Pakistan's 'Glee' wants nation singing from same hymn sheet
Pakistan's TV viewers join Glee club
Pakistan's answer to 'Glee', the American TV programme, is a musical spectacular starring a Taliban commander, persecuted Christian and a Muslim holy man.
The cast and crew of 'Taan', "musical note" in Urdu, hope that it will unite the country in front of the television as families sing along to their favourite hits.
Set in a music academy, the 26-part serial tells the story of budding singers and musicians as they try to become famous. Nabeel Sarwar, the show's producer, said it would not shy away from tackling Pakistan's big issues, but would offer an upbeat alternative to the despair and misery peddled by most channels.
"I thought, what are the two things that Pakistanis all unite around: the cricket team that doesn't perform or the music that does perform?" he said.
Pakistan's divisions have dominated the headlines so far this year. The country's Shia minority has been targeted in a series of bomb attacks, and in Lahore, where 'Taan' is being filmed, a mob set fire to 100 Christian homes last weekend.
Mr Sarwar said the programme would tap into the dreams of Pakistani teenagers and feature some of their parents' favourite songs.
About 100 Pakistani hits have been re-recorded for the series, to be performed in energetic dance routines or as ballads. They range from the devotional Sufi songs of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to the soft rock of the band Junoon, once described as Pakistan's answer to U2.
Filming has already begun, and Mr Sarwar is in talks to sell the show to Pakistan's state-run terrestrial channel.
"I want a hit show that the whole country loves, that they bop along to, that they buy the soundtrack to, that they feel united behind, so that they feel at one," said Mr Sarwar. (© Daily Telegraph, London)