Powering through SADIA JABBAR

  • 18 Apr - 24 Apr, 2020
  • Eman Saleem
  • Interview

It has been a few years since digital media entered the rat race for content creation and gave linear TV a run for its money. Late to come to Pakistan, or perhaps, late to be noticed, web shows have finally simmered to acknowledgement in our industry and are being taken up by big production houses and renowned writers to explore new themes and concepts, ones that were not commercial enough for TV. Sadia Jabbar (of Sadia Jabbar Productions) who has a string of drama titles, a feature film and a web show to her credit, has yearned to learn and grow as a producer. Last year, trying her hands at the digital medium, Jabbar produced her first web show Shameless Proposals which dissects the belitting rishta hunting process that is a prevalent practice in the subcontinent. This year, the Balu Mahi producer brought a talk show with acclaimed screenwriter and cancer-survivor Asma Nabeel to bring to light untold stories of unsung heroes. This is Jabbar’s attempt to bring a show for women, by women to Pakistan, something that was long overdue. Beautiful Confessions with Asma Nabeel will explore stories of real women to encourage and motivate younger girls that the barriers we have been brought up with are all, indeed, breakable. I get in touch with Jabbar to talk more about the new web show and her journey through an array of content mediums. Stay with us.

Describe your journey as a producer in the industry for us?

Oh that’s been hard and interesting. You meet so many people with different mindsets and eventually you try to work with like-minded people. People lack empathy, honesty and hard-work in the Pakistani media industry. They need to learn how to respect and work as a team in projects. In fact, people gauge how much respect to give measured by your background and your worldly success or social status and with a very materialistic lens. Nobody respects people as a human being. A practice that is excessively prevalent in the media.

Have you recently been focusing on the web medium exclusively? What are your thoughts on its progress in the Pakistani market?

Yes, this year I am thinking of creating short films, shows and web series for the digital medium as there is huge audience to watch it and appreciate your work.

The talk show pattern for web shows differs from TV. As a producer, what changes/ struggles did you face in terms of learning the craft for a different medium?

I find digital has more space for creativity since there is freedom of speech and not census/ PEMRA policies to keep you barred. TV in comparison is harder than digital.

How did you come to cast Asma Nabeel for the talk show?

As we have witness huge financial dip in the TV industry, so I thought to develop some content for digital and the idea of Beautiful Confessions talk show was Asma’s.

What are you aiming to highlight with the talk show?

To talk about those women in Pakistan who have had their fair share of struggle in their respective fields and have a story to share with the world which can inspire young girls in our country.

Who should we expect to see on Beautiful Confessions?

We shall welcome women from different fields but sneaking a peek, a journalist who will talk about body shaming and an air-hostess who faces society’s judgment and criticism since female cabin crew is still looked down upon.

You have been steering your boat towards experimentation, having tried your hands at TV, film and web; which one do you think has most potential in the Pakistani market?

TV has a huge market and it offers family entertainment. Digital is an individual medium where you can watch what you want without feeling the need to consider the choice of others.

Which medium do you enjoy the most?

Feature film process is just beyond this world where you create film from script to final DCP. You can enjoy the entire creative and business process but I am really enjoying digital at the moment. There is a lot to do and learn.

What areas do you think producers/ directors/ scriptwriters need to work in to sustain and create quality content?

We need to learn to develop thought provoking and entertaining TV serials. The saas bahu drama and the case of the ever-suppressed woman themes are stale now. Look around the work neighbouring countries and the global industries are producing/ creating on digital and films and shows.

What other projects should we expect to come out of your production house?

There are seven short films for which I have collaborated with Sohail Javed, they will be uploaded soon to stream online on Sadia Jabbar Productions YouTube channel and a cooking show where a young mother with her three year old will be welcoming different people. It’s quite an interesting format.