Fashion designer and host (HSY)Hassan Sheheryar Yasin’s live sessions with celebrities during the pandemic have made him quite the sensation on social media.
Due to the increasing criticism specific entertainment show hosts get, HSY who is now also an emerging actor, spoke in detail about the ethics of hosting with Express Tribune.
Be it for their ‘insensitive’ questions towards guests who had suffered a tragic loss – case in point, Nida Yasir’s latest apology – or their attitude towards a guest glorifying public harassment – hosts have been continually called out for ‘banking on’ or ‘encouraging’ controversy for TRPs.
Therefore, HSY digs deeper into how ethics are occasionally flouted when it comes to entertainment talk shows, and explains how one can stay clear of making such mistakes.
With due respect
“I don’t believe that I’m doing anything better than anyone else. But I do believe that when you call someone on your show, you are bound to respect them,” HSY told The Express Tribune.
The designer relayed how whenever he calls someone on his show, he discusses the topic at hand before going on air. “If something happened in a person’s life, I will ask them beforehand whether they’d be comfortable talking about it on my show or not. I would never insult someone by making them uncomfortable on air.”
He further stressed upon valuing his guest’s and the audience’s time. “Your guest and audience is just as sensitive about its time as you, so while they spend that time participating in your show, they need authenticity and conversations they can relate to.”
HSY recalled how recently, a friend of his who’s a model and another friend who’s a designer, told him how they felt humiliated at a talk show they were called to partake in. “It was because some questions made them uncomfortable,” he added.
“One more thing people in Pakistan don’t do often is say, ‘sorry’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you!’ – It makes a huge difference.” He then replayed a scenario from a recently critiqued talk show, to reinstate how the outcome would’ve been positive had the host phrased her questions differently. “They could’ve said, ‘If you don’t mind, could you please tell the audience what happened?’ and after the guest was done speaking, they could’ve said ‘thank you for sharing that with us and I’m so sorry you had to go through it.”
“But they kept saying ‘Acha phir batao, phir kya hua? Acha!? Phir?’ it’s like you’re forcing a story out of someone. Those days are long gone, and no one appreciates it. Today, neither your opinion matters, nor mine – it’s the audience whose opinion will always matter,” HSY emphasised.
Downside of banning
Owing to the recent bans on TikTok, a drama serial, a biscuit ad and the temporary ban on Churails, asked if banning ‘unethical’ entertainment shows could help, HSY laughed saying, “The thing with banning is, it makes things more popular.”
The designer went on to express his uncertainty towards the ongoing bans. “Our censorship policies need to become clearer, so that if something is banned, it doesn’t come as a shock. And as for certain entertainment shows, it’s a very slippery slope,” HSY believes. “Freedom of speech is mandatory for the concoction of ideas, and amid the process, mistakes are bound to be made. But banning is never the answer.”
He emphasised on the need for a criteria for the kind of content aired on web shows and TV. “We all need to remember, that these shows are still something very new for us. And with the emergence of so many channels and desperation to produce content, showrunners forget their ethics.”
“But banning is not the answer, teaching and educating is,” he remarked.
Venture into acting
HSY also opened up about his venture into acting and whether he’d be making a permanent career shift or not. “I never anticipated myself to be a designer or to be on the Oscar’s committee. I didn’t foresee hosting talk shows, nor did I imagine becoming the youngest designer to direct fashion weeks. So I certainly never thought I’d be on the big screen either,” said the aficionado.
The emerging actor then revealed how Mohib Mirza, the director of his upcoming debut film, Ishrat Made in China, gave him a call one day. “He said he had written a role particularly thinking about me, so I had to take it – I felt honoured.”
HSY promised the film is action-packed, adding that he has executed the entire action choreography and stunts on his own. “Mohib and I were in stunt training for days. From jumping 45 feet in the air to sword fighting, you name it and we did them.”
The star will also be seen in an upcoming telelvision serial with Maya Ali and Sheheryar Munawar.