Written and directed by Asim Abbasi, the series features Fawad Khan and Sanam Saeed in chief roles. Produced by Waqas Hassan and Shailja Kejriwal, the series will have its world premiere at Series Mania Festival where its poster was also launched.
he Legend of Maula Jatt (2022), helmed by Bilal Lashari with Fawad Khan in the titular role may have brought the actor out of hibernation. But now that he is here, one project is following another. In an extensive interview Fawad Khan told Instep that he never planned for his acting projects to follow one after the other; it happened almost serendipitously.
Just recently, the trailer and poster launch event of Money Back Guarantee was held in Lahore in an elaborate fashion with the actor present along with the director and other cast members as well as the press. While Money Back Guarantee will run in local cinemas upon release in April, another Fawad Khan project is also creating strong (positive) buzz.
However, before we talk about Fawad Khan’s upcoming project which will have its world premiere at Series Mania Festival, we must talk about director Asim Abbasi who is helming the project titled Barzakh (meaning purgatory).
An experimental, critically acclaimed director who’d rather make an intelligent film than fall in the trap of “formulaic films”, his resume includes Pakistani film, Cake as well as the explosive Churails, with the latter airing on Zee Zindagi. The channel isn’t available in Pakistan anymore, but it is one that is not only willing to showcase content as popular as Humsafar but also allow good, original content even if it is with artists from across the border. It was the experience of working with Zee Zindagi on Churails that convinced Asim Abbasi to work with them again.
In 2023, he is back with a new series called Barzakh. This time, the cast includes Pakistani cinema’s biggest name, Fawad Khan, and a very nuanced actor, Sanam Saeed in the lead. The last time they worked together was in a Pakistani drama called Zindagi Gulzar Hai.
Before Series Mania, when asked about working with Asim Abbasi, Fawad told Instep earlier, “What a treat to work with Asim. I think Asim (and his team) were sorted and knew what they wanted and they did it in the specified time, which is actually the biggest treat for an actor.”
Barzakh, even before release, has momentum. The selection, for instance, at Series Mania Festival is not an honor bestowed on every series.
Noted a press statement, “Barzakh has the distinct honor of being the only series selected from South Asia. The series will debut in the showcase’s International Panorama, a 12-title competitive section where it will be eligible for the best series, director, actress, act-or, student jury, and audience awards.”
“Love and memory are both central thematic components of Barzakh. We wanted a visual that represented love in its eternal manifestation, but, which like memory, also had a fleeting, ephemeral quality about – like time slipping by and evaporating around us, leaving behind a distant, but vivid, memory of the moment it all began.” – Asim Abbasi
Among those who were representing the film at the festival were writer-director Asim Abbasi, actor Sanam Saeed, and producer Shailja Kejriwal. The poster was unveiled in the French city of Lille, with the premiere coming up.
Without giving away spoilers, in Barzakh, it is said to be a narrative spun around “an elderly man’s quest for love.”
It is an exploration of “intergenerational trauma between fathers and sons. The narrative is framed within a fantastical world of supernatural beings and otherworldly events that reveal the chasms between life, death, and rebirth.”
Fawad Khan, who essays a single parent in the series, said about Barzakh, “Coinciding with our Series Mania premiere, our poster that we now reveal to the world offers an early glimpse into what can be expected from the series - abstract beauty and ambiguity that reflects the complexities in navigating human relationships in a post-modern world.”
Sanam Saeed, one of the protagonists in the series, said on the occasion, “It is simply surreal to be attending the Series Mania Festival. Barzakh is a story that I connected with from the minute I heard it and in Asim Abbasi’s hands, it’s been crafted into a moving, beautiful series that will renew our faith in love and life. It’s what led me to not only take on the challenging role but also made me look at life in a different light. It is very different from what we have seen on screen and all the actors have performed extremely different diverse roles. I am so proud of this series and am honored that it is having its world premiere at the Series Mania Festival.”
Shot in Karachi and Hunza, the series, to put briefly, deals with themes of “love, loss and reconciliation”.
Asim Abbasi, who was present at Series Mania, alluding to the poster, which has now released, said, “Love and memory are both central thematic components of Barzakh. We wanted a visual that represented love in its eternal manifestation, but, which like memory, also had a fleeting, ephemeral quality about – like time slipping by and evaporating around us, leaving behind a distant, but vivid, memory of the moment it all began.”
The synopsis is strong enough to rope us in and with this cast and crew, expectations for Barzakh are higher. Will it live up to its promise or not remains to be seen but from the poster alone, we’re already sure that this series will be different.
It is entirely possible that by the time you’re reading this, it may have had its moment at the festival. Keep watching this space for more updates on Barzakh and ofcourse, Fawad Khan.