In Conversation with Ms. Asma Nabeel; A woman Of Many Talents

When education level increases the taboo will decrease as the thinking capability expands! Get to know her more...

Runway Pakistan interviewed Asma Nabeel, a woman of many talents, most of which are kept hidden under wraps not only is she an acclaimed writer but stands strong as the COO of Crew Motion Pictures and a producer. Another hidden talent of hers is that she is a talented poet, which has recently been unveiled through her song in an Indian film.

Topics that revolve around stereotypes and marginalization are becoming less of a taboo in present-day society what are your thoughts over what has influenced this?

I personally feel the globalization and access to information is influencing the decline in taboos. Even if people want to make a certain thing a taboo, it may not be a taboo in other societies, we have more access to this and they are becoming more prone to it. As the education and exposure increase, so does the acceptability.

Now you’re not living in an isolated world, this is what is bringing about the change, the communication access is rapidly increasing with the passage of time. We have access to information through the internet and now it is up to the people how they make the most out of it. Once the education level increases the taboo will decrease, the thinking capability expands.

Do you feel your dramas showcase taboo topics?

My dramas in one way or another showcase taboos and things people would choose not to speak about previously, which they do now. I take pride in that, I had a very serious struggle of becoming a writer, six years roaming around with my story Khuda Mera Bhi Hai, people were not accepting it because they thought it is a strange taboo oriented topic as it was about the acceptability of transgenders. After Khuda Mera Bhi hai, I have seen a difference on the channels and change in the drama industry with the range of genre becoming more inclusive of taboo topics. It was a struggle of a single person, which led to many more paths opening up for others in regards to issue-oriented topics because prior to this there was almost zero acceptability.

Do you plan to venture onto more projects which highlight social issues?

Yes, absolutely. I’m not planning to do anything else right now. I want to produce a love story as well and that is in the works. Currently, on the plate, I have topics related to social issues like Baandi, Surkha Chaandni, Daamsa are all stories focusing on issues from the real world occurring in present times. Tv is a mass medium and the best tool right now. I feel like as a writer it is necessary to tap into such issues, and we have the power in our hands to bring about change. The incidents which are happening trigger my thoughts which culminates into a script.

Helicopter eela is your debut in the Bollywood industry as a lyricist, how did this come into play?

That’s a very interesting story. Before writing I was in the advertising agency, we used to shoot with many brands which had Indian directors as well, including Pardeep Sarkar, who is the director of Helicopter Eela. He was a big fan of Urdu, and he knew i was a writer as well. This is almost 5 years back, he liked a piece which I had written and asked to keep it, which I agreed to. Then 5 years later he gave me a ring and said that piece was fitting right into one of his current works and then we went on to produce a full song. It released on the 12th of October.

What are three words that come into your mind when I say ‘Asma Nabeel’

Patient, Unstoppable, Sensitive.

All-time favorite drama?

Zindagi Gulzar Hai. I loved how the characters were so mellow and real. An empowered girl in a different way.

Top 3 inspirational figures you look up-to?

My mother and my father are the only two inspirational figures I look up to. Those two are the sole institution for me, as role models the strong-headed woman I am today I owe it to them. My inspiration as a writer is Haseena Mooen and for poetry its none other than Parveen Shakir.

We came across the fact that you have a degree in mass communication, what has the transition been like – from the corporate world to the drama industry.

I finished my studies in advertising and then became a junior copywriter in a creative agency. I was always on the creative side and would write concepts. A lot of my clients and friends in advertising used to encourage me to write, to pen down better and interesting stories. There was a point I felt that within advertising the scope was not as much compared to the creative production side. I think I’m heading in the right direction and enjoying the process.

What do you deem as your greatest achievement till date?

Coming out of cancer and not becoming a compliant person after that is the greatest achievement in my life. I have come out as a completely different person after my illness. Eight years ago I was a completely different individual.

One advice you would give to modern day women who are having trouble juggling their professional and personal life at the same time?

Your work is your own priority if you think it is a liability then leave your work. If you have taken a decision to work then it is your responsibility to handle the professional and personal life both, cribbing will get you nowhere.

What are the next projects you have lined up?

My next ventures are Daamsa, Surkh Chaandni, and Ruswaai. Each show has a distinguished genre. Daamsa is a show revolving around child trafficking and Surkh Chaandni is on acid attack survivors. I hope there is a positive transition towards the rights of acid attack survivors, there are acts and bills which are still underway since 2017 in regards to the rights of acid victims. These are issues which need to be brought more awareness about in society.

What type of backlash have you faced in regards to the social topics you write about?

I’ve never received that sort of a backlash as such when I wrote Khuda Mera Bhi Hai. I did receive certain phone calls and messages which were quite strange. On the other hand, I received a lot of appreciation messages from people who were suffering from this, many transgenders working with hidden identities reached out to me and sent appreciation messages which really warmed my heart. It has become a norm in our society to make the transgenders a source of entertainment as dancers, they can live a respectful life and they are full well capable of leading a normal life and this is the way it should be. The positive responses I have received throughout my career have really kept me going.