After a long break from television, Mehreen Jabbar returns with her directorial skills to our screens this Eid with not one, but two telefilms! After her feature film Dobara Phir Se, which won her a nomination for Best Director at the LSAs while having its highs and lows, Mehreen is now directing two different sets of actors in two very different telefilms. Her TV serial, Jackson Heights, was highly acclaimed with an ensemble cast that included Noman Ijaz, Marina Khan, Adeel Hussain amongst others. We caught up with the director, who was in Karachi for the filming of her upcoming projects, to find out more.
The first telefilm, which is written by Dr Younis Butt and still remains unnamed, stars Feroze Khan, Sana Javed and Shamim Hilaly and is an “old school romance” the director told us. (Read more here: Feroze Khan signs up for Mehreen Jabbar’s telefilm) The second project is called Hum Chalay Aiye, written by Mohammad Ahmed, and is an old world story, which revolves around two families who are tackling drama over a plot dispute. The telefilm stars Hina Dilpazeer, Marina Khan, Madiha Imam, Mohammad Ahmed, Furqan Qureshi and other well-know actors.
We asked the director her criteria behind casting actors in her projects, “They need to fit the character, be free in the days we plan on shooting and they need to be up for working at early hours; which is very rare these days!” she told us with a laugh. When comparing dramas, films and telefilms, Jabbar admitted that major channels and production houses have a long way to go. “Television gives the most in terms of revenue and reaching a large audience…but budgets for telefilms are much smaller, while a film is planned out meticulously. We also need rigorous exercises in professionalism. There is always a lot of drama happening,” we were told.
We asked Jabbar about the feedback Dobara Phir Se got, and what she feels she could’ve changed. “There was a lot of positive feedback, as well as criticism…I don’t regret anything, but looking back me and Bilal (writer of the film) feel we could probably have made the film shorter and added more scenes of conflict. I learn with every project and I’ve listened to the issues people had and accepted and learnt from them.”
The telefilms are planned to air on Eid. Jabbar also told us that she is exploring ideas for TV series and potential films and will soon be back with more!