Are you ready for a Pak-Turk TV series? 'Lala Turki' based on the Khilafat Movement is in the works

Are you ready for a Pak-Turk TV series? 'Lala Turki' based on the Khilafat Movement is in the works

Episodes to be broadcast simultaneously in Pakistan as well as Turkey and slotted for release in 2023.
Updated 14 Jan, 2021

Ever since Ertugrul stormed on to national television, 'speaking' Urdu and flashing his sword as he vanquished the wicked, Pakistan has been smitten.

There have also been plenty of debates on how Pakistani producers need to create similar local content since it’s such a hit with audiences. The argument had also been raised that a private Pakistani producer couldn’t possibly afford to invest in a series of Ertugrul’s stature.

A solution to this imbroglio was recently put forward: a Pak-Turk collaboration. A joint venture between Pakistan and Turkey would not only strengthen political ties and goodwill between both countries but would also benefit their respective entertainment industries, with artists collaborating together on a single project.

It turned out that Tekdin Films, one of the Turkish producers of Dirilis: Ertrugrul, also considered this to be a good idea. In an announcement some months ago, actors and producers Adnan Siddiqui and Humayun Saeed had revealed that a collaboration was very much underway.

Tekdin Films had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dr Kashif Ansari of Ansari Films and TRT Films which would lead to a collective project and Adnan and Humayun would be overseeing casting and production related decisions in Pakistan.

“This could make Pakistani entertainment go international,” Adnan had told me at the time, obviously referring to how a Pakistani original series is yet to air on a major OTT platform like Netflix or Amazon. Certain Turkish productions, on the other hand, were already major hits worldwide. A collaborative effort could help Pakistan finally reach the lofty heights of internationally acclaimed online content providers.

“You’ll know more soon,” Adnan had also promised. And now, we do know a lot more about the Pak-Turk venture that is already being scripted and is scheduled to begin shooting once the casting and logistical considerations have been ironed out. A grand, star-studded dinner in Karachi this past weekend was organised in honour of Kamal Tekdin of Tekdin Films as well as other Turkish delegates, which included Celal Al, who played the role of Abdur Rahman Alp in Ertugrul.

And a story, it turns out, has been formulated …

Lala Turki

In an official statement issued by the production team, the first Pak-Turk collaboration is going to be based around the Khilafat Movement, which was spearheaded by Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar and Shaukat Ali Johar in the Indo-Pak subcontinent.

Also part of the movement was Abdur Rahman Peshawari, a migrant from Jammu Kashmir who had settled in Peshawar and had actively gathered funds and men to aid the flailing Ottoman Empire. Lala Peshawari, as he had been known at the time, had then set off on a ship and on reaching Turkey, had fought two battles as part of the Ottoman army.

He was declared a ‘Ghazi’ (a fighter for faith) and was sent by the Turks to Afghanistan as an ambassador. There, he became well known as ‘Lala Turki’ and was unfortunately assassinated due to a case of mistaken identity.

According to the producers, the story of ‘Lala Turki will be retold in the form of three seasons, 30 episodes each. The episodes will be broadcast simultaneously in Pakistan as well as Turkey and are slotted for release in 2023, a year that is significant for Turkey since it earmarks its 100 years of independence. This series is a way of acknowledging the ongoing support and friendship between Turkey and Pakistan.

The Pakistani contingent

The question remains, though, of how many Pakistani artists will be part of the series? “At least 50 to 60,” says Adnan Siddiqui. “It’s a story that spans both Pakistan and Turkey so a lot of Pakistani actors will be needed.”

Will the title role of Lala Turki be played by a Pakistani or a Turk? “The casting hasn’t been determined yet. But the script is being written and it’s going to be finalised soon,” says Adnan.

And Humayun Saeed and he may currently be looking over the production details but will we also be seeing them act in the series? Again, that’s not confirmed. “We will primarily be acting as executive producers,” says Adnan.

The early 1900s, the time during which Lala Turki lived, was a tumultuous time in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Movements for independence were gathering pace and dynamic Hindu and Muslim leaders were emerging. While focusing primarily on the Khilafat Movement, it is also planned that the series will depict the historical backdrop: for instance, the vision of Allama Iqbal and the leadership of Jinnah.

Images posted by both Adnan Siddiqui and Humayun Saeed some weeks ago showed them and Dr Kashif Ansari meeting up with CPEC Chairman General Asim Saleem Bajwa. Government support will evidently be needed in order to allow permission for shooting in certain locations and facilitation of visas. “It’s an extensive production and funds will also be needed,” points out Adnan.

In a recent post on Instagram, Humayun Saeed also acknowledged the government’s support in the upcoming project, saying that he “would like to especially thank Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi as well as our esteemed ministers Mr Shibli Faraz and Mr Shehryar Afridi who have all extended their full support in bringing this historic project to life which will be shot in and feature actors from both countries...”

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

It’s exciting news. And unlike many announcements in the past, where international projects would be planned out only to fizzle out shortly afterwards, Lala Turki may just become a reality. Both Adnan Siddiqui and Humayun Saeed have been posting updates regularly and soon, the casting process will begin.

It’s an unprecedented collaboration but one that makes a lot of sense, given Pak-Turk goodwill and the success of Turkish shows in Pakistan. And some of our most popular heroes would look great, vanquishing evil with swords on horses.

We’re keeping our eyes peeled for more updates.


Marquis de Sade Jan 14, 2021 12:04pm
The latest heart-throb...
Zak Jan 14, 2021 12:18pm
Great. Looking forward to it. Hope they do one one the Turk rulers who ruled all the different kingdoms of south Asia.
MJQ Jan 14, 2021 12:49pm
Would love to watch this series, idea looks brilliant.
anna Jan 14, 2021 12:55pm
Can't wait. Much better than watching cow dung serials and movies from across the border.
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Jan 14, 2021 01:26pm
Welcome back to the club and the clubhouse. As always, keep it up and hang on tough.
Chrís Dăn Jan 14, 2021 02:04pm
Wow. Very interesting.
M. Saeed Jan 14, 2021 02:46pm
Let us also combine the two languages in the joint venture as roots of the word "Urdu" are Turkish and there are a large number of common words already in the two languages, as we learnt from the English sub-titles of the serial, Ertugrul.
Fayza Jan 14, 2021 03:02pm
Hopefully the casting is appropriate and sensible
Ali Mehdi Jan 14, 2021 04:18pm
It is complete contrast to the experience that Pakistani artists had in Bollywood. Indians would want to work with them but show disrespect n state that these artists are making big money from Bollywood. Now with Turkey it’s like working at home. It’s a very good thing for our artists. We welcome Turkish artists to our country wholeheartedly. I think we can stop looking eastwards completely.
M. Emad Jan 14, 2021 04:24pm
Turkish TV audience has a different taste than Pakistan. 'Lala Turki' could be a super flop in Turkey.
Divyesh Bariy Jan 14, 2021 04:24pm
RationalBabu Jan 14, 2021 04:27pm
No distancing or face masks? They should be setting an example!
Nadir S. Jan 14, 2021 04:53pm
Why are we so infatuated with the Turks? What are we getting in return. They seem to be just selling their brands and attracting our tourists. Need to see things flowing in the other direction as well.
Hjk Jan 14, 2021 05:25pm
@anna looks like someone is dependent of others for entertainment
M. Emad Jan 14, 2021 06:18pm
Please also make TV serials:- • 'Lala Azerbaijan'. • 'Lala Malaysia'.
Chrís Dăn Jan 14, 2021 07:49pm
We should re-make Maula Jatt and this Turkish guy should be the hero. A perfect Maula Jatt.
sati Jan 14, 2021 07:59pm
Turkish dramas are far superior to Pakistani and Indian dramas and films.
RAja Raman Jan 14, 2021 08:11pm
@sati "Turkish dramas are far superior to Pakistani and Indian dramas and films." Really ?!? Good joke. Maximum number of Bollywood movies download happens from Pakistan.
Emma Jan 14, 2021 09:30pm
Finally a good quality historical drama from Pakistan.
Idris Jan 15, 2021 12:14am
Unnecessarily wasting Pakistani rupees to Turkey. Instead feed Balochs
M. Saeed Jan 15, 2021 12:51am
@M. Emad , but a super hit in BD.
M. Saeed Jan 15, 2021 12:52am
@M. Emad you will never agree to honesty.
Veli Jan 15, 2021 07:47am
Awesome news! I wish the best for this endeavor. Also know that moviemaking is a hit or miss. Many series make early finale in Turkey due to low ratings.
Sehar Jan 15, 2021 10:05am
Pak turk❤️
Raj Jan 15, 2021 12:44pm
It is simply unbelievable that how deprived can one country be of entertainment, achievements, welfare, economy, sports. Even their celebrations are based on failures of enemies or success of allies. Truly messed up nation.
Kokhar Jan 15, 2021 12:46pm
First I thought our entertainment industry was depended on India beacuse India has bigger size but now we look dwarf even next to a country not even half our size. Do we have anything of our own?
Kokhar Jan 15, 2021 12:48pm
Economy in hands of China, Entertainment in hands of Turkey.
Jay Jan 15, 2021 01:19pm
Gosh is there anything left that this nation doesn't needs to import.
Sema Jan 15, 2021 01:23pm
Pakistani drama makers will finally learn how to make historical dramas or a period piece. Most of them have very limited knowledge of history and fail to get the details right.
KAZIM REZA Jan 15, 2021 05:05pm
A great jump for Pakistan that would set her on an international movie forum with global fame and focus. Pakistani culture and literature - would also get the benefit on the way.
Kk Jan 15, 2021 11:08pm
@M. Emad a Lala series and a Babu series