The first video marking the debut of Saba Qamar’s YouTube channel, titled Episode 1: Isolation, has left me in introspection. Actually no. It hasn’t left me thinking about my life, but hers.
The video, a 7-minute soliloquy, shows Saba drift through what appears to be her elegant home, herself as narrator, poetically expressing her feelings about being in isolation. It’s interesting, as it begins with the noise and clutter of her pre-corona days when she’d be surrounded by people, on sets, in shows and basically everywhere public and personal. And it ends on quite a macabre note, showing her alone, immersed in a black bathtub full of water. She’s wearing white, not unlike a shroud, the black bathtub not unlike a grave. Like I said, it is quite chilling.
She questions herself and everyone listening. She questions relationships, friendships, social disparity, thoughtlessness and recklessness and what she poses is all very pertinent. The only flaw in this carefully constructed soliloquy is that it’s carefully constructed. Saba’s hair and makeup is a little too fine; disorder would have been more relatable. Her choice of wardrobe is a little too refined, the book she chooses to be ‘candidly’ captured reading – Think! by Edward de Bono – is a little too well curated.
But all that is okay and can be overlooked for the larger picture.
Visually, the video has been well-directed; it has the finesse not usually associated with celebrity videos in Pakistan, which are mostly edited versions of live recordings and all over the place, cashing in on star status without really offering much in terms of intellect or anything new in terms of entertainment. This one has a theme and a sequence; it’s like the first episode of a series on Saba. It’s how people want to see her. And fortunately, she’s making sense.
The narration is poignant and well thought out. Produced and written by Saba herself, it addresses the dichotomy of life in the 21st century. It’s where man finds himself alone in a crowd and how he finds himself when in solitude. It points to the vagaries of life, which drag human beings through an arcade of emotions and experiences.
Isolation is refreshing, and the pun is very much intended.