Modern day Pakistani TV shows excluding drama series can be categorised into B-grade morning shows or overly dramatic political shows. It is very hard to find shows on local channels that are interesting, light and allow you to take a break from all the horrendous atrocities happening all over. Across the globe, TV show hosts, such as Jay Leno, Karan Johar, Ellen Degeneres and Oprah Winfrey have all allowed their audiences to escape into their world and the world of their guests but we hardly ever see something like that on our local channels. However, now, designer and choreographer Hassan Shehryar Yasin is coming out with his very own talk show Tonite with HSY and we are all thrilled.
"I have been offered shows many times before but I never had the time," says HSY, "I love TV and everyone knows that I love talking, so it seemed like a great time to start this up."
Yasin runs a coveted fashion powerhouse, retaining major power and influence over the fashion industry. As promos for this upcoming show hit the network and social media, Yasin explains the concept behind the show as being one that will allow his guests to talk freely about whatever they please to discuss. "It is not a gossip show and neither will it solely revolve around fashion or film," he continues, "all the guests I'm calling in the show are people I know and they are comfortable with me, we have shot about five episodes already and honestly, it felt like two friends were talking," he adds.
Interestingly, the crew and the director are not present on the sets while the conversation between the guest and the host is taking place. While the cameras are rolling, the editing is taking place in another room, giving the host and the guests the leverage to be comfortable and speak candidly. "There is a lot of despair in our country and TV in Pakistan is a constant reminder of all the wrong things happening in the world. This is one way to get people to take a break from all that. It’s literally like walking into my house and having a chat with me. The set is very interesting and looks just like my house; hence, it is an ideal place to have intimate conversations," he says.
Whenever anything new is about to start, a comparison with similar shows across the border is inevitable. For example, Mahira Khan's talk show The Lighter Side of Life with Tuc was a blatant copy of Koffee With Karan. "My vision is beyond Koffee With Karan. Tonite with HSY will neither be digging for gossip nor will it promote or project upcoming projects, it is a platform for the masses to get to know who our celebrities are and what they think about topics that do not necessarily pertain to their jobs. I guess the only thing that this show will have in common with Koffee with Karan will have to be that we both know our guests well and that is positive because you can ensure that your guests do not make up stuff for TV," says Yasin.
Inspired by Jay Leno, Chelsea Handler, Jimmy Fallon, the show does not have any set format. There is a game show segment, but sadly there isn't a rapid fire round or a crazy hamper to be won. "I have learnt a lot about my guests and it has been an eye opening experience so far," continues HSY, "some are more divaesque than one would think and others have turned out to be smarter than what I had expected. I had a great time talking to Bilal Lashari and there are some unusual pairings you can expect from this show."
Airing on Eid, the show will be seen at prime time on Sunday evenings. Let's buckle up and see what the designer has for us.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2014.
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