TV Serial

Dirilis Ertugrul

History in Action

By Muhammad Ali Khan | July 2020

The popular TV series that has taken Pakistani audiences by storm is the Turkish serial Dirilis Ertugrul (Resurrection Ertugrul), known as Ertugrul Ghazi in Pakistan. It all started when the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, met the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad at the UNGA in September 2019. Together they floated the idea of launching a TV channel to create a counter-narrative against what they called rising Islamophobia. During their discussion, Ertugrul surfaced, considering its role in promoting Islamic culture.

One rarely expects the Prime Minister of a nation to become a cheerleader for a television show but considering the drama had a rich heritage, cultural history and Islamic values, he advised PTV to broadcast it. Since PTV aired its first Urdu-dubbed episode on the first of Ramazan, the serial has broken all popularity records and has brought a massive viewership to the channel. Reviving PTV’s ratings, the show was even trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Pakistan.

Backing the show with words and action, the main aim of the Prime Minister was to establish Pakistan as a pre-eminent player in the Muslim world. His goal of promoting the Islamic historical narrative seemed pretty clear and thus his decision unleashed a phenomenon that has since gripped his nation and become the talking point among fans and critics.

Created by Mehmet Bozdag and directed by Menit Gunay, the historic action-adventure series is based on the real-life events of 13th century Muslim Oghuz Turk leader, Ertugrul of the Kayi tribe. He was also the father of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted for over 600 years and covered parts of Europe, Asia and North Africa. The series spans five seasons, combining personal narratives with the expansion of the ethnic Oghuz Turks.

Read More