Dubai-based TV station Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) is in set to launch a musical series inspired by the success of the American TV show ‘Glee’, the producer behind the show said.
‘Hindistani’ will debut in October as the cornerstone of OSN’s comedy entertainment channel and tells the story of an Arab shop owner in Riyadh trying to balance his struggling business and his romance with an Indian woman.
“People are sick and tired of seeing the same old things. I was looking at various concepts… Glee and the whole aspect is a comedy and the storyline and connection with the music… I thought of doing something similar in the Middle East,” said producer Khulud Abu-Homos.
The music for ‘Hindistani’ has been composed for the show and includes a mix of Saudi Arabian music with an Indian beat, Abu-Homos said.
The series will feature two dozen Saudi actors as part of a nearly 300-strong cast on location in Mumbai, the heart of the Bollywood film industry, and filming is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.
‘Hindistani’ is one of a string of new shows planned to mark the launch of OSN’s comedy channel. A show modelled on the US comedy show ‘Have I Got News for You’ is being filmed in Cairo, while Abu-Homos said the network is also eyeing a number of animation shows.
“I am working with various produces on a ‘The Simpsons’ kind of [concept],” she said.
OSN is also aiming to broaden the appeal of its own productions by dubbing them in English or including English subtitles, in order to appeal to expatriate viewers.
“I believe some of the Arab productions will be to the level of Western content… I am thinking of re-scripting and dubbing Arabic cartoons and shows,” Abu-Homos added.
One show due to air on OSN, which has already proved controversial, is Turkish soap opera Muhtesem Yuzyil, or Magnificent Century.
The lavish show tells the story of Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566, and Hurrem, the slave who became his powerful wife.
Both loved and loathed in Turkey, the show was controversial for its depiction of the former ruler and attracted nearly 70,000 complaints after its debut.