The first poster for Asim Abbasi’s upcoming series Barzakh starring Sanam Saeed and Fawad Khan was unveiled at the Series Mania Festival in the French city of Lille on Friday ahead of its world premiere. The Zindagi original family drama is the only series selected from South Asia for the annual festival, as per a press release.
Barzakh will debut in the showcase’s International Panorama, a 12-title competitive section where it will be eligible for the best series, director, actress, actor, student jury, and audience awards. Saeed, writer-director Abbasi and producer Shailja Kejriwal attended the event in Lille.
Khan, who is essaying the role of a guilt-ridden single parent, spoke about how elated he was about Barzakh making the Series Mania cut. “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.”
Saeed, who plays the central female character, shared what got her to sign the project initially. “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,” she said.
The Cake actor further stressed that the series will be “very different” from the mainstream family dramas on screen. “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 honoured that it is having its world premiere at the Series Mania Festival.”
Barzakh, shot in Karachi and the picturesque Hunza Valley, is a perfect blend of magical realism and supernatural fantasy, according to Abbasi. Much like his film Cake, Barzakh also explores a “family reunion setting and deals with themes of love, loss, and reconciliation.”
Talking about Barzakh’s first poster, Asim said that “Love and memory are both central thematic components of Barzakh.” He continued, “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.”
Producer Kejriwal also shared her excitement about Barzakh getting a world premiere at the annual festival. “Barzakh is the first ever Indo-Pak cross-border series to premiere globally, and presenting it to the world together as a team is truly an emotional moment. Amidst the excitement, we are extremely proud to be presenting the series poster – as enigmatic and as beautiful as the series we have collectively created. This has been a genuine labour of love that has transcended borders, signified by the fact that we will be premiering to a wholly international audience that has gathered from across the globe,” she said.
Thanking the whole team that brought the family drama to a global stage, Kejriwal added, “Barzakh has come to fruition through unified passion, vision, and bravery from all involved and I would like to extend my wholehearted gratitude to each artist and crew member, as we could not have mounted this ambitious project alone. We hope audiences and fans of original storytelling from around the world will share in our passion and love for this series.”
Waqas Hassan, another producer for the series, dedicated the series to fathers. “From the mountains of Hunza to Lille, it’s been a crazy journey. This one is for the fathers.”
A family drama centered around an elderly man’s quest for love, Barzakh explores 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. The family drama had its world premiere on March 18.
Held annually at Lille since 2010, the Series Mania festival aims to recognise and curate the best series from across the world. The festival brings together the “best screenwriters, directors, and artists together under one roof.”