“Muslim women can do anything and everything with Hijab. Be a moderate and highly educated woman. Be ready to work hard and competent. You can be a good homemaker and career woman all together. But it needs your courage. I want to say to the women of Kashmir that don’t lose hopes. The flood of water might have washed away your goods and assets but it should not flow over your courage, hopes and goals. Stand up again and move on. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. A life demands struggle”.
JAMMU/ JEDDEH: Marriage can be an obstacle if your spouse and his family will not support you. So career oriented women should be particularly careful if they decide to marry with anyone. This was expressed by multitalented Jeddah-based Saudi citizen Sameera Aziz during an e-interview with Ajmer Alam Wani, (Editor-in-Chief, JK Monitor).
Famous Saudi media personality, Sameera Aziz is a highly educated Saudi woman, well known for her intellect, professional competence and integrity. She is a Journalist, film maker, director, script writer, radio presenter, novelist, speaker, social worker and activist.
During the interview she cautioned that sometimes, man and his family do the fake promises before marriage and then they create the hurdles after marriage. A document should be signed by husband before marriage to approve the conditions of bride, she suggested. Moreover, after marriage, when you have children, it becomes challenging to maintain career and home together. A mother can decide the best”.
“ I don’t advise women to choose career in that time when the children are small. Children and home should be priority. Now everything is so easy by technology. So many jobs can be done and handled through technology and devices. You just need to be capable to use it wisely and perfectly. I managed and maintained my career, education, home and children. It was challenging and I killed my own rest and relaxation hours in life. However, I never compromised with the need of my children. I did it without any support and encouragement from any close relative, but I did it thanks to Allah”.
Here are the questions which were asked to Sameera and read what she replied to each one.
Q: How you differentiate women life style in India, Pakistan, Jeddah and other European countries?
A: The lifestyle of Saudi women, especially the women which belong to a developed city like Jeddah, is clearly different than Indian, Pakistani and European women. Since I have been travelling around the world and I am a journalist as well, I have been observing it very closely. Saudi women in Jeddah are very glamorous. They are shopaholic, restaurant goers and love cosmetic surgeries. They are very cautious about their looks and since usually they are prosperous as well, they generously spend their wealth in their grooming. They are very fond of education and career similar to the other women of the world, but what makes Saudi women different and appreciable is that, they are carving a niche in male dominated society and in limited resources. However, it should be mentioned that situation is going to be better and better for the women living in Saudi Arabia regarding the work, career, life and laws.
Q: Being Muslim, what difficulties you faced and privileges you enjoyed in your long professional journey?
A: Being Muslim, I enjoyed the respect and honor in my professional life. However, the narrow minded, bad character and evil minded people tried to discourage me. Bad character men do not like to be called ‘brother in Islam’ and they start making a Muslim woman victim with their feelings of rejection. They made the false stories and rumors which never surprised me, nor bother me. Many evil people made the false excuse of Islam just to let me down. While, we all know that the first wife of Prophet Muhammad’s Khadija bint Khuwaylid ran a very wealthy and powerful business. In much of the world, like Malaysia, Indonesia, or the first world nations, Muslim women are very self reliant and are often just as wealthy and skilled as men.
Those negative minded and evil people who tried made my path difficult, were mostly belonged to South Asian countries rather than Arab world. But I did not stop and made my place as a winner. No doubt, there has been thousands and thousands of supporters and well wishers of mine, and many of them belong to the same South Asian countries.
Moreover, those ultra narrow minded Muslim people also try to bother me, who do not realize the requirement of 21st century’s media. This is an age of visible media and entertainment. They don’t like me for using an entertainment medium for my goal to remove misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. They try to abuse me in different ways through social media, gossiping and rumors.
Since I am a social worker too, so if I help any victim, the opposite evil party starts making me their victim as well. However, the fact that makes me feeling sorry is that, many women do not support me out of jealousy. I have been mostly working for the support of women and I think women should support and encourage me than men. But I experienced that women tend to be jealous over everything. Overall, if you are a woman, you have to face the challenges and difficulties. It’s OK, I don’t care and nothing can stop me.
Q: Does marriage help or becomes an obstacle in achieving goals and success in any field?
A: Yes marriage can be an obstacle if your spouse and his family will not support you. So career oriented women should be particularly careful if they decide to marry with anyone. Sometimes, man and his family do the fake promises before marriage and then they create the hurdles after marriage. A document should be signed by husband before marriage to approve the conditions of bride. Moreover, after marriage, when you have children, it becomes challenging to maintain career and home together. A mother can decide the best. I don’t advise women to choose career in that time when the children are small. Children and home should be priority. Now everything is so easy by technology. So many jobs can be done and handled through technology and devices. You just need to be capable to use it wisely and perfectly. I managed and maintained my career, education, home and children. It was challenging and I killed my own rest and relaxation hours in life. However, I never compromised with the need of my children. I did it without any support and encouragement from any close relative, but I did it thanks to Allah.
Q: Having been successful in a number of fields, what you suggest a better among these for aspiring women?
A. Yes, this is right I have been doing lots of work but most of my works belong to Media field. Rest of the work is also somehow connected to my Media work. So I would suggest women to choose the Media path or Journalism field, then work hard and be creative. You will get the rest of the success ultimately because Media and Journalism will make you powerful, well connected and prestigious. This will eventually make you a successful woman.
Q: In Bollywood, what things you observed are not good for females and also point out good ones?
A. In Bollywood, I found people so professional, workaholic and realistic. It lacks sincerity. People are selfish and materialistic which is common in every field of present world. We cannot generalize Bollywood industry. Females have been working everywhere, not just in Bollywood. Every woman is mature and she has full right to work and live according to her own wishes. So I will not like to say anything to suggest Bollywood women to do this and to do that….!
Q: What is the core difference between production houses in Islamic nation, India and Pakistan?
A: Production houses of Islamic nations are careful about their strict censor policies. Islamic teachings and argument have been used to censor. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world's second largest intergovernmental organization, has actively lobbied for a global ban on what it perceives as anti-Islamic blasphemy. Censorship in India involves the suppression of speech or other public communication, raises issues of freedom of speech, which is nominally protected by the Indian constitution. The Constitution of India guarantees freedom of expression but places certain restrictions on content, with a view towards maintaining communal and religious harmony, given the history of communal tension and it makes sense to me. Pakistan censor board is little stricter than India. The Pakistani Constitution limits censorship, but allows reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan or public order or morality. Production houses of all those parts of the world have been obeying the policy of their countries otherwise; obviously they will not be able to work in their country.
Q: If you have to serve long years militancy hit Kashmir valley, what will be your priorities for women?
A: I would like to see the highly educated and very wealthy Kashmiri woman, same like Saudi women.
Q: Your message for Muslim women and the women in Kashmir recently hit badly by floods?
A: Muslim women can do anything and everything with Hijab. Be a moderate and highly educated woman. Be ready to work hard and competent. You can be a good homemaker and career woman all together. But it needs your courage.
I want to say to the women of Kashmir that don’t lose hopes. The flood of water might have washed away your goods and assets but it should not flow over your courage, hopes and goals. Stand up again and move on. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. A life demands struggle.
PROFILE OF SAMEERA AZIZ
Sameera Aziz is a famous Saudi media personality. A highly educated Saudi woman, she’s well known for her intellect, professional competence and integrity. She is a Journalist, film maker, director, script writer, radio presenter, novelist, speaker, social worker and activist. She is a Jeddah-based Saudi citizen. She is most notable as a radio presenter of her weekly show ‘Marhaba with Sameera Aziz’ in Asian Radio Live, which is based in the United Kingdom. She is the Country Head of ‘South Asian Regional Information Agency’ (SARIA), an international news agency with voice of SAARC countries.
Sameera Aziz is also an owner of the production house ‘Sana Solkar production’ in Bollywood which is the first Saudi production house in India. She has been involved in film making in Saudi Arabia on women issues as an assistant director and production team member. She studied film making from Hollywood directors. She is a director, producer and writer of a Bollywood movie REEM, the first Saudi-Indo venture in Bollywood. She is recognized as a first Saudi female Bollywood director and writer.
Sameera Aziz is also recognized as the first Saudi novelist of Urdu language in Saudi Arabia. She is active in humanitarian work. She has written thousands of articles and fictions in politics, social and woman issues. She is a speaker regarding international, social, expatriate, animal, and women’s issues. She aims to give positive message through her media activities and to bridge the gap between the Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.
She also acts as a consultant to various international organizations for social development and human rights like National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), We – The Youth and Society for International Peace, which is a think tank initiated to serve the humanity. She is also the special adviser of ‘International Affairs and Women’s Rights’ in Journalist Foundation, a professional federation of global journalists. She is also a business woman. She is married with two children.
Sameera Aziz has won many awards like The woman of today, humanity award, pride of the nation, first Urdu novelist, youth ambassador, Best Ind-o-Pak Friendship Icon award etc. She is recently nominated for the Best Saudi Female Journalist & Media Person Award in “Women Leaders in Saudi Arabia & Awards 2015″ taking place soon first time in Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh.
Sameera Aziz is directing her movie ‘Reem’ under the banner of her own first Saudi production house in Bollywood ‘Sana Solkar Production’. Her film Reem is the first Saudi-Bollywood venture in India.
ABOUT FILM REEM
(The first Indo-Saudi venture in Bollywood)
Saudi Writer/director: Sameera Aziz
Sana Solkar Productions
Story of film REEM:
This story is based on the issues and effects of cross-cultural marriage. This is a story of a Saudi girl, Reem; whose mother is an Indian woman. After getting the divorce from Reem’s Saudi father, she returned to Mumbai, India – leaving her 8-month-old daughter Reem with her Saudi father and Saudi step mother in Jeddah. Reem has been living a happy life with her agnate siblings. In fact, one of her younger brothers is her good friend and she shares every secret with him. He supports the right of Reem to make her own choices.
One day, after her graduation, it coincidently revealed to Reem that her real mother was an Indian woman. Reem gets surprised and mystified. Now she wants to know her genuine identity. She becomes curious to know about her real mother. Postponing her marriage, Reem goes to India with the excuse of taking further education. She then starts searching her actual mother there with the help of the information she has gathered in Jeddah. Her father did not know her real motive of her stay in Mumbai until the last.
Will she find her mother? How? What kind of struggle she will do in India to reach to her mother? She has a maternal half-sister as well in India and she is the 2nd heroine of the film. She will also find her ‘Mr. Right’ in India who is an ‘angry young man’. Both ignore each other. He realizes his deep feelings for Reem only after her departure to Saudi Arabia. She returns to Jeddah just to obey her father’s order.
Now in this situation, Reem’s marriage with her love will be possible?
You will see it in the film.
The twist and turns in the film makes it an interesting entertaining family drama with the exposure of modern days developed Saudi culture and tourism. The lively Indian youth and their adventures will add the spice in the film. There are fighting scenes, melodious songs and comedy scenes in the film to entertain the audience.
• Reem will have a decent stay in Mumbai. The character of Reem will be presented as a ‘Mohajjaba” (head-covered) Saudi girl. However, she will not wear Abaya in India. She is very beautiful, humble, confident and educated girl. She will be wearing the trousers and long shirts, same as our modest Saudi-Arabian girls usually do when they travel abroad. Her expensive Saudi-Arabian costume will be the unique thing for audience.
• The other heroine, an Indian step-sister of Reem, belongs to a modern generation of Mumbai. She is a glamorous singer, and she is a member of a band group ‘HEARTBEATS’. There will be another hero in the film who is a ‘HEARTBEATS’ member as well. The hero of the film is a rock star and a leading singer of ‘HEARTBEATS’.
This is a family drama and an entertaining film with the melodious and lyrical music – which is a soul of Bollywood films. Hindi Film Reem will be dubbed in Arabic and English languages and it will be released worldwide including Pakistan. The script and storyline are very powerful and communicative.
Promoting Saudi Tourism:
Some 30 minutes’ shooting of this film will be done in Jeddah as per as the storyline. I will take a good advantage to present the beautiful and positive things, happening and amazing locations of my city of lights ‘Jeddah’. My Jeddah is full with landmark locations, historical places and best infrastructure.
My goal and reason to write and direct this film:
Film is an animation of person’s imagination. The ‘writer’ can powerfully convey his ideas to his viewers by directing his film. For developing the better understanding, we should interact with the world and reach to the people by communicating with them in their language. Therefore, with the mission of peace and love, and to present myself as a bridge between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world, I aimed to enter in the Bollywood industry with a new, decent and powerful story.
My target is to present a modern and educated Saudi youth to show the world that – we, the new generation of Saudis, are not harsh and ignorant. We are not among those people who have spread the hatred by their terrorism acts. We are not abusers; we do love others; we do care others…. Our young Saudi generation is decent, confident, humble and highly educated. They have a sense to be socialized and to protect their values and identity at the same time. Each object in the camera frame and dialogue in the script will ultimately give some positive message to the viewers about Saudis. Lots of brains storming and communication technique is being used for this purpose. Being an experienced writer/novelist, I am confident for my job.
I have studied and learnt film making from the Hollywood directors and I have already assisted many directors of Saudi movies and plays such as Lamar and Hayath to name a few. I am into Journalism since 15-yrs and I know very well how to present the scenarios according to a Saudi policy. I have been presenting the news in an agreeable way. I know a Saudi way, and I have become enough confident about my professional expertise of ‘mind-building’ ability being a trained Saudi Journalist. My 15-yrs experience in practical journalism will be a back-bone in this film. I will strategically, usefully and wisely present the Saudi characters as a director and writer. I am a first Saudi novelist in Saudi Arabia in Urdu language.
Saudi woman at focus:
People want to know about the Saudi woman. Their curiosity will be useful for this film. Saudi women are always being portrayed as a victim of social norms. Let the world know that our heroine ‘Reem’ – a Saudi woman of today – gets the liberty to find her identity. Let the world know about the real life style of today’s Saudi women.
· Bollywood has explored Dubai, Egypt as well as many other Arab countries. It is only Saudi Arabia, which is not being explored yet.
· It’s first time that Saudi actors are acting in a Bollywood movie and they will deliver the dialogues in ‘Hindi’ without dubbing.
· After 9/11 arena, Saudi-Arabian women get lots of attention of the world. Whatever the Saudi-Arabian women do; it becomes the talk of the town.
· Being a Saudi lady journalist, radio presenter and film maker, I too have been getting lots of attention. I am sure that people will like to see that what I am going to present them in an entertaining film.
Sana Solkar Production:
Sana Solkar Production is the first ‘Saudi Production House’ in Bollywood owned by Sameera Aziz in Mumbai with the partnership of Mr. Aslam Solkar (an Indian producer). The creative team of this production house is very experienced, qualified, hardworking and professional from Bollywood film industry.
Cast from Saudi Arabia: Hamza Eskander (Saudi model and host of Coke studio), Muhammad Bakhsh (Saudi veteran and famous actor), Salem Bawazeer (Saudi actor)
Cast from Bollywood: under process
Expected heroine for the main role: Wiam Dahmani (Moroccan actress from UAE)
Music director: Toshi-Sharib, Aslam Keyi
Singers: KK (and others)
Background music: Sanjoy Chowdhary