Bee Gul Se Sawal ~ You Ask She Answers

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Talkhiyan and Pehchan ~ Two serials beloved by us here at Desi Rants N Raves. New visitors to the blog would have to be forgiven if they thought Bibi, Apo, Janu Baba, Zoey, Jugnu, Kuku, Laila, Mrs. Khan, and Mansoor were real people, such is the enthusiasm and passion with which we’ve discussed them.

I can’t speak for others, but I know I’ve re-watched Talkhiyan quite a few times since it first aired and I still walk away teary-eyed. Similarly, even though I know what its all about, Pehchan leaves me in a reflective mood after every watch. There is something about Mansoor’s mother merrily chatting away about gol gol kabab and her not so perfect bahu, and Laila’s mother’s never-ending boasts about her handsome, oonche khandan wala damad, that is very real, as in really annoyingly real, that makes me so wanna get off the couch and whack these ladies.

The point is that in this day and age of utterly forgettable cut paste 2+2=4 stories, for one particular serial to leave such an impact, to make such a connect with the viewers, means that the writer and the team associated with it are on to something; and for the writer and the team to get the connect issue right twice, means they have more than a passing familiarity with the art of telling stories. Yes, works of art is a perfect description for Talkhiyan and PehchanAb yeh alag baat hai ke TRP gurus tell us otherwise, cheerfully informing us as they do that both these serials are flops.

Theek, sahih kehtey hongey woh loag. But then here’s my question: Why then is it that their so-called hit serials are forgotten within minutes of being declared mega successes? Why is it that even after two or so years Talkhiyan, a supposedly flop serial, continues to be organically discovered, sans a publicity campaign to convince viewers about its greatness, and is being appreciated by a worldwide audience? Surely, kuch tau baat hogi na is flop serial mein jo un hit serials mein nahin?

Leaving aside the TRP nonsense, which is perhaps only understood by those with an intellect far superior than mine, I can easily say that it is the intelligently told compelling stories, honesty of storytelling, complexity of characters, aesthetic sensibility of the visual narrative, creativity of sound design, and amazing attention to even the minutest detail in the frame, that make projects like TalkhiyanPehchan, Kaun Qamar ‘Ara, Firdous Ki DozakhPheeki Theek Kehta Hai, Jashn Ka Din Hai, and several single plays in the Kitni Girhain Baqi Hain series, such standouts. And standing behind these memorable standouts is the person whose labor of love most of these projects are – Bee Gul.

It is my absolute pleasure and privilege to announce that the very reticent Bee Gul has agreed to being interviewed by us here at DRNR. Given that this is her first ever interview I’m sure there are tons of things you all would like to ask, and so here’s your chance to offer feedback to and ask interesting and relevant questions. Koshish kijeye to avoid the usual qisam ke sawal – aap konse sabun se chehra dhoti hain, konsa shampoo lagati hain, aap ke husn ka raaz kiya hai, you know, those silly morning show types – and ask the kind you’ve always wished somebody would sit her down and ask.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • The last date for posting your questions is Friday, May 15th 2015.
  • Post each question as a separate comment.
  • Avoid personal comments and refrain from rude questions and abusive language.
  • Please try to not repeat questions that’ve already been asked.

So without further ado kijeye sochna shuru and likhye jaldi se apne sawal …  and as you don your thinking caps I leave you with the OST from Bee Gul’s mini serial, Jashn Ka Din Hai  ….  enjoy!

Written by SZ~

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57 replies

  1. thank u very much sz for providing this chance. i wanted to ask a lot of questions from OKB but alas exams were going on so missed that golden chance but surely will try to completely utilize this chance.
    P.S its a personal request if u can once again ask OKB to have a video chat /interview bcz it was a real fun watching few that were present in his interview

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  2. what do think what is the prime reason for the plight our industry is facing?(channel owners.weak script,direction.production or untalented actor)

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  3. M a huge fan of pakistani dramas..
    Bee gul ji wo kaun si kahani ya drama h jisse judne ki apki khwahish h?? K agar mene wo chij kri hoti to shayad behtar hoti… ???

    P.s.– @javeria I too wish if okb could be called back..

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  4. Have you seen any long lasting indian serials… with saas bahu bakwaas??? What do you think?? Is it an insult for actors and art itself? ??

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  5. 1. I didn’t watch Talkhiyan or Pehchan but I watched Zidd and unlike a lot of viewers, I really liked it. My question is: Did your script come to life on the screen the way you had penned it, or did you feel it didn’t translate well on the screen (and maybe that’s why it didn’t resonate with the viewers)? I felt it was the latter (maybe a wrong choice of director). But I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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  6. 2. At times, I felt Pehchan and Zidd were giving completely opposite messages. I read Pehchan’s reviews and the take-home message I got was that there is a life beyond marriage. In ZIdd, Zee says the complete opposite to Saman – something on the lines of “Saari izzat shohar kee wajah say hai”. So how do you reconcile these two conflicting messages for the viewers?

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  7. I personally enjoy watching zid and my question if we come across main characters of pehchan and zid in real life. Which women we can call as successful women?

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  8. I loved Pehchan and Talkhiyan, but Zid was (sorry to say) meaningless story.. No matter how i tried, nothing there made sense to me.. Please avoid writing for commercial reasons, because aisa likhnay walay bht hain, jo Aap kr sakti hain Vo bht km log kr saktay hain…
    I just want to ask did u write Zidd urself, for a change? Or u were requested to write something to be made in “Amreeka” ?

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  9. Thankyou SZ for this brilliant opportunity..

    Beegul.. I just find myself so awestruck while watching your brilliantly written plays.. They gave me so much to ponder on.. Or atleast i tend to use my brain (which has became so rare) in getting the hidden meaning behind words.. Aap ke lye yahi aata he zehn me k ” Darya ko kooze me band karne ka f’un aata he aapko” ..

    I would like to ask what type of difficulties (if any) you had to face while adopting the story for Talkhiyan? Because the way you adopted was magnificient…

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  10. I recently watched Kaun Qamar Araa and Pheeky Theek Kehta He.. And Firdous ki Dozakh i have watched twice n absolutely loved it . these three telefilms were just too good.. I wanted to ask what do you enjoy more writing telefilms or dramas?

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  11. Bee gul, I am a huge admirer of your plays. The first one was Talkhiyan and I wanted to watch it because it was based on The God of small things- a book that both my mom and I really like. I loved watching the book unfolding into all those beautiful scenes on screen. Would you do more novel based plays in the future? Please do, that would be really wonderful.

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  12. I’ve noticed the perfect use of poetry in your plays, especially Pechan – this was the play that made me really wish I could somehow interact with you because it made me really think.
    How do you come up with the poems, shayri? Really liked the poem in the ost of talkhiyan!

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  13. Do you think making it big in the commercial plays is important? I hope you write a play next that is artsy and also gets aired on a popular channel. Would you write for a movie?

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  14. Two brilliant long plays that made me think- Kaun Qamar Ara and Firdous Ki dozak.. How did you come up with the idea for these? How much thought goes into developing each character?

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  15. Pehchan gave me a great sense of individual identity mix with the true colors of traditional values..
    So How hard was it to write Kuku and not make her a hated character.. It was a complex character ..and to say Director and Actor did great justice to that

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  16. I strongly believe director couldnt do justice to Zidd.. But after all this do you think you will give it a go in writing commercial plays but with somone who can do justice to your writings.. I simplyyy loved the last lines of last scene.. It was all Bee Gul written over them

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  17. Sz thank you so much, I was wishing that someday may be you will ask BEE Gull. , you made it . Thanks SZ
    Bee Gullji I am a big fan of your dramas ,watching your wonderfully written plays make me think so much in depth. And after watching both Tallkhiya and Pehchan I understood the deep meaning . They both are so close to my heart. Thanks again .

    What would like to say about the Indian writer Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzarji ?

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  18. Can you provide me link to download Talkhiyan??
    I have heard about it.. It has Sanam saeed i guess
    I havnt heard Pehchan..
    And I have watched a few plays ib Kitni girhein baqi hain… I love this show

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  19. Omg! i cant believe i got the chance to tell u how much i love ur work. Talkhiyan & Pehchan are my two personal favourites, after watching these masterpieces i cant bring myself to watch the crap on tv these days. u have set the standard so high. i m a guy not a girl & boys normally dont like these kind of serials but u wont believe ,i m watching them again online .They take me to some other world. I will always remember Sanam as bibi, Hina as Apo g, Alishba as Laila & Iffat omer as Kuku. Thats the power of ur writing and amaazzing direction by Khalid Ahmed. & What can i say about Zoe & Jugnu. plz bring Zoe back to screen, i really wanna see her lil more grown up. & pleeeeeez work with my favourite actresses Sanam & Iffat omer again in some other masterpiece, i m dying to see them in ur project with Khalid Ahmed. so when r u coming up with ur new project ????? 🙂

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  20. SZ, thank you so much for this rare opportunity! And thanks Bee Gul for agreeing to this.

    How do you write – I mean, do you systematically set aside some time every day to write?

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  21. Do you discuss what you are writing with someone (like a friend or family)? Do you show them drafts of your work or do you just carry on writing until you finish?

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  22. @SZ thanks alot for arranging this and @BG It’s a real pleasure to have you here on DRNR. I loved Talkhiyan and Pehchan was really quite special for me. I absolutely loved the discussions we had here on Pehchan thread, exploring its sub-text and its strong connection to real life… I particularly enjoy your take on women in our society, women with some real substance – somebody a modern day woman can relate to. Love your almost-artsy yet not-out-of-this-world approach, … I really hope we get to see more of that brilliance on screen.

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  23. I loved how you played with the notion of mazboot vs kamzor aurat in Pehchan. I thought that was sheer brilliance. What inspired you?

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  24. I would love to hear your take on Zidd we saw on screen. To be honest, I could see BG’s hallmark peeking through every now and then, but then there was rest of it that didn’t make much sense or connection, as if it had nothing to do with BG or the rest of the story. Seemed a bit lost.. Would love to hear from you where and how did the original Zidd differ from the Zidd we saw on screen? if & what you thought went wrong? If it was all in your hand what would you have done differently?

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  25. Your adaptation for The God Of Small Things was fab. If there was one more adaptation you could do which one would that be?

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  26. If you were to write screenplay for a remake or a sequel of any TV serial (recent or classics) what will you choose? and why?

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  27. Could you tell us a little bit about your early influences, how you first got interested in Urdu literature? Was your family into reading, any writers in the family, did they guide you as to what you should read, were you encouraged to write?

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  28. The women in your stories do not shy away from questioning longstanding societal norms and challenging the status quo. Non-conformists they might be, but no matter how badtameez, rebellious, or immoral these women are perceived to be, their personal moral compass remains pointed in the right direction. They don’t go looking for trouble but if they do get into trouble they find the strength within themselves to stand up for what they believe to be right. In many ways this very admittedly clunky description can also be used to describe Ismat Chugtai’s women. How inspired and influenced, or not, are you by her work?

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  29. By the same token, how influenced are you by the ideas and ideals of the Progressive Writers Movement. Had you been around in their heyday would you have counted yourself as a card carrying member?

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  30. If you were to write a sequel to Pehchan, say ten years after the fact, what would we find Kuku, Laila, Mansoor, Mrs Khan, Sa’di, Khurram doing?

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  31. Films are the big thing in the Pakistani media industry now, have you been approached to write one? And were you to write a film, how significantly different, or not, would it be from the kinds of stories you have written for TV so far?

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  32. Have you been approached by Bollywood filmmakers to write for them? And if you had a choice which Indian director would you like to collaborate with?

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  33. You are often described as a non-commercial writer; how valid, if at all, is the distinction between artsy and mainstream? I ask this because at the time it aired Talkhiyan’s lukewarm reception was ascribed to that fact that it was an artsy project catering to a niche market, but its later success has proven that it did infact have popular appeal, and would’ve probably done pretty well initially as well had it been promoted and marketed differently. Your thoughts?

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  34. Feminist writers vs women writers; writing in a woman’s voice and telling the story as seen thru her eyes vs women writing about women and their issues– your take on these distinctions. Where do you fit in as a writer?

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  35. Recently watched Zid and I think it portrayed many aspects of lives of those living abroad. Many of us felt characters of the play and I agree with the outcome as happy reunions are not always possible. I am glad women are able to raise their voice and becoming powerful but there are limitations. No doubt, women-rights have been suppressed and time has come to wake up but with cautions. I suggest this encouragement to continue and I will look forward to watch more dramas on social issues and how to overcome peacefully.

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