Move over K-dramas dizi days are here

A new entrant is challenging the dominance of the beloved K-dramas within India’s voracious appetite for international television. Turkish dramas, affectionately referred to as “dizi”, are carving out their own niche, witnessing a surge in viewership within the country. Among these, the forthcoming Hindi-dubbed release of “Kudus Fatihi Selahaddin Eyyubi” stands as a testament to the growing allure of dizi on Indian screens.

This trend began gaining traction after the overwhelming reception of the historical drama, “Dirilis: Ertugrul” since its entrance into the Indian market in 2019. A mix of elaborate storytelling, extravagant production values, and adherence to cultural ethos has struck a chord with the Indian audience.

The narrative is set to expand with the introduction of “Selahaddin Eyyubi” in Hindi, scheduled for release on February 20, accessible via the YouTube channel of Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. The creation of Hindi dubs for Turkish serials underscores the vast potential that content creators see in the Indian viewership, whose tastes have evolved to embrace international standards of television dramas.

Kashif Ansari of Ansari Shah Films, the producer who has been instrumental in bringing both “Dirilis: Ertugrul” and “Selahaddin Eyyubi” to Indian audiences, speaks to the unique position that Turkish dramas have secured globally. “There’s been a remarkable upswing in the viewership of our shows, particularly in the last ten years,” Ansari observes. The Indian response to “Diriliş: Ertuğrul”, as well as “Intersection”, “Ishq-e-Mamnu”, and “As The Crow Flies” — all which have enjoyed a warm reception — fuels the decision to further invest in the region with Hindi and Urdu dubbings.

“Selahaddin Eyyubi” is not merely entertainment but simultaneously a conduit for ideas of justice, equality, and peace, which are sorely needed in today’s fractious global landscape. Ansari is driven by the belief that storytelling can and should be a salve for the wounds of our times. Highlighting the profound legacy of the 12th-century leader Saladin, the drama promises to inspire contemporary audiences with themes that respect the universal yearning for harmony and understanding across ethnic and religious divides.

In an era of intense geopolitical strife and social turmoil, Ansari looks to the powerful stories from our shared history, suggesting that lessons from the past such as those embodied by Saladin are imperative. According to the producer, “World peace is teetering on a precarious balance. There’s a relentless rush to assert dominance — be it through religious or military might. ‘Selahaddin Eyyubi’ mirrors a period where the quest for peace, justice, and equality was paramount. It’s time to reflect on the legacy we leave for the generations to follow.”

Ansari further articulates his commitment to bringing more of Turkey’s historical and cultural richness to the Indian audience, through easily accessible Hindi and Urdu dubs. His aspirations are not limited to the Indian subcontinent, as he envisions taking the magnum opus of “Selahaddin Eyyubi” global, with a hopeful eye on the series becoming a beacon for viewers across the planet, projecting an audience as vast as seven billion.

The trajectory of Turkish dramas in India underlines an evolving cultural landscape where regional stories, steeped in universal values, transcend borders and resonate with global audiences. As the next chapter of Selahaddin’s story prepares to unfold on Indian screens, the fervor surrounding dizi might soon parallel, if not eclipse, the frenzy that K-dramas once ignited. With profound messages and grand narratives, the dizi days in India herald a diverse and robust future for international programming.

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