New Delhi: A Hindi serial titled 'Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam' on Zee's Zindagi channel has attracted the attention of the I&B ministry and broadcast redressal authority Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) following complaints from some viewers who claimed that the content was inflammatory in nature and promoted Pakistan's narrative of the partition.

BCCC, headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, has issued a notice to Zindagi and summoned its executives for a hearing on May 22. A Zee official said they had not received the notice so far.

According to sources, the I&B ministry has not taken any action so far but has forwarded the complaints it received to the BCCC. Keeping in view the "sensitivity" of the matter, BCCC has asked the channel to respond to the complaints. The channel could be asked to modify the content or desist from re-telecast.

The soap is a love story in the backdrop of Partition based on author Razia Butt's book 'Bano'. The serial stars Pakistani actors Fawwad Khan (already famous in India after co-starring with Sonam Kapoor in a Bollywood film) and Sanam Baloch as Bano. The main criticism from viewers has been that it shows the Partition only from Pakistan's point of view and paints Indians as villains.

While some viewers have complained that Sikhs and Hindus are portrayed as the perpetrators of atrocities on Muslims, some others with whom TOI spoke didn't seem offended by the serial.

There are, however, several complaints. One claimed that a few episodes highlighted Indian Muslim League and M A Jinnah as heroes fighting the Congress against discrimination of Muslims in the country. The soap narrates the story of a Muslim girl who is abducted by a Sikh. The Sikh man repeatedly rapes the girl, forces her to convert and bear a child out of wedlock.

The soap has finished its 23-episode run in April. Describing it as a "beautiful, timeless" love story, a Zindagi channel executive said that the response to the serial was very encouraging. "The soap could be set against the backdrop of any country that underwent the harsh reality of Partition. The show was telecast as 'Dastan' in Pakistan and we have made necessary changes to telecast it for the Indian audience. We have followed all broadcast guidelines," he said. Sources said that the serial had been edited heavily keeping Indian sentiments in mind but the theme itself was provocative.

Courtesy Times of India