The 10-part show, consisting of 55-minute episodes, will be uploaded from Aug. 11. All episodes will be available at the same time, enabling binge-watching.
The series follows four self-proclaimed Churails – strong, independent-minded women – who operate a covert detective agency to expose cheating husbands amongst the city’s elite. As their operations expand, they come to be saviors of abused, harassed and mistreated women. Storylines cover issues including child abuse, sexism, and domination along class and racial lines.
The show is directed by Asim Abbasi, the U.K.-based director who in 2018 made “Cake,” Pakistan’s acclaimed, but ultimately unsuccessful, Oscar contender. The cast includes Sarwat Gilani Mirza, Nimra Bucha, Mehar Bano and Yasra Rizvi.
Commissioning the show is a bold move for an Indian streamer – not just because of the series’ strong female-empowerment narrative – but also because of politics. Diplomatic relations between the two countries fluctuates from uneasy to outright hostile, with repercussions for the entertainment industry. Though Indian films remain popular in Pakistan, and Pakistani performers are active in India, the two industries have boycotted each other’s content at times of political tension.
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Zee5 Global was launched in October 2018 by long-standing South Asian broadcast giant Zee. Operating with a hybrid business model, straddling subscription-video on demand (SVoD) and ad-supported (AVoD) variants, as well as 60 linear channels, it now supports 18 languages and its app available in 173 countries.
The Zindagi bouquet was launched recently as an on-demand expansion into international content. Zee5 has previously acquired films and series originating from Pakistan, but not all of it is in the new bouquet. The company says that Zindagi’s more diverse focus will become evident in the near future.
“There is an increasing need for women’s voices to be heard, and not stereotype fierce women for their strength, or patronize them for their insecurities. ‘Churails’ is bold, vulnerable and empowering all at the same time,” said Shailja Kejriwal, chief creative officer – special projects, Zee Entertainment Enterprises.