Hindistani, OSNs first home production secured the award for Best Arabic Drama at the ASBU BroadcastPro awards that were held in Dubai last November. In an exclusive interview, executive producer Khulud Abu-Homos and director Ows Al Sharqy share production notes with Vijaya Cherian Touted as the first musical comedy series in the Gulf, Hindistani […]
Hindistani, OSNs first home production secured the award for Best Arabic Drama at the ASBU BroadcastPro awards that were held in Dubai last November. In an exclusive interview, executive producer Khulud Abu-Homos and director Ows Al Sharqy share production notes with Vijaya Cherian
Touted as the first musical comedy series in the Gulf, Hindistani has become a sensation among Arab viewers especially in Saudi Arabia for its engaging content, opulent settings, a prominent Gulf cast and more importantly, for adding an elaborate and colourful musical element that most other drama series in the region do not have. In every 30-minute episode, we see Saudi actors dance to a fusion of Arabic and Indian music set against the backdrop of historical sites in the Indian cities of Nawalgarh, Jaipur, Jaiselmer and Mumbai. At first glance, the dance could be mistaken for a Bollywood number but it is not.
Hindistani is OSNs first original Arabic drama production. It was launched as OSNs flagship Arabic drama series on the pay TV networks new Arabic entertainment channel OSN YAHALA! HD, which was unveiled in October 2010.
The comedy series follows the life of Saeedan (Basheer AlGhnaim), a spice and textile trader in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who is deeply in love with Hind (renowned actress/dancer Malayeen). Saeedan often escapes from the monotony of his lifestyle by delving into a world of fantasy that transports him into the colourful world of India, where most of the action in the series takes place.
The whole plot and execution is fairly unique, claims Khulud Abu-Homos, senior vice president of Programming at OSN and the executive producer of Hindistani.
My challenge at that time was to create unique Arabic content for our viewers, mainly in Saudi Arabia … something out-of-the-box and Broadway like, Abu-Homos explains.
I wondered if it would be possible to create a comedy with a musical and at that time, I happened to see the work of Ows Al Sharqy, an Iraqi director who did something similar for an Iraqi TV channel. I got in touch with him and Hindistani is the result.
The whole idea was to work with subject matters that were relevant to Saudi society but which we could potentially laugh at while being respectful, says Abu-Homos.
We have been dealing with different themes that are relevant to Arab society. For instance, we looked at what would happen if the roles of men and women were reversed in Saudi society and the comedy that arose from that situation. Here we have this trader who is in love with Hind. Every time she passes by, he begins to think of her and wonders why the man always has to make the first move; he then begins to go into a world of fantasy, which in this case, is India but the values, the lifestyle and the story line is based on the people of Saudi Arabia, Abu-Homos explains.
Shot with multiple cameras including the Sony HDCAM HDW-F900R and the Red ONE MX camera, Hindistani is a full HD production.
The Sony HDCAM gives very good HD output and is a workhorse, explains director Al Sharqy.
It performed very well even in poor weather conditions as was the case in India. To get the best footage for this comedy series, however, we shot the scenes with four or five cameras.
We also shot the opening title and the songs with the RED camera as we required better colours and resolution. We tend to get better results after colour grading with the RED. We also needed to get some slow-motion shots at 100fps to enhance the choreographed and musical aspects of the drama.
But the shoot wasnt without its challenges given that the team had to film during the monsoon season owing to delivery deadlines. Perhaps one element that needed to be kept in mind at all times was the lighting.
For one, good lighting was key to achieving the rich, vibrant colours that are synonymous with India. In some cases, they worked with indoor locations and faked the lighting but in outdoor shoots, the crew had to put up with the rain.