The season of dubbed Urdu dramas continues across Arab World with Malaal (حب وندم)

The dubbed Television series industry took a historic leap across the Arab world when Pakistan’s mega hit drama Humsafar (Rafeeq Al Rooh رفيق الروح) began telecasting on the popular MBC network last October. This drama captured the attention and imagination of audiences across the Arab world, making Fawad Afzal Khan and Mahira Khan popular names in Arab households. Don’t miss our earlier report here.

Now with Humsafar nearing its climax, MBC has announced another Pakistani Urdu serial that is ready to take the slot once Humsafar Rafeeq Al Rooh airs its last episode. This time it will be Malaal.

Malaal (Urdu: ملال – Arabic: حب وندم‎) is a Pakistani drama series which premiered on Hum TV on October 9, 2009. The series was written by Umera Ahmed and directed by critically acclaimed director Mehreen Jabbar.


The cast includes Faisal Rehman, Sarwat Gilani, Deepti Gupta, Imran Abbas Naqvi and Tania Kazi. Malaal (Arabic: حب وندم) was shot mostly in New York, USA and was produced by Momina Duraid for Moomal Productions.

The storyline of Malaal revolves around Zinia (Deepti Gupta) and Danish (Faisal Rehman) who have remained close friends for fifteen years while living in the US. Danish goes to Pakistan to visit his mother (Shamim Hilaly), and under certain circumstances agrees to get married to the girl of her choice, Mahi (Sarwat Gilani). When Zinia learns of his marriage, she becomes extremely upset. During this time, Zinia meets Jawad (Imran Abbas Naqvi), who turns out to be Mahi’s cousin. Zinia is almost 10 years older than Jawad. They begin to meet frequently, which upsets Danish, and the realization that his wife is immature does not help either. To make the situation worse, Zinia discovers that Mahi is being blackmailed by someone from her past, Saifi (Adeel Ahmed)

حب وندم دراما عن العلاقات المعاصرة بين البشر تدور أحداثها في مدينة نيويورك، وتتعرض للخيط الرفيع الذي يفصل بين الصداقة والحب، وكيف يتعامل الأفراد مع كل علاقة من هاتين العلاقتين داخل إطار المجتمع – تدور أحداث المسلسل حول علاقة صداقة قوية تنشأ بين مراهقين من أصول باكستانية يقيمان بالولايات المتحدة، “زينة” و”دانش”، يقيمان في مدينة نيويورك،، وتستمر صداقتهما حتى بلوغهما سن الشباب

Deepti Gupta is a well known name in the Pakistani TV industry. She has an international career spread across India, Singapore,Pakistan and the United States. She earned her MFA in Acting from University of Texas at Austin. In her six successful years in New York City she appeared in several plays including the Off-Broadway production of Ivanov produced by NAATCO and Mint Theatre for which she received glowing reviews. She currently resides in Los Angeles, splitting her time between there and New York City.

After his successful debut in Nahi Abhi Nahi, Faisal acted in numerous films for almost a decade. In early 1990s Faisal moved to Canada and lived here for 5 years. He lived in Montreal where he reportedly learned French. Faisal is fluent in Persian, English, Punjabi and Urdu.

Here is the Urdu OST for Malaal.

While Turkish dubbed serials still hold the top spot amongst the dubbed TV serials in the Arab world, this addition of Pakistani Urdu dubbed serials has triggered a new wave of excitement amongst Arab viewers.

How it all began in Middle East:

On August 30, 2008, nearly 85 million Arab viewers were glued to their TV sets for the finale of the dubbed (Arabic version) Turkish soap opera, Gümüş (Noor in Arabic), a Kanal D production that received little attention in its homeland in 2005. Gümüş was the first Turkish soap to be introduced to the Arab World. It aired on the Saudi owned MBC satellite channel in 2008. MBC dubbed the serial in Lebanese/Syrian dialect which is more popular in Arab World keeping in mind the popularity of Lebanese/Syrian TV programs across Arab world. Gümüş characters were given Arabic names and the serial was given a prime time slot. One reason that resulted in popularity of these serials is that the dubbing was not in formal/classical Arabic, which was previously done on all the Mexican series that were broadcast over the years. The day to day dialect format used for the Turkish serials was something people could relate to.

The mastermind behind this phenomenon has been the MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Center) media empire, a combination of Saudi capital and Middle Eastern technical and intellectual talent. The Arab market is, a large and essentially young audience with some 22 countries sharing a common (Arabic) language. Since 2008, more than a dozen Turkish soaps have aired on Arabic TV Channels to this date.

Now, with the advent of Pakistani Urdu dramas, Arabs have a wider choice and talent to appreciate.

Videos source: MBC/YouTube , Arabic plot references: MBC

First published November 21, 2013 on

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