MaanSal Studios is a cocktail of ravishing photography, cuddly comics and giggling videos, and its cameras promises to reveal a lot. “Lol Relationships”, “Valentine Sucks”, “Why I hate dentists” and “Annoying things that women do” and the most recent video “Exams and Shit” have taken our youth by storm.
For the media, our youth is a trackless train, for parents it is ‘I wonder, what I have done wrong, dear Lord, that I have been blessed with such kids’, but, as I sat in MaanSal’s stoop, I saw that our youth is fun loving, passionate and sage. A platform reflecting the youth; their ideas, their attitude, their days and their nights, by youth for the very youth itself! It is probably the most appropriate definition of MaanSal Studios.
I interviewed the person behind MaanSal Studios, Salman Parekh, a young fellow from Karachi. Here’s what he said:
Us: Tell us something about yourself?
Salman Parekh: I’m doing BBA from CBM and honestly, I’ve never been good at studies. I was so tired of commerce and studies that I started MaanSal - to enjoy the other side of my life.
Us: How did you start MaanSal studios?
SP: Back in 2010, I initiated MaanSal mainly for photography, but videos were always my interest. I made a short film as well on a social cause. After that, I didn’t do videos for a long time and just went on with photography. Then, in February 2012, with a friend, Faizan Syed, I resumed making videos.
Us: What was the idea behind MaanSal Studios?
SP: When I started it, it was more for awareness as I focused on social issues. After that, it was merely to spread smiles and to make people laugh, and grow the YouTube trend in Pakistan.
Us: Tell us something about your photography?
SP: I never planned to take up photography as a major. When I was seven years old, my sister used to serve as a model subject and obviously, she had to fake how good the photos clicked by me were since she had no one else who would click her photos. Her appreciation served as the foundation of my confidence and inclined me towards photography.
Us: How was the response you got for your videos?
SP: The response has been amazing. I never expected my videos to go viral. Plus, I’ve been getting such motivating and appreciative messages lately. So yes, the response is something which is making me continue it, and it’s awesome to know that there are some people who actually wait for the upcoming videos. People now know me as MaanSal instead of Salman. Well, MaanSal is actually a modified Salman! It has given me a phenomenal social network coupled with countless other things that make me who I am today.
Us: How many people do you have in your team?
SP: For videos, I have a couple of friends who help me with the jokes; otherwise, I run it all alone when it comes to photography, video edits, video concepts etc. But, obviously, without these friends, I wouldn’t be able to pull off the video logs. I am collaborating with some theater groups for some videos too. Let’s see how that turns out to be
Us: How was your experience?
SP: The experience has been great. My social circle grew because of it. I got a lot of opportunities to experiment and that made me evolve as a photographer.
Us: Your achievements?
SP: I am doing what I always wanted to do and I am getting enough respect and appreciation because of my work. This, for me, is my biggest achievement.
Us: What sort of photographs do you love clicking the most?
SP: I love taking shots that utilise my time and bring out what I actually visualise in my mind. I try using different angles and colours. I first try to visualise a picture of what I want to click and then I try to achieve the same results with the lens.
Us: Do you do any photography for commercial purposes?
SP: I started with commercial photography, but the pressure of studies was just too much. So, I started to cut down work and balance it with my studies. After I was done with my college, I took a gap year so that I could travel, explore and spend some extra-time with my camera. This made me get to know it even more closely!
Us: Have you received any professional training for photography?
SP: You know how it’s said that friends can ‘make’ or ‘break’ you; the former is quite true in my case. I never got proper training, but I learnt from the other really good photographers in my social circle. I asked questions, sometimes too many, and they guided me. I tried to implement what they said in my work. So, it is due to their advice that I have reached this point. I totally owe my position to the advice and support I got from my contemporaries.
Us: Where do you see yourself and MaanSal Studios in the next five years?
SP: LOL. I can’t exactly state where MaanSal and I would be. I make MaanSal and it makes me! The day when I began, I never even imagined that I would reach such great heights this early. If Almighty’s help stays with me, people would get to see a lot more of the MaanSal spunk. I definitely have plans to have my name engraved somewhere in the pages of everyone’s life.
Us: Who inspires you the most for your photography?
SP: The mere feeling of FEELING the minutest things in life inspires me to pursue photography. Through all these years I have realised a fact that photography makes you LOOK at that the things that are being ignored otherwise. Anyone can click but not everyone can notice. My inspiration is now served by the most vague, bizarre, ignored things in life. As mentioned earlier, I always compose a photograph of the scene in my mind before I click it.
Us: What are your hobbies?
SP: XBOX (Fifa) and Photography.
Us: Any message for readers?
SP: As I look around, a lot of us just do things because we’re told to - like what field to go to, how to dress; in fact, I’ve seen people who are also unable to choose their hobbies! They’re told to forget their ‘passion’ just because others or our elders don’t like it. Trust me, you have got to do what you want to do, live your way, find alternatives but be strong enough to speak for yourself and make your own decisions. If you can do well with what others tell you to, just imagine how awesome you’ll be when you’ll do what you want to do.