Sir Hafeez Tahir is one of the most famous and experienced TV Producer & Director, Anchor, Columnist, Poet, Drama Writer, Novelist, Copy Writer and Still Photographer. He has worked in PTV for 27 years as Program Producer & Executive Producer. He produced Drama serials, Classical and Modern Music Program, Documentaries, Quiz Shows, Stage Shows, Live Transmissions & Current Affair Programs. Sir Hafeez Tahir has directed the most popular and famous PTV serial “Ainak Wala Jin” which was recorded for 5 years and telecasted for 15 years. The TV serial have got 6 PTV awards including director of the decade, two Graduate awards and numerous other awards. He played a great role in the establishing of Channel News 5. Sir Hafeez Tahir is the author of two poetry books “Aathwan Rang” and “Zere Zamin”. He has also produced drama serials and live shows for PRIME TV channel in Pakistan and UK. He delivers lectures on Script Writing regarding documentaries, TV Dramas, TV shows, movies and short films in University of Punjab. I am so much thankful to Sir Hafeez Tahir for the Interview. This is very helpful to those who want to join electronic media like me.
Q: What made you decide to become a producer? Was it your dream to become a TV Producer?
Ans: It was the poet within me who thought that verses were not enough to express the aesthetics and ideas written in my DNA. Then my father brought television to our home and my liquid of interest became more inflammable. I decided firmly to become a television director and producer during early era of my youth. I strived hard to access PTV and started my career with this visual medium as script writer. PTV announced employment opportunities in production and I applied but could not get in. Then after many years the institution announced production vacancies again and I also applied again. The dream came true and I was selected for the post of production assistant. And look at my passion, I left a job of Group 6 with Nespak and joined PTV in a post of Group 4. It was a net loss of thousands of rupees in terms of salary but the profit was to come in shape of creative satisfaction and brilliant success. The rest is a history of sheer hard work and passionate creativity.
Q: Which was your first TV Show as a Producer?
Ans: My first show as producer was Sajri Rut, an amalgamation of short documentaries about prominent districts of Punjab and the studio interviews of the brilliant youth belonging to those districts.
Q: What challenges you had to face in the beginning of your Career as a Producer?
Ans: Many, but the main was creative competition among producers. As in such fields jealousies crop up and the new able persons are taken as a threat by already established producers. No one welcomed my creative abilities except Mr. Yawar Hayat whom I take as my mentor. But after I had proved my abilities, others colleagues also started cooperating half-heartedly.
Q: What was your first drama making experience, and how did it change your life?
Ans: When my colleagues erected obstacles in career and did not let me do major projects I opted to produce programs for children. I floated an idea for children serial entitled as Talaash to be written by renowned children’s author Mr. Aziz Asri. In spite my inexperience I managed to produce a good palatable serial which was liked by the target viewers. Then I directed a serial Khufia Jazeera written by Muhammad Ibrahim Ramay the son of our intellectual politician, writer and calligraphist Mr. Hanif Ramay. It was an adventure, inspired from Swiss family Robinson. The serial was well received. After that serial the management developed confidence in my person and started trusting me with other productions. Then came up Anokhe Loag a science fiction and Hai Koi Aisa, a detective for children. During the first drama production, I came to know about my creative capabilities as a director and that made a great difference. It gave me confidence and courage and enhanced my passion to work better.
Q: What are your top productions, those were appreciated?
Ans: My top drama productions include Ainak Wala Jin ( the block buster family serial) , Amman( 50 minutes drama serial), AAg (50 minutes drama serial), Roag(50 minutes drama serial), Sara (soap). My top music productions include Sada Bahar (the best of radio music), Sur Tarang( pop music) and Bisat e Naghma. My top shows include, Neelam Ghar, PTV awards, launching show of DM digital UK and many special occasion shows. Produced documentaries for Asian Development Bank and Unicef.
Q: What’s been the largest project you’ve done so far?
Ans: Ainak Wala Jin, which is still a loveable memory for viewers. it remains on air on one or another PTV channel.
Q: Are you satisfied with the quality of movie/drama production in Pakistan?
Ans: It is heartening to note that drama production had enormously improved over a decade. Many new directors, producers, writers and performers have emerged and been groomed for the new challenges. But on the film front, alas, I cannot say it. The film industry has almost died. However I hope that with the new directors qualified from various film and television institutes will infuse new spirit in the dead body. The main savior remains the government.
Q: Which Pakistani Media House is working effectively?
Ans: Hum TV, Ary, Geo
Q: On which project you are currently working? What are you going to present in it?
Ans: At this moment I write serials, deliver lectures at University of the Punjab, and work for Adgroup as creative Director.
Q: What is reason that PTV has lost its rating? How it can restore its position?
Ans: There are many reasons for that downfall. The top most is brain drain. The best directors have either retired or left for other channels and PTV has not tried to stop them. The new entrants are political appointments and have no creative background. The organization has not tried to train them for the job and they are not assigned as much projects as are necessary for on job training. PTV have stopped using its enormous production house capacities to churn out its own programs and buys from the market which are not up to the mark and don’t have the PTV touch. The budget assigned to Program department is much less than required for good productions. The institution is overstaffed at wrong places. If the above mentioned flaws are remedied the PTV can restore its position. In addition, I must say that political appointments must be stopped immediately and merit must prevail.
Q: If someone wants to become a Producer, from where he can get training and what are the basic steps for it?
Ans: The remarkable institutes in Lahore include National College of The Arts, University of the Punjab, Beacons National University, University of Central Punjab, The University of Lahore and Superior University
Q: If someone wants to make documentaries for selling, what types of documentaries are demanded around the globe?
Ans: It varies for client to client and their specific marketing needs. Some clients may demand anti-state documentaries and offer higher rates but you should refrain from producing and directing such documentaries.
Q: What are the steps to start a Media House in Pakistan? How much investment is required for it?
Ans: The answer to these questions carries many variables. At what scale do you want to establish a production house? What kind of cameras and editing units you want to acquire for your production house? How much equipment you decide to purchase? How much staff of what caliber do you want to engage? Do you want to establish your own recording studio or not? But roughly you can establish an average production house in Rs: 2.5 million.
Q: What mistakes young producer makes, that are barriers in quality production?
Ans: 1: They don’t have the proper insight to select the viable story and script to make a successful production.
2: The attitude of compromising on standards and working with a wrong ratio of quality and time.
3: Wrong casting and deficient ability to direct the actors
Q: When did you start poetry, how many of your poetry books are published? Have you written any books expect poetry?
Ans: Two collection of my poetry, Aathwan Rang and Zere Zamin have been published while three collections of poetry, Rang Ras, Dastras and Zehr e Ishq are under process. I am also writing a novel Manzil Manzil for children and a book on the subject of Television production.
Ans: Electronic media is attractive but it is not a bed of roses. It is not a job. It is a passion. It is a culture. It is a way of life. It is a very competitive word. First of all ask yourself questions about what I just mentioned and then decide. And if you decided to jump in, have formal theoretical and practical training at some good film and television institute and then assist some established director or producer. Make short films and short documentaries on your own and send them to competition. And then embark upon big productions. Also you must develop excellent script sense to select a ‘would be successful’ script.
Contact of Sir Hafeez Tahir
Cell #: 03214104445
Address: 76 Ataturk Block New Garden Town Lahore