Art needs more acceptability, respect: Saram Jaffery

Pakistani-Canadian actor/filmmaker Saram Jaffery says young and aspiring artists still face a lot of opposition, criticism for pursuing arts

Pakistani-Canadian actor/filmmaker Saram Jaffery, whose latest film ‘One Last Shot’ has won several awards at various international film festivals, shares his story that how he lacked support towards his decision of pursuing acting and filmmaking from a very young age.

Saram Jaffery said that his immediate family had been very neutral about his decision from the beginning. Over the years, he said that his family members have become very supportive. But “I was always discouraged from pursuing acting and filmmaking by some relatives and other people I hung out with that time,” he said.

Over the years, Pakistan has given the world many legendary artists that have made their mark in the world of arts on a global scale. Yet there is some hesitation and opposition in the society towards aspiring artists. In a Pakistani household, when children express their wish to pursue an art related career, they are often discouraged by their families and even mocked by people around them.

Saram Jaffery pointed out that young and aspiring artists still face a lot of opposition and criticism for pursuing arts. “These young talent have to find a support system within themselves and become their own fan to keep going until their career starts to take off and that can take several years,” he said.

He said that discouragement is mainly because of financial uncertainty and the negative image of entertainment industry that people have in their mind for years. “Art is mostly only accepted as a hobby and when somebody considers making it a career, families and friends oppose the idea because of the struggle the aspiring artist would have to face and also for not really having a clear direction,” he said.

Saram Jaffery said that lack of platforms and support from the government is a major reason why artists and the industry struggle to survive. “I think every line of work has its goods and bads, it’s what you make of it. We need more acceptability and respect in our society towards arts,” he said, adding that an artist, like any other professional, puts lots of hard work, time and energy into their work with a sole purpose of entertaining the people.

“Art is a very strong medium to influence the masses and it brings a strong responsibility to all the artists as well to use it in a positive manner. With the evolution of OTT platforms, we have a much bigger audience that we can reach and tell our stories,” he said. “I want to make films that not only contribute towards putting Pakistani cinema on a global map but also towards bringing the respect and acceptability of performing arts in our households so that families can support and encourage their child’s choice of becoming an artist,” he said.

Currently, Saram Jaffery is developing multiple projects which include a feature film on mental health issues and an immigrant drama web series. The film is inspired by real life stories and Saram Jaffery believes that the audiences will really connect with the subject matter. The film is all set to go on floors and will begin shooting in next few months.

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