Adil Sher, producer extraordinaire and budding director is part of the revived television generation and has a variety of projects up his sleeve. He took time out in between filming his latest project, Yeh to Hona Hee Tha, to talk to us about his cutting edge motion picture house ‘Talking Filmain’, that he has launched in partnership with acclaimed director Nasir Khan and talented editor Rizwan Saeed. To find out more about his current and future projects, and to know what we can do to revive the quality of television programmes and formats in Pakistan.
Let's start with getting to know you – tell us a bit about where you grew up and your family…
I grew up in Lahore and still live here with my mother. I have one elder brother who is a musician.
Growing up, were you always interested in drama, the set and the stage?
Yes I was! However, back then, I would not have been able to predict that eventually I would end up in this field – to be honest, growing up in the 90's in Pakistan did not present a lot of career options!
Have you received any formal training or education in production and now direction or is it a natural interest and talent?
I had six years of solid marketing and management experience before I took up production. As a producer, I think running numerous productions and being on set constantly helped me develop as a director which is why I am now cultivating and honing my directorial skills.
"I would not have been able to predict that eventually I would end up in this field – to be honest, growing up in the 90's in Pakistan did not present a lot of career options! "
So how did you get eventually get into television?
It actually all happened within no time and I had not planned for it to happen at all. Nasir (critically acclaimed director and Adil’s partner in Talking Filmain) came back from Canada having received professional training in the field of filmmaking and we both decided to pursue what we had always loved - filmmaking.
Tell us about Talking Filmain - you and your partners, Nasir and Rizwan have put out music videos, fashion concepts, drama serials, movies and sitcoms – quite a diverse portfolio. Tell us about the company.
We came together under the umbrella of Talking Filmain as both friends and professionals, looking to enter and help change the television and screen format culture in Pakistan. In order to work towards this effectively, we continue to work on versatile projects and work to not simply remain with one programme format and style; thus Talking Filmain is all about dynamic change, not static status quo.
For instance, we were equally comfortable releasing Muslim Gear, a short documentary produced for the CBC – Zed Canada as we were when filming and putting out Pounds, a reality weight loss show that aired on Geo. Khayal, our music and fashion video for Saadia Mirza is airing on all Pakistani music channels at the moment as is an entirely different format from the program Yeh To Hona Hee Tha.
"We came together under the umbrella of Talking Filmain as both friends and professionals, looking to enter and help change the television and screen format culture in Pakistan."
Tell us about the programmes and formats you have been part of so far.
Personally, I have been involved as producer with one feature film so far, Kashf, which is to be previewed at Berlin and Cannes film festivals. I was also producer of ‘Pounds’ and two sitcoms, Bus Yuhin and Saath, both of which aired on Hum TV. I am particularly excited about ‘14 Days’, a telefilm in which I was a contributing writer and producer, as it has been selected for the upcoming Hum TV's telefilm festival 2008. I have produced two music videos, Khayal for Saadia Mirza and Zindigee for Ali Sher. The first program I directed Yeh To Hona Hee Tha is airing on Hum TV every Thursday at 7:25pm
Tell us more about your directorial venture – what’s Yeh To Hona Hee Tha all about?
It is essentially the story of two young, urban people destined to fall in love. We meet Murad (A super successful, charming and divorced individual) and Meher (An Ad Executive with her whole future planned out for her) at a cross roads in their lives. Through their eyes, we see the danger of becoming complacent with others laying our lives out for us; we see that all of us must at some point step up, take responsibility and give destiny, the force, a helping hand.
In the lives of our fated lovers are their friends and family including an overeager mother, an antisocial brother, an idealistic romantic, a corporate tycoon and a manipulative and driven ex wife. The colorful non-incidents of real life mix with the charming fairytale ideals of happily ever after to create a sweet, romantic yet ultimately real life story of love, life and discovery.
"There is so much opportunity in the country but at the moment we do not have enough qualified people and institutions to fill the gap."
What is your opinion of the state of the Pakistani television industry? What are young film makers doing to improve the standards?
Currently, the situation is not too encouraging but we'll have to be a little patient. There is so much opportunity in the country but at the moment we do not have enough qualified people and institutions to fill the gap. Young filmmakers will make a difference, but we need another 5-10 years to be in a position where we can make important and influential decisions.
"You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures."
What are the biggest challenges for young, producers, directors and editors like you and the crew at Talking Filmain? Is it funds, subjects, distribution?
Apart from the above mentioned factors, I feel the most important facet lacking is education, we currently do not have suitable infrastructure to support this industry and it is therefore very to difficult to find the right actors, writers and technicians.
Would you like to pass on anything to our readers?
You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.