Although there is no lack of Urdu content to watch on TV, being produced in truckloads from both India and Pakistan, it is always refreshing to get a show from an international cast, with a completely different perspective! That is why I am here to introduce you to Turkish Dramas.
I grew up watching Tanhaiyaan on Pakistan Television, followed by a youth of being glued to catch the latest of Kyuoni saas bhi kabhi baho thi on Star Plus. The simplicity of the TV series’ in Pakistan humbled and taught lessons of life, while the glitter and jazz of Indian series endowed the ideas of what to wear duringthe next wedding season!
Honestly, it wasn’t until I was not on South Asian soil, that I was prompted to look elsewhere for dramas and cultural entertainment! This sway from typical desi content led me to explore many shows in Arabic! I would like to point out, the popularity of Turkish Dramas, which are translated to Arabic is astounding! And this is catching up further east, as these shows are being translated/or are in process of translation for our desi audience.
I would not count English shows as something new for us to get translated, as growing up in South East Asia we are up to date on what shows are running in the English world! Who can forget ‘Full House’, ‘Air Wolf’ and oh ‘Sesame Street’?
Turkish Dramas may be unfamiliar to you, however, many have been translated into Urdu/Hindi, and can easily be found on YouTube or Dailymotion, or any of the thousands of online streaming websites. I do have to warn you though, sometimes the links may disappear. However, the search for them is worth the effort and soon you’ll be hooked on their enigmatic story telling.
Here are my suggested Turkish dramas to watch that have been translated into Urdu.
1. Diriliş: Ertuğrul / The Revival
A Turkish Era-based drama, which literally translates to: ‘The Revival; Ertuğrul’. The show is based in the 13th Century, and revolves around the life of ‘Ertuğrul’, the father of Osman I, the leader of the Ottoman Turks and the founder and namesake of the Ottoman Empire. This was not aired on any desi channel. However, you can find it easily online.
What is interesting about this Turkish Drama, is the detailed story of the events, which led to the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. The clash with the Knight Templers, and the travel around the Arab world, gives you a bird-eye view of what life was like at that time. We have only read stories of tribes and kingdoms, which dotted the map across Asia, Africa and Europe, before being united under one Empire.
The filming is beautiful! The shots are so spectacular that one would imagine you are watching a scene out of ‘Lord of the Rings’. The music is haunting, yet the celebratory dances are mesmerizing. It is truly a TV series, which captures the colors and passion of a civilization in the making.
For a history buff like me, it was a truly a treat to watch all the frames with awe and interest. Here is the link to the trailer, which is sadly not in Urdu. However, a quick search will soon give you several HD links to the entire 2 seasons, which have been aired thus far.
2. Gümüş/ Noor
This show was so popular in Middle East, that somehow the Religious Clergy took it upon themselves to announce that the addiction to watching this show is a sin! This show literally translated to ‘Silver’ as its name. However, in the Middle East this is known as ‘Noor’, as is the name of the lead actress.
The story is a modern-day romance, which ends well. The usual twists and turns are there challenging cultural stereotypes . The idea of a working wife, with a supportive husband in the European setting of Turkey, has made this show so popular, that people named their kids after the two key actors; ‘Noor’ and ‘Mohanad’.
Recently this popular show was picked up by the Pakistani Channel ‘GEO’ who translated it to Urdu before airing it. If you want to be dazzled by the extreme height of popularity that this show gained in Middle East, read about it on this link.
What is interesting for me, is the huge global success of this series, which has become a subject of research in universities!
3. Muhteşem Yüzyıl / Mera Sultan
Another historical Era-based series, which is set a bit later on in time, as compared to ‘The Revival’. This series is based on the rise of ‘Hareem’, a consort who rises to become the wife of the longest reigning ruler of the Ottomon Empire.
The show is so popular, that there is a commemorative exhibition in Dubai, for its die-hard fans! Here is a link to how you can get the tickets!
Coming back to the story, this series has become so popular, not only due to its story line, but also due to the extravagant lifestyle shown, spectacular sets, and to die for outfits and jewelry! I swear you can find a hundred vendors on eBay claiming to sell the ‘original’ copy of the Hareem-ul-Sultan jewelry.
The series has four seasons, and thus you are assured that you can binge-watch! The story is about how the heir to the throne; Süleyman consolidates his powers after the passing of his father. The show follows the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, while Süleyman reinforces the rule of law throughout the empire, meeting foreign diplomats, and preparing for military campaigns, all set against the backdrop of the tension between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire.
Don’t get turned off by considering this a history lesson. There is the spiciness of the relationships among the members of the imperial household, involving romance and rivilries! Dances, music, romance, and passion completes this, loosely based on facts, series.
Watch the first episode to get hooked!
So TV-buffs, let me know if you have watched any of the Turkish Dramas, or are going to start one soon 🙂