The South Asian powerhouses have lined up the streaming series as the second production out of a recently struck content partnership, and will be taking it to the Palace Central Cinema on October 16 for the film strand of South by SouthwestSydney.
The eight-episode show will star Sajal Aly and Wahaj Ali, and is billed as “a riveting take on modern-day relationships, their love, challenges, and struggles in a raw and real way, and as a “simple and confusing, tragic yet funny tale of broken and complex relationships.”
The drama revolves around the journey of Sophia (Aly) and Umer (Ali), who are stuck in respective toxic relationships only to discover an alluring intensity for each other and embark on a transformative journey towards love that mends them as people.
The Pink Shirt will be a Zindagi original ‘presented’ by Applause and is the only South Asian streaming series selected for SXSW Sydney, which is SXSW’s first foray outside of Austin, Texas. The news comes soon after announcement the first project from the Applause-Zindagi pact, Farar, would launch at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival. (Note: Deadline parent PMC owns 50% of SXSW through joint venture P-MRC.)
Aly is expected to attend, along with director Kashif Nisar, writer Bee Gul and producer Shailja Kejriwal, who leads Zindagi’s involvement in the Applause partnership.
“The Pink Shirt challenged me in ways I never imagined, delving deep into the complexities of human connections,” said Aly, while Pakistani star Ali added: “Portraying the complexities of human relationships in The Pink Shirt has been a remarkable challenge and the script demanded an exploration of emotions and vulnerabilities that pushed me as an actor.”
Nisar referenced the recent pact between Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story producer Applause and Zindagi, which is a sub-continent-focused strand of South Asian content streamer ZEE5 Global, saying the “merger provides us with the ultimate platform this special project really needs.”
The pair has been working up a slate over recent months using Applause’s model of greenlighting its own productions before selling them to streamers. Applause CEO Sameer Nair and Kejriwal, Zee Entertainment Enterprises‘ Chief Creative Officer of Special Projects, are former colleagues at the Star India network.
Kejriwal said the SXSW screening “underscores our commitment to bringing diverse narratives to a global stage.
Writer Gul added: “I’m profoundly grateful to Shailja for recognizing the same potential we envisioned in Pink Shirt and selecting it as the second collaborative endeavor between Zindagi and Applause Entertainment.”
Aditya Birla Group-owned Applause is behind several of India’s biggest and loudest streaming series of recent years, including Disney+ Hotstar’s Luther remake Rudra: The Edge of Darkness and Criminal Justice, based on the BBC drama, and SonyLIV crime hits Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story and Scam 2003: The Telgi Story. Its films include Aparna Sen’s The Rapist, which won the prestigious Kim Jiseok Award at the Busan International Film Festival.
Zindagi began life as a Zee TV channel in 2014, bringing stories from across India’s borders back into the country. It is responsible for series such as Churails, Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam and Dhoop ki Deewar. It became a Zee5 strand in 2020 and recently returned to TV as a channel.