Twenty-nine-year-old Jasim Abbas, who is now a regular director in Pakistan, believes that he is still fighting to make his mark in entertainment. A relentless, non-discriminatory approach often gets people with strong connections in the door, but for Jasim, the struggle was, and still is, real. After spending his childhood and youth in the United Kingdom, Jasim decided to return to Pakistan to hone his storytelling skills, but all he encountered was rejection – lots of it.
“The truth is [is] that in Pakistan, whether as an actor, producer or director, if you try to come up with new ideas, if you try to bring change, the only thing you will face is rejection,” said Abbas. Pictures.
Fortunately, hard work and consistency landed him several good jobs. He went on to direct popular plays such as Yeh Ishq Samajh Na Aaye and Zarnish Khan, Mikaal Zulfiqar and Shehroz Sabwari, and Dil E Benaam about Aur Life Tv. He recently wrapped a new drama Rafta Rafta and has three projects planned Green Entertainment, Express Entertainment and We’ll see each other.
The hardest part, according to Abbas, was taking his first break as a director. “Nobody can give you a break,” he said. He said that this lack is due to leaders who do not accept qualifications and qualifications, even with a master’s degree in filmmaking, which Abbas obtained in 2018 from the University of Westminster, London.
“In Pakistan, nobody cares what you have done. Nothing! Only thing they [TV channels] they may ask who your relatives are, and where you are from. For a new actor, producer, director, or any business person for that matter, it is very difficult to find your place. “
Nepotism is a deep-rooted issue, especially in the entertainment industry of Pakistan and actors with strong connections agree that nepotism is rampant in other sectors as well. Despite the merits of this argument, the Pakistani entertainment industry in particular is full of actresses, such as Rubina Ashraf, Javed Sheikh, Bushra Ansari, Asif Raza Mir, Saba Hameed, Naumaan Ijaz and Zeba Bakhtiar, among others, who have children of their own. ahead of TV projects. Even Humayun’s younger brother Saeed is in the acting class. Nepotism leaves little room for up-and-coming talent to shine and advance in the entertainment business.
“If you have relatives or if you are related to any of the Khans in the industry, you will get a break like that! If your brother, sister or uncle is already doing it, it is the best way to get business,” said Jasim.
The 29-year-old director revealed that project launches are usually held at high-profile parties attended by big names in the industry. “There is a way to welcome visitors,” he revealed.
He believes that regardless of talent, actors are cast in roles because they are backed by powerful names. “There are rulers of three or four big houses that only want to work with the elected officials. Whomever they cast, they don’t care,” he said.
“It is easy for such people to become leaders because they are the sons and daughters of famous people. Don’t you see what’s going on? GEO Entertainment, ARY Digital and TV HUM? It is the same way of welcoming guests. “The worst is for people like us who have suffered and are easily covered by these people,” he said.
She also said that if you try to talk about racism openly, your co-workers will shut you down. “Dad has been in this industry for the past 50 years and is preparing his son or daughter to be part of this industry.”
According to Abbas, film directors see popular Instagram followers, participation in social media and therefore make strategic decisions to cast them in major roles. These players are in A, B and C-grade. Values are assigned based on these categories, according to him. “If you say a part is not right for an actor, the channel managers will say, ‘You’re going to tell us? We have to look at our market value.’ You just stand there, quiet,” he said.
“You have to give up your skills for them.” The director also revealed that after filming the pilot episode, the traffic controllers review and give feedback. “They will call and say, why are you giving a new actor one minute of screen time? Nobody wants to see new talent. Everyone wants to see big stars on the screen,” he said.
“Even if you try to put new artists as leaders, they answer that they have no market value.” If the movement refuses to give new faces a chance, how will they grow as artists, Abbas asked. Some movies also reserve good roles for actors who put new artists aside, he believes.
Abbas recalls the difficulty of arranging meetings with channel executives, or even holding them. When he does, they discuss his new ideas and while he appreciates his ideas, he tells him that no great actor would want to work with a novice like him.
Many Pakistani actors are completely opposed to the type and demands of scripts because they want to work with established directors. “We are not looking for degrees, we are not looking for vision. What we’re looking for is a big name,” Abbas says the channel’s executives tell him. Because of this, young directors like Abbas are often rejected, even if they have ideas for TV projects.
“We really need a big name as a writer, we need a big name as a member, and we need a big name as a director. If you’re going to direct, who should join the cast?” Abbas made a great speech.
He also said that established actors only work with new directors because of money, not talent. The actors have raised their salaries and instead of paying $3 million, they’re paying double that, he said, recounting the time an A-list celebrity told him he was just doing his job to earn the money.
A director in Islamabad has revealed information about another major problem facing Pakistan’s entertainment industry – the throwing sofa. Staying silent and not taking action can cause this practice to spread like chaos. “I have seen celebrities in the industry asking so-called ‘likes’ from actors to get big roles,” Abbas said.
In a showbiz industry like Pakistan, it is important to socialize and socialize at events and parties. Abbas not interacting with these people puts him at great risk as a novice director. “I was told by many of my friends in the industry that I won’t get a good job from the channel executives if I don’t party, smoke or drink with them,” he said.
Because Abbas was new to the industry at the time, he decided to attend the party to see how things went. “We can do this love for each other,” Abbas said of an unnamed woman who approached him at a party. “I will put you in touch with someone who will give you a good job down the road, but in return, you must find me a director or deputy director for your project,” he said.
Many young actors were also present at the party and approached filmmakers, directors and producers for work. Abbas said he freely accepted invitations to spend the night with them in exchange of roles. “That one party changed my life, and my way of thinking,” Abbas said. “I said okay, I don’t go to people to ask them for a job.”
Abbas is dedicated to his work and his beliefs that helped him to grow in this field. He has worked on international commercials and short films to acclaim, and by chance he received a call from Pakistan to work on, his first play, Ahl is dead. Recently, Abbas has worked with many artists who anticipate changes in the industry and understand his art. However, he never heard from the big screen because they were looking for big names. “If you don’t have an A star writer with you, they [the channels] I will not speak to you again.”
The Pakistani drama industry is lagging behind for the same reasons. Regular writers call the art and their stories can be “golden”. These articles, written by the authors, are re-edited, unflattering stories of Pakistan’s TV industry struggling to grow.
According to Abbas, the channel’s leaders are still at loggerheads as they argue over who should get the most attention for sports footage.
“The fair-skinned actors get the roles, while the dark-skinned actors get the second lead.” Movies want to see bright faces. When will we get out of this place?” he asked.
While working abroad, Abbas felt that an actor was treated as an actor. “In Pakistan, if the call time is 11am, an A-list actor arrives at 3pm. When we complain, the channel management will say ‘it’s fine, just accept them’. No professionalism, nothing. Why?”
Pakistan’s entertainment will not stop unless these practices are stopped, which is not possible. However, with emerging strategies and new groups, Abbas hopes that things can change.