Mehreen Jabbar Se Sawal ~ You Ask She Answers

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With Jackson Heights coming to an end amidst mixed reviews and Mera Naam Yousuf Hai getting off to a strong start, Mehreen Jabbar’s is a name very much on the minds of Pakistani drama viewers these days. But even for those who’ve not had a chance to watch these current serials, Mehreen’s illustrious TV career spans over two decades.

Her body of work includes classics like Ab Tum Ja Saktey Ho, Farar, Kahaniyan, Aur Zindagi Badalti Hai, Abba Amma aur Ali, Putli Ghar, Harjaee, Dhoop Mein Sawan, the immensely popular PehchaanDoraha, Malal, Vasl, Daam, and the more current lot of telefilms like Ghoonghat, Na Tum Na Main, Dil Mera Dharkan Teri, and serials like Mata-e Jaan, NeeyatCoke Kahani, Rehaee, the recently concluded Jackson Heights and the currently on-air Mera Naam Yousuf Hai – and to think these are only a few that I remember off the top of my head!

And it’s not just on TV where Mehreen’s made her mark, her feature film Ramchand Pakistani (2008) was very warmly received and garnered a lot of critical acclaim on the film festival circuit.

My bare bones clunky introduction does not even begin to scratch the surface of Mehreen’s very impressive resume, but I leave that for you all to fill in. I know we have many Mehreen Jabbar fans here and several had requested that we invite her for a Q&A session, so here we are!

I am delighted to announce that Mehreen has very graciously agreed to this readers’ interview. All those questions that you’ve always wanted to ask her – increasing commercialism in dramas, more tears = higher ratings formula for success, her take on TRPs, her thoughts on the new wave of Pakistani cinema – to the more recent questions that we’ve been discussing: Jackson Heights mein yeh kyon hua and woh kyon nahin hua, what went wrong where – to the ones you might have about her new serial – Mera Naam Yousuf Hai – here is your opportunity to have your questions answered.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • The last date for posting your questions is Friday, March 27th 2015.
  • Post each question as a separate comment.
  • Please do not repeat questions that have already been asked.
  • Avoid personal comments and refrain from rude questions and abusive language.

Written by SZ~

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58 replies

  1. Assalamualaikum! Mehreen first of all I’m a huge fan. Your name comes to my mind after I hear the word director. I love the camera work in your dramas. The angles, the crisp quality and especially the scenes where the rays of sunshine are entering a room or a place! If I ever became a director I would gladly say that I was inspired by you. My question is, had you always wanted to become a director? Or something happened and you were like, oh! I should definitely become a director.

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  2. Will you please make a Pakistani version of Canadian hit series Orphan Black with Sanam Saeed as the lead actress?

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  3. I’ve seen you searching for a new actor or an actress on Facebook. Have you ever found one? And if you did, were you satisfied that you chose the right actor?

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  4. First of all, congratulations on Jackson Heights! What’s a show! Relived the PTV days. So my question is From Khalda Riyasat to Maya Ali, who’ve you enjoyed directing the most in terms of acting skills? (Male or Female)

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  5. Salam
    MashaAllah your works are amazing mehreen. Strong plots and amazing story line. Mehreen my question is I love mere naan yousuf hai but would it have a tragic ending??…. I love ur works but wish they would have happy endings. 😊😊😍

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  6. Your work really inspires me. I’m myself studying filmmaking. I would like to ask two questions.
    First, what motivated you to become a director.
    Second how did you turn your setbacks into comebacks. What’s your motto. 🙂

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  7. Hi mehreen wanted to ask which project amongst your dramas is your favourite, mine is harjaee, any views about the pros and cons of harjaee?

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  8. Mehreen how was it working with khalida riyasat and neelofar abbasi? and with which ptv actor and actress do you want to work?

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  9. why havent you worked with legendary writers like haseena moin and anwar maqsood. they still write occassionally but these new directors do not do justice to their scripts? if given a chance which writer would u like to work with?

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  10. which play of yours u think was not upto your expectations or the outcome was not that good of what u had planned?

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  11. Hi Mahreen !! I am big fan of your . loved Jackson Height drama , as I live by New York I wanted to see how you direct the drama but unfortunately I did not know you and how to approach you.

    Which Hollywood director you admire the most.

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  12. Thanks for doing this. I love Mehreen Jabbar!
    Hi Mehreen, I’m a huge fan of your work. Thanks for giving us some brilliantly directed Pakistani shows. I hope to see you continue doing what you do best. If you were to choose one amongst Doraha, Malaal and Daam as being your favorite, which one would you choose and why?

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  13. How is it that you always have such amazing music associated with all of your shows? The background music, the title tracks..basically every bit of music you use for your shows work out so beautifully with the content of the show. It can’t be a coincidence! lol

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  14. First of all I would like to tell you that my entire family, especially my dadi are very fond of your work since before the advent of Pakistani satellite channels. My question is that since drama is the primary source of entertainment in all Pakistani households which have TV, why is there a dearth of programming for teenagers and young adults, who form a sizeable chunk of the population and also are occasional viewers of Pakistani dramas, and what have you done or are currently doing for that age bracket. Most dramas are made with the average Pakistani housewife in the mind as the target audience and more often than not most young adults and teenagers cannot relate to those stories.

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  15. My second question is that with the increase in drama production, the quality of the dramas being churned out, have steadily declined. Who, in your opinion is responsible for that: the channel owners, the production houses, the writers, or the general mindset of the audiences?

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  16. Thanks alot SZ for this ..

    Mehreen you are one ace director.. Whatever you do it’s simply turned into an absolutely amazing work… Its always a treat to watch your direction.. Be it the haatha payee wale scenes in JH or the last meeting of Zara-Junaid and Zara-Maleeha in Daam or Nusrat-Mutm’ain scenes in CK.. And the list is endless..

    My first question is JH was going awesomly great till 20/21 episodes and three more episodes to finale made complete sense but then why it jumped to 27 ?

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  17. Hi Mehreen,
    Thoroughly enjoyed Jackson Heights and a fan of your dramas! It’s such a treat watching your dramas, they never get boring!
    I was wondering if you have any films in the pipeline, as it would be so exciting to see a feature film by you.

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  18. Salaams Mehreen, Love most of your work immensely, especially Doraha, Harjaae, Mata e Jaan and Vasl. I love the element of tragedy that you make part of some of your drama serials. I hope you can direct a drama with Farhat Ishtiaq – you both are a powerful duo! Best direction in any drama was hands down Mata e Jaan-the flashbacks, the emotions-brilliant! Can fans expect a drama from you with Farhat Ishtiaq as the writer?

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  19. My other question is: Mera Naam Yousuf Hai seems to be a romeo+juliet story and is similar to past forlorn lovers’ dramas in the past. The promos look really interesting but the story shows how two lovers have to face opposition. So- what makes MNYH unique?

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  20. One more question – an actor who stands at great versatility and dialogue command is Fahad Mustafa, seen in his past work. Is there any chance that you will work with Fahad Mustafa in a future drama?

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  21. Firstly, SZ (as always) thank you for organising this and giving us this platform to ask questions! You’re amazing! 😀

    Mehreen Jabbar, I absolutely LOVE your work especially Putli Ghar AND Farar! I could watch them on repeat and recently Jackson Heights?! Feel as if I have nothing left to do in life now that it has ended.. Fridays will never be the same!!

    I apologise in advance if these questions have already been asked.

    1. As a director, what do you feel are the key elements in the coming together of a project?

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  22. As a New Yorker, I’m always delighted to see your plays set in NYC so frequently. From an artistic perspective, what is it about NY that initially drew you to it as a filming location, and what is it that keeps you coming back?

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  23. Hey Mehreen! 😊 So glad you’ve agreed for the Q&A.
    When I began watching ‘Jackson Heights’, it took me a minute and thirty seconds to know I’m going to love this show, and by the time Bhatti saab was (apparently) done with his passengers, my faith in the show had only grown stronger.
    Q. It appears you enjoy taking up challenging and innovative projects. What major difficulties, if any, did you face during the making of JH and how did you overcome or work around the problem? (If you’d like to share)

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  24. ‘Putli Ghar’-what an experience! Apart from taking me back to the 90’s, the play also made me realise what is lacking in most present day serials.
    Q. Do you agree that most actors today rely more on background music as opposed to earlier when performances involved better voice control and ability to emote vocally?

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  25. Q. Is there a book or short story you’ve read that you wish to adapt into a screenplay for the big screen or Television?

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  26. I’m always impressed when Pakistani directors go where you would not expect them to in terms of highlighting certain social issues. When you do a series like Rehaai, or show domestic abuse in Jackson Heights, is there any thought as to how this will be received by audiences in Pakistan? Any hesitations or modifications that consider for that?

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  27. Final question – we’ve seen some great actors in your dramas/films, and I am sure plenty more are dying to work with you. Anybody with whom you have not yet worked but would love to direct?

    As an aside, Mehreen, this is such a delight – one of the first Pakistani serials I ever watched was your Daam, which I still regard as one of the best shows I have seen. I am pretty picky about which dramas I watch, but your name always seals the deal for me. Thanks for the many years of enjoyment.

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  28. It is quite routine for actors to complain about the formulaic stories and blame producers and channels for churning out the same old, but recently when popular actors (Fahad Mustafa, Ahsan Khan, Faysal Qureshi for instance) have turned producers they appear to have no compunction in joining the others in producing more of the same … does this mean that there is no hope for any betterment in content coming our way from within the drama industry?

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  29. Your projects have always presented a picture of a very cosmopolitan Pakistan, with characters belonging to various ethnicities and religious groups populating your stories … has this been a conscious choice?

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  30. If I remember correctly you and Sarmad had done a project together a while ago … would love to see you two collaborate again .. your thoughts?

    And ion directors …

    a) among the current crop of directors whose work do you like to watch? And is there a particular project from a particular director that you are looking forward to?
    b) do you watch any of the current serials? If so, has there been a serial in recent times that you wished you could’ve directed, or thought you could’ve done a better job with …

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  31. Typically how involved are you with the stories you direct … do you work closely with the writer as he/she is developing the script .. or is the Khalil ur Rehman type arrangement more the norm, where you can’t touch his script at all and how restrictive was this for you as a director? …

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  32. You’ve done a lot of work with Sania Saeed in the past, in fact if I’m not mistaken her first play, Ab Tum Ja Saktey Ho, was with you. how come we haven’t seen you two work together in recent times … would love to see a reunion of the Farar gang, complete with that red van .. loved that play!

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  33. And with that, I am now closing this post. Thank you all for participating and your questions and comments, and with that I am now closing this post. A huge thank you to Mehreen for being so very gracious and agreeing to this interview – much appreciated!!

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