A Pashto version of the first season of the popular Turkish historical series Dirilis: Ertugrul is going to be released after Eid ul Fitr by a group of YouTubers based in Swat in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Members of the young group from Odigram, a historical town of Swat valley, said they were inspired by the Turkish history series after Pakistani state-owned broadcaster PTV started broadcasting its Urdu dubbed version.
The group is shooting at different locations in the Swat valley, with a majority of the scenes being shot at the seventh-century archaeological site of Raja Gira Castle and 11th century Mahmood Ghaznavi Mosque, both of which are in Odigram town.
Muhmmad Abbas, who plays Ertugrul Ghazi, is also the producer of the drama. He is studying for his BS Mathematics degree at the Government Post Graduate Jahanzeb College and said that when he and his friends watched the Turkish series during the first wave of Covid-19, they were impressed by the story and action.
“It impressed us so much that we decided to remake the series in the Pashto language with our own resources,” he told Dawn, adding that they collected their pocket money and made wooden swords, axes, shields as well as jackets with low-cost materials but they were not durable.
Later, they made iron swords and leather jackets copied from the original Turkish series. “I also work as a tailor after school so I know how to sew the jackets,” he said. “Now we are such experts in making the dresses that we receive orders from different parts of the country.”
Abbas said they shoot the scenes every Friday, which is their picnic day. “We collect money and arrange for good food including biryani or other dishes for the shooting day,” he said. “So, we shoot the scenes and have fun.”
The young men working in the drama are either students or shopkeepers and for them, Friday is the most convenient day to shoot since it is their day off.
He said that some roles were given according to the looks of their friends while others chose their roles themselves. “We have almost completed the video shooting for one season for which we received offers from different editing companies but we will do the editing ourselves,” he said.
The drama team said they wanted to show the glorious history of Muslims to Pashto-speaking people by making the drama in the Pashto language.
Noorullah, the man who plays Turgut in the series, said he loved the role of Turgut and also chose to play the role in the Pashto version. “When I watched the Turkish Ertugrul TV series, it really motivated me to make one in Pashto,” he said. “I love Turgut and I chose to play his role.”
He said his group made other short videos but nobody noticed them. When they started shooting Ertugrul in Pashto and shared clips on social media, they attracted the attention of people from across the world.
The team said they will also make films on their own historical heroes if they were provided support and story ideas.
This article first appeared in Dawn.