There’s no stopping Sajal Aly when it comes to pushing boundaries and taking on challenging roles, as proven by her latest pick. According to the international publication Variety, Sajal Aly will lead a series adaptation of the classic Urdu-language novel Umrao Jaan Ada.
Produced by Hamid Hussain and Muhammad Yaqoob, the adaptation will “heavily rely on the original Urdu version of the novel, unlike the film adaptations that had taken creative liberties to fit the story into a film narrative, and there is a lot in the novel that has never been shown in an audiovisual project,” according to the producers.
Umrao Jaan Ada is considered the first Urdu novel, published in 1899 by Mirza Hadi Ruswa. The novel revolves around the culture and society of the Indian subcontinent in the 19th century, particularly, the life of a courtesan and poet, known by the same name as the title. The novel’s previous adaptations include Hasan Tariq’s Umrao Jaan Ada (1972), Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan (1981) starring Rekha, J.P. Dutta’s Umrao Jaan (2006) starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and two 1958 Indian films – S.M. Yusuf’s Mehndi and Nakhshab Jarchavi’s Zindagi Ya Toofan.
Sajal Aly is currently awaiting the local release of her international film, What’s Love Got to Do With It, produced by Jemima Goldsmith. She is also currently starring in the TV show Kuch Ankahi alongside Bilal Abbas Khan.