Prolific Urdu novelist and playwright Umera Ahmad, best known for TV dramas like ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’ and ‘Daam’ which were famously aired on India’s Zee Zindagi channel also, has lately been in the news for venturing into the digital arena via two serials for Zee5. Ahmad will reportedly soon start consulting for Netflix. Besides, she has a couple of projects lined up for the streaming giant. “Both are crime thrillers,” she tells Gulf News tabloid!.
Clearly, that’s an interesting first for a writer whose stories have largely focused on domestic issues faced by men and women in urban middle-class Pakistani households. By her own admission, crime thriller is a genre she has “always wanted to explore but never got around to doing so.”
Without giving much away, Ahmad says that one of the Netflix projects relates to cyber bullying. “This one comes straight from the heart, because I’ve seen so many people suffer because of it [cyber bullying]. I know how trolling can destroy lives!”
She further says that the characters in the serial are all Pakistani, led by a female detective. “There are so many female officers in our police force and intelligence agencies, and they are doing remarkably well. The [said] serial is an opportunity for me to dig into the challenges and obstacles they experience while investigating and interrogating crime.”
She is quick to add that no parallels ought to be drawn with Netflix’s much acclaimed Indian show, ‘Delhi Crime’.
Ahmad’s other web series is set “against the backdrop of cricket.” She is currently finishing its script. “It should be ready to go to floors in December this year,” she declares.
It may be mentioned here that Ahmad is not new to the Netflix audiences. ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’, her popular 2012 Hum TV show which stars Fawad Khan and Sanam Saeed, is already available for streaming, and has been trending well. But Netflix Originals are a maiden territory for her. “It’s a new challenge,” she admits. “Let’s see if I can live up to it!”
While the viewers will have to wait for the release of her Netflix shows, Ahmad is expected to make her digital debut with Zee5’s ‘Dhoop Ki Deewar’. “It’s about the emotions of the families of soldiers on either side of the Line of Control [in Kashmir].” The project is backed by ISPR, and directed by Haseeb Hasan. It stars Sajal Ali, Ahad Raza Mir, Samiya Mumtaz, Sawera Nadeem, and Manzar Sehbai.
Her second show for Zee5, titled ‘Aik Jhooti Love Story’, is currently in post-production. It’s a light, romantic series, directed by Mehreen Jabbar, and stars Bilal Abbas Khan and Madiha Imam in the lead.