No Reservations On Air

By Sonya Rehman

In Pakistan it’s fairly common for a majority of ‘celebrities’ to dabble in various genres of art. The examples are numerous really – from models that have ‘crossed over’ onto the other side of the fence into acting and the small screen, and from actors who have dabbled in modeling…the entertainment industry within Pakistan has truly shrunk down to a teeny size zero.

Yet, it’s all quite claustrophobically productive somehow. Funny too really; for ask any individual (from the entertainment industry) to define his/her job description, and you will oftentimes find yourself hearing an endless spiel which goes something like this: “Well, I’m a model/actor/filmmaker/television host/VJ/radio jockey/singer/dancer/novelist/estate agent/nuclear scientist…and oh, a freelance assassin…oh wait, I told you I was a model too, right?” You get the picture.

Blimey. But whether or not the local entertainment industry is breeding factory-made ‘Jack-Of-All-Trades-Master-Of-None’ plastic, wind-up dolls is a whole new catty topic of debate altogether. And that being stated, perhaps it would be thoroughly unfair to label each multi-skilled ‘celebrity’ as a bimbionic numbskull. I’m serious.

Take Kamiar Rokni for example. Well-known for his (now severed) affiliation with the clothing brand ‘Karma’ and Maheen Kardar Ali (his ex-business partner), ‘Kami’ as he’s known fondly in the industry, did the unthinkable when he walked out of his long-time association with Karma a little over a year ago. And rightly so. This is because Kamiar had far too much spunk and potential (a deadly creative combination) to sit pretty under the umbrella of Karma. I wasn’t the only one who shared this very notion – many within the industry subscribed to the same belief as well.

Kamiar Rokni by Izdeyar Setna

This is because when Karma exclaimed “dah-ling, it’s ovaaa, so very ovaaa” – the disassociation was met with mixed, and varying reactions. “Good for him, he’s a star – he needs to walk the path alone” some said, while others lamented the loss of Kamiar from Karma.

But coming back to the topic of celebrities experimenting in print and/or broadcast media, Kamiar, this year, hosted his very own show (on Dawn News) which went by the name of ‘No Reservations’.

Interviewing a vast array of well-known individuals (such as Iman Ali, Faryal Gauhar, Fawad Khan of ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ fame, Ahmed Ali Butt, ZQ, Aammar Belal and so on) from the fashion, music and television fraternity,  ‘No Reservations’ was well-received for being an up-close-and-personal interview-based show unlike any other on local television.

And besides, Kamiar turned out to be an exceptional host since his personal make-up is devoid of any farty pomposity, and since he shares an amicable rapport with everyone in the entertainment circus…oops, I meant, circle.

However, my only ‘reservation’ (pun intended) with the show was the set design which hardly seemed conducive enough for an interview show. I hate to draw parallels, but in ‘Koffee with Karan’ for instance, the low-set couch (for the guests) was placed close to the interviewer. And just by doing this, the atmosphere bred a certain ‘cozy openness’ which made Karan’s show ratings soar.

It may not seem like that big a deal – but it’s true, and what’s more, the guests on Karan’s show shared good chemistry (on screen) since they sat together while being interviewed by Karan.

On the other hand, in ‘No Reservations’, two odd-looking couches for the interviewees – were set far apart – and resembled white boxes with their high arm-rests. And a good distance away was situated the interviewer’s bright red couch. It really made no head or tail quite frankly and on-screen, instead of appearing as a laid-back (yet glitzy) interview-based show, it came off as stiff, and yes, a tad uncomfortable.

Yet, Kamiar’s openness and ease, his sense of humour and his fabulous interviewing skills of truly ‘listening’ to his guests (instead of gabbing away about himself), made ‘No Reservations’ quite a success. And perhaps that is what local entertainment television desperately needs – a well-known, down to earth host with absolutely no reservations whatsoever!

FAQ magazine

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