The recent Turkish film on Netflix, 10 Days of a Good Man, has caught the fancy of many avid watchers in India as well as across the globe. And its part two, 10 Days of a Bad Man, will release on August 18 and is currently in post-production stage.
Not just that, MX Player, You Tube and Zee 5 also have a separate section for Turkish shows and films. From the times when Turkish shows dubbed in Hindi were aired on television channels like Zindagi to popular actors working in Indian adaptations, we find out what makes them popular.
It’s not the availability of OTT platforms or free time during the lockdown that account for the popularity of Turkish shows. Youngsters were earlier hooked to them on YouTube, when these were dubbed or streamed with subtitles. But with Zindagi channel and its first two successful shows from Turkiye, The Girl Named Feriha (Adini Feriha Koydum) and Fatmagul (Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?), it seeped into the drawing rooms in India. Which is why just a year after its telecast, Fatmagul was adapted into a Hindi television show titled Kya Qusoor Hai Amla Ka?
Actress Pankhuri Awasthy Rode, who played the titular character of Amla in the show, shares, “Just like South Korean shows, the best thing about Turkish dramas is that they are finite. They are subtle with no over-the-top dramatic scenes, unlike Indian shows. In fact, when we shot the adaptations, particular attention was given that they were as close as possible to the original. In a way, the only difference between Amla and Fatmagul was geographical; the places were apart but the story, emotions, family values, everything was the same.”
Fatmagul was particularly a hit in Arab countries and South Asian subcontinent in countries like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal. In fact, in 2021 it was adapted into a Spanish show, Alba. It’s also because Turkiye is the confluence of Muslim and European cultures. The subjects are relatable too, besides feel good dramas like Fatmagul and Feriha are about social issues like discrimination, class divide and corruption.
Expansion of genres
According to TRT World, export of these dramas generates a business of approximately $500 million per year. And the government of Turkiye is hoping that these figures will increase to $1billion by 2023. Available in many genres, Dizi is what these dramas are called in their language.
While Zee network had realised the potential of Turkish shows best, it is global platforms like Netflix that pushed them into North American and Western European markets.
Binbir Gece and Dirilis: Ertugrul are two original Turkish shows in different genres, these are very popular by the name 1001 Nights and Resurrection: Ertugrul, respectively, amongst non-Turkish audiences. While the former is a soap opera loosely based on Middle-Eastern folk tales, the latter is a five-season historical fiction series, followed by a sequel, Rise of Empires: Ottoman. The second season of Ottoman was dropped in 2002 with six episodes.
The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, praised Turkish show Resurrection and even requested the channel to translate it into Urdu for the public. Author, Abhinav Pandya even compared Dirilis: Ertugrul’s success in India to that of the Israeli drama Fauda, saying, “Just as Fauda fandom signals the shift of India’s influencers towards a more militant and exclusionary nationalism, the Ertugrul craze is a signpost written for the alienation of many of India’s 180 million Muslims from that dominant political culture and their search for solidarity elsewhere.” It was because of this reason that Resurrection was a craze in Jammu and Kashmir, especially among the Muslims.
Owing to its craze worldwide, Binbir Gece was adapted into a Hindi show, Katha Ankahee, and was launched on Sony Television on December 5, 2022. Actors Aditi Sharma and Adnan Khan essayed the lead roles in the show.
Adnan Khan shares, “I did not watch the original show just to be more authentic. Even others did the same. But, at the same time, the moment it was offered to me, I was impressed. Due to a tight schedule of shooting, I do not get the time to explore more Turkish dramas but they are on my wish-list.”
In fact, after the audience lapped up Katha Ankahee, another Turkish adaptation has been ordered by the channel. It is titled Mere Apne, which is a remake of Bride of Istanbul (2017-2019). Actor Jay Bhanushali and Bigg Boss-fame Tina Datta are playing the lead roles in this show.
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