After breaking the world record for the most new subscribers on YouTube, the Turkish drama "Diriliş Ertuğrul" ("Resurrection: Ertuğrul") has become a major hit in Pakistan and its producer is ready to take steps for a coproduction.
Mehmet Bozdağ, who is also the screenwriter of the drama, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Muslims should not only work together in politics and trade but also in culture and the arts, and businesspeople should invest in the field of art.
"I am surprised that we did not make any collaborations till this day because we call each other brother countries," said Bozdağ, referring to Turkey and Pakistan. "However, we have never signed a deal in the field of culture and arts. So then, where is the fellowship?"
He said there should be joint projects in which producers and actors come together. "When one of us is in trouble, both countries are mobilized. But we should also do this act on better days and organize days of culture not only in the cinema but also in the field of cuisine, museums and history. We shall share our experiences with Pakistan and they should share theirs with us, and together we will sign world-shaking deals," the producer said.
Bozdağ said he expected the series to attract attention in Pakistan, but he never thought that would happen in such a short time. He emphasized that he is especially happy that the show is popular in Pakistan.
"Even if Turkey and Pakistan have separate borders, the souls are of one nation," he said.
After receiving a degree in history, Bozdağ said he came up with the idea of a drama on how the Ottoman Empire was established, earned its success throughout the world and became an important Islamic empire. "With these steps, we came up with a story of five seasons, and it will continue as 'Kuruluş: Osman' ('The Ottoman')," he said.
When the series first came out, it quickly climbed to the top of the rankings in Turkey, and Bozdağ emphasized that after it was released abroad, many people converted to Islam. The series' team had worked to bring the project to the screen for one year, and the actors trained for over nine months to play their characters, according to Bozdağ.
"When we started this project, we were not able to find trained horses that ran at the same time, tents were not produced and what people ate during the 13th century was a dilemma. When writing the story, I was 30 years old, the company was new and nobody believed in the project. After I wrote down the story, we invited a painter from Mongolia, and he depicted the story, and so the actors saw the project and had faith in it," Bozdağ said.
He stressed that there were gaps in historic data about the era, and in these cases, they brainstormed their own ideas to fill the gaps.
"While imagining, we never forgot about the reality of the period and the spirit of Islam. All of the historical dramas around the world do the same thing. We are not the first ones to come up with this method," he said.
The producer said his mindset came from the history of a 1,000-year-old religion, Islam, and therefore he emphasized that he did not come up with scenarios in reaction to the West, Orientalism or Islamophobia. "I am not doing this for Hollywood or Bollywood or anyone who hates Islam," he said.
"We need to re-explain the art of Islam and the Islamic world because this art and history is a transcendent art from the Taj Mahal to the Alhambra. Today, we have to tell the whole world about the beautiful voice of Islam," he said. Bozdağ noted that the set of the drama was visited by 25 state leaders.
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