Jasim Abbas, 29, a well-known Pakistani director, believes he is still trying to make his mark in the entertainment industry. Ongoing, unethical practices of nepotism often get close people in the door, but for Jasim, the struggle was real and still is. After spending his childhood and youth in England, Jasim decided to return to Pakistan to bring his creativity to life through storytelling, but all he experienced was rejection – a lot.
“fact [is] In Pakistan, whether you are an actor, a producer or a director, if you want to come up with new ideas, if you want to bring about some change, the only thing you will face is rejection,” Abbas told picture.
Fortunately, hard work and persistence landed him some great projects.He went on to direct hit series such as Yeh Ishq Samajh Na Aaye Starring Zarnish Khan, Mikaal Zulfiqar and Shehroz Sabwari, and dir burnham for ol life tv. He recently signed a new drama Rafta Rafta And there are three projects in preparation Green entertainment, fast entertainment and goodbye.
According to Abbas, the hardest part was his first big break as a director. “No one is going to give you a big breakthrough,” he said. He attributes this shortcoming partly to the fact that the channel chief does not recognize certificates and qualifications, even a master’s degree in film production, which Abbas obtained from the University of Westminster in London in 2018.
“In Pakistan, no one cares what you do. Nobody! Their only [TV channels] What will be asked is who are you related to and where are you from. It’s so hard for a new actor, producer, director, or anyone in show business to earn their spot. “
Nepotism is an entrenched problem, especially in Pakistan’s entertainment industry, and well-connected actors claim nepotism is rampant in other areas as well. While there is truth to this claim, the Pakistani entertainment industry in particular is filled with well-known actors such as Rubina Ashraf, Javed Sheikh, Bushra Ansari, Asif Raza Mir, Saba Hameed, Naumaan Ijaz, and Zeba Bakhtiar, among others, whose children are in television projects. cutting edge. Even Humayun Saeed’s younger brother is a part of show business. Nepotism leaves very little room for emerging talent to excel in the competitive entertainment industry.
“If you have relatives, or if you are related to any khan in the industry, you will rest like this! If your brother, sister or uncle is already acting, that is the best way for you to break into the industry,” Jasim share road.
The 29-year-old director revealed that casting for projects is usually done at high-end parties where big names in the industry gather. “There’s a casting hall system,” he reveals.
He believes that actors, regardless of talent, are chosen for projects because they have strong names to back them up. “Three or four big production houses monopolize the situation where they only want to work with select actors. Whoever they pick, they don’t care,” he claims.
“It’s easier for such people to take leading roles because they are the sons and daughters of influential celebrities. Can’t you see what’s going on GEO Entertainment, ARY Digital and buzz tv? It’s the same lobby system. The downside is people like us, who have struggled so hard, can easily be overshadowed by these people,” he said.
He shared that if you try to speak out about nepotism, people in the industry will shut you up. “A father has been in the industry for the past 50 years and is preparing his son or daughter to be a part of it.”
According to Abbas, channel leaders observe celebrities’ Instagram followers, their engagement on social media, and make calculated decisions based on that to place them in key roles. These actors are divided into A, B and C level actors. According to him, roles are assigned according to these categories. “If you argue that a role isn’t right for an actor, the head of the channel will say, ‘Will you tell us? We’ve got to look at our market value. You just stand there and be quiet,'” he said.
“Because of them, you have to sacrifice your creativity.” The director also revealed that after the pilot episode was filmed, channel heads would review it and provide feedback. “They’ll call and say, why are you giving a new actor a minute of screen time? No one wants to see new talent. Everyone wants to see big stars on screen,” he said.
“Even if you tried to pitch new artists to the channel heads, they would respond that they had no market value.” Abbas questioned how new faces would grow as artists if channels refused to give them a chance. He believes that some channels also reserve good roles for established actors and keep newcomers on the sidelines.
Abbas recalled the difficulty of arranging meetings with channel officials, or even contacting them. Once he does, he discusses his new ideas, and while they appreciate his thought process, they tell him that no veteran actor wants to work with a novice like him.
Many Pakistani actors completely negate the quality and demands of the script because they want to work with more established directors. “We’re not looking for degrees, we’re not looking for vision. What we’re looking for is a bigger name,” Abbas said channel officials would tell him. Because of this shortcoming, young novice directors like Abbas, despite their creative ideas for TV projects, were severely rejected.
“We really want a bigger name as a writer, we need a bigger name as an actor, we need a bigger name as a director. If you want to direct, who will be in?” Abbas quoted officials as saying.
He also claims that established actors work with new directors only for the money, not the ideas. These actors would raise their salaries and instead of charging Rs 30 lakh, they charge double, he said, citing an example where an A-list celebrity once told him that he only worked on his projects for the money.
The Islamabad-based director revealed insights into another pressing issue facing Pakistan’s entertainment industry – the casting couch. Silence about action could cause the practice to spread like the plague. “I’ve seen big names in the industry ask so-called ‘favors’ from actors in exchange for bigger roles,” Abbas commented.
In a showbiz like Pakistan, socializing and networking at events and parties is very important. Abbas doesn’t socialize with these people, which puts him at an even greater disadvantage as a novice director. “A lot of friends in the industry tell me that if I don’t party, smoke or drink with them, I’m not going to get a good job from a channel head,” he said.
Because Abbas was new to the industry at the time, he decided to go to a party and see how things went. “We can help each other,” Abbas quoted an unnamed woman who approached him at the party. “I’ll put you in touch with someone who will get you a great job on a channel, but in return you need me to be the primary or secondary lead on your project,” she once said.
Many young actors also attended the evening and were approached to work with filmmakers, directors and producers. They openly received offers to spend the night with them in exchange for roles, Abbas said. “That party changed my life and the way I think,” Abbas said. “I said okay, I’m just not going to go find someone to get a job.”
Abbas is committed to his work ethic and personal beliefs that have helped him grow steadily in the industry. The international commercials and short films he made were well received and luckily he got a call from Pakistan offering him a project which was his debut drama, Alwafa. Recently, Abbas has collaborated with many artists who foresee the changes in the industry and understand the craft. However, he never heard back from the bigger outlets as they were looking for bigger names. “If you don’t have first-rate writers around, they [the channels] Won’t even talk to you. “
It is for this reason that Pakistan’s theater industry is lagging behind. Well-known writers call the shots, and their stories end up being television “gold.” These scripts, written by ace writers, are the repetitive monotony that Pakistan’s television industry is struggling to shake off.
According to Abbas, channel chiefs are still mired in arguing over who will get the most attention on drama posters.
“White actresses are in lead roles, and darker-skinned artists are in secondary roles. Channels want to see brighter faces. When are we going to leave these complexes?” he asked.
While working abroad, Abbas felt treated like an actor. “In Pakistan, if the call is at 11am, the A-list actors will arrive at 3pm. If we complain, the channel head will say ‘no problem, accommodate them’. No professional, nothing. But why?
Unless these entrenched practices are permanently halted, Pakistan’s entertainment industry will stagnate, which is unlikely. However, with new channels and a new team, Abbas hopes things will improve.