It all comes together under lockdown.
Director Mehreen Jabbar, who has been seamlessly working in Pakistan and New York for decades, has a unique way of storytelling. Presently in New York, she has multiple web series and other projects lined up for release in the near future. However, affected by the current state of lockdown, Mehreen has decided to utilize this time consolidating her old projects and putting them online.
“I was thinking of consolidating most of the projects I did in the ‘90s by doing proper subtitles and putting them online so people can watch them,” Mehreen told Instep in an exclusive conversation, informing that these projects including telefilms Amma Abba Aur Ali, Farar, Putli Ghar and a limited series titled Dhoop Mein Sawan.
“They ran on PTV and NTM in those days so they are available on YouTube in bits and pieces,” she continued, adding, “This really defined the first seven to eight years of my career; they are very close to my heart. This was the time of the original, realistic, understated storytelling. It will be nice to make it accessible to the world.”
Mehreen is currently working on the first telefilm, called Amma Abba Aur Ali that featured Marina Khan. She informed that adding subtitles was a laborious process but had to be done. She hadn’t yet decided which digital platforms the content would be available on but said she would share details on her social media accounts.
It’s no surprise that Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime have witnessed a massive surge in subscribers ever since the lockdown has come in effect around the world. In Pakistan, local streaming portal Nashpati Prime that has been offering original and diverse entertainment content online for over a year has also seen an increase in numbers.
According to Mohammad Rahimtoola (one of the key people at Nashpati), they too have observed growth in numbers ever since the lockdown.
“We have seen about 30 per cent growth during the last couple of months, speaking of viewership, subscriptions and engagement in general,” he revealed in an exclusive conversation with Instep. “The average watch time has also gone up lately, probably due to fewer distractions during this time. It’s been a good time for us; we have seen a positive impact.”
One of their celebrity talk shows, titled To Be Honest, recently featured Mani, Saboor Aly and Irfan Junejo as guests; it is picking up and garnering positive response from viewers.
The streaming platform will soon be launching some new content that had been shot prior to the pandemic. They are also in talks for some upcoming collaborations, that will be announced soon.
Amidst the global pandemic and lockdown called Covid-19, digitalization has become a necessity when a lot of activities cannot be performed outdoors. Speaking of art and artists, some of them have been trying to amuse fans and stay connected to them at the same time with their live sessions online. While every art form cannot be digitalized, a recent effort in this direction from theatre artists across the globe is an interesting one. Thespians from 12 countries including Pakistan, India, Mexico and Sri Lanka have come together for an initiative called World Home Theatre.
Representing Pakistan, NAPA graduate and thespian Sunil Shanker shared that Samrat Sharma from Kolkata, India, came up with the idea and all of them were happy to join in.
“We have recorded performances while staying indoors and practicing self-isolation,” he told Instep, adding that the teaser is out while acts have also started to release online. “I recited Noon Meem Rashid’s poem, titled ‘Zindagi Se Darte Ho,’ as part of the initiative.”
Samrat Sharma of Undo Entertainment, who united performers from across the globe, believes that while we may have locked ourselves indoors, our grey matter cannot cease to think.
“World Home Theatre is an initiative that would express the zeal to become innovative; this would showcase creative ideas cannot be affected by any deadly virus,” he noted. “We spoke with our friends from different countries about the performance and all the countries have come forward with grandeur and conveyed their best wishes for this initiative.”
The recently released teaser that introduces all 12 artists is available on World Home Theatre’s YouTube channel that will features all performances one after the other.