knows how to run an empire. She isn’t friendly and sticks to work issues while dealing with people. She prefers to keep her private life under wraps and gets along best with Ajay Sareen as she believes they have similar working styles.

What the actor has to say about her character: “I enjoy playing characters with a negative tinge. I find it a bit boring to play positive characters, but you need to watch the serial to know if I am good or bad in this one. As an actor, I have always chosen my characters carefully. Roshni Mehra is a real, powerful character in a male-dominated world.”

Who: Faraz Mustafa, played by Muneeb Butt
Nationality: Pakistani
Role: Director of Radiant Properties

What should you know about him: He’s charismatic and a smooth-operator. He loves his fashion and fast cars. He’s a charmer and popular with women too. He came to Dubai in 2007 to study for his Masters degree, but found a job at his relative Ikram Malik’s company.

What the actor has to say about his character: “Imagine making your debut in this serial on a Harley Davidson? While it’s exciting, I am not really fond of bikes because I have seen so many accidents. But I am growing used to it now. In Pakistan, the roles we get are family-oriented, or a man who is fighting with his wife or dealing with office work, but this character is different. I am a thorough professional here and not fighting with maa [mother], behen [sister] or bhabhi [sister-in-law]. That was what attracted me to this role”

Don’t miss it!

Khwabon Ke Darmiyaan premieres on December 3 on Zee TV Middle East at 9.30pm and airs every Saturday after.