Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza talk up their new chat show

The sports stars dropped into the Khaleej Times office to discuss their new venture.

Photo: M. Sajjad
Photo: M. Sajjad

Enid Grace Parker

Published: Sun 5 Dec 2021, 6:28 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Dec 2021, 7:19 PM

Cricketer Shoaib Malik and tennis ace Sania Mirza have a new venture up their sleeves - and it has a lot to do with talking! The Shoaib & Sania Show, a chat programme, will debut on Pakistan’s first OTT platform UrduFlix.

Sania who recently turned 35 was spotted a few weeks ago cheering on her husband Shoaib as he hit a T20 World Cup fifty against Scotland at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the fastest ever by a Pakistani batsman in T20 cricket.

The couple, who recently received the UAE Golden Visa, also launched their own perfumes - All Rounder and Smash - last month in collaboration with a Pakistani fragrance brand.

Adding to the Dubai-based celebrity couple’s busy schedule (they are also parents to a 3-year-old, Izhaan) is what promises to be an entertaining chat show on UrduFlix, featuring their celebrity friends from Pakistan and India.

Sania and Shoaib - who charmed us with their banter at the KT office yesterday - let us in on more details of the show (which is yet to start production) and why they feel it will resonate with fans.

This is your first project together on OTT. What appealed to you about doing The Shoaib & Sania Show?

Sania: We’re always open to doing new things. At this stage of our lives and our careers we’ve been doing what we do for a very long time and we’ve reached a stage where we would love to explore new things as well.

Obviously we’ve done a lot of things together in terms of shoots but this is something that we’ve never done before so we thought it would be a good opportunity to learn and do something new and I guess to do it together is a lot of fun.

Shoaib: It’s going to be great fun for me. I’ve done some shows, but it was only on a social media platform and all those shows were with my friends. I had so much fun while doing them, and a lot of people have enjoyed it also. I always wanted to do a show from the studio and that’s what is going to happen and it’s going to be a great experience.

And doing it with my wife… we’re more like friends… so..

Sania: We’ve reached that stage in our marriage now (laughs).

You’ve been married for 11 years and you’ve done many endorsements together. You recently launched your perfumes in Pakistan. Before you take up a project together is there something you tell each other, like ‘let’s behave in this fashion’ or ‘let’s not do this’… do you believe in bringing your marriage to the forefront in your partnerships?

Sania: In a good way. There’s no better person you can have chemistry with than someone you’ve been with for a long time. And if I did that with my sister, or my best friend, or my husband, I think it would have that kind of chemistry.

So we don’t really say anything about dos and don’ts - we just kind of go along with it and thankfully there are takes and retakes (laughs) so we can always cut!

Shoaib: In my opinion one should keep one’s relationship with the wife at home when working together. When we work, then it’s totally a professional thing. At the same time of course that chemistry is there - your wife knows you - but still, work time should be only work time.

Coming to the format of the show, what can audiences expect from it?

Sania: Well, first of all a whole lot of love and laughter. I think those two things are very important to us, even as people. We try to imbibe them in our child as well. Everybody that we know, knows that we deal with most things with humour and that is something that helps us a lot.

We deal with issues on a daily basis. We’re both in very highly charged careers with very high emotional quotient and very high pressured jobs on a daily basis. We have good days but we also have many bad days. So we have to deal with it with humour and I think in this show as well the goal is to try to bring that laughter, and that love and joy not just to the audience but also to the guests that are going to come on the show.

So we don’t want to reveal everything… it’s not a comedy show but it is a show where we are going to try to have as much fun as possible and still try to find meaning in it.

Are you happy that The Shoaib & Sania Show will be broadcast on an OTT platform thereby giving it a wider reach?

Sania: I think today everything is about OTT right? I can’t remember the last time I went to watch a movie in the cinema but it’s been a long time, obviously because of Covid and everything else as well.

Shoaib: Even though I have been forcing her…

Sania: (Laughs) He’s been telling me for the last four days but we’ve had no time…Today the world is about OTT platforms… it is about social media and everything is online. And surely it’s a great way for us to be able to reach out to as many people as possible throughout the world, not just those based in a certain part of the world.

Now both of you are on the other side of the mic so how does that feel? What’s the one thing you wouldn’t do as chat show hosts?

Sania: What I don’t want this show to have is the cattiness that goes in a lot of shows, in which a lot of people put you on the spot rather, trying to make you say things that will make you uncomfortable, even though a lot of the times they might be true.

But on TV or a platform you can’t really say those things out loud. So I think we’ll try our best not to make the guests feel uncomfortable. That is what is very important to us… because a lot of them are our friends as well.

Shoaib: Are you revealing the guest list???

Have you started shooting for it yet?

Shoaib: Not yet. We are still finding dates but it will be soon, Inshallah.

Lastly, both of you have such a huge social media presence and constantly engage with fans. So will this kind of be an extension of that and are you excited?

Sania: We do have a large presence but I take social media with a fist of salt not even a pinch of salt for the good and the bad! I mean sure, I think we can definitely reach out to more people through this platform and our social media following but I think it is separate at the end of the day. This show that we’re doing is very different to what we’ve ever done so we’re more excited/nervous for that.

For me social media is sometimes just something to laugh at… many times I just go into comments in the middle of the night…and he tells me 'don’t read the comments' (laughs).


What’s the one chat show hosted by a celebrity that you binge watch?

Sania: I have binge-watched Koffee With Karan. I don’t any more.

Shoaib: The Kapil Sharma Show.

Who is your 1am Insta indulgence. Which celebrity would you stalk?

Sania: I don’t stalk celebrities. It’s just random… you go on and next thing you know it’s 2am. Nowadays I’ve been stalking a lot of make-up artists because I’ve suddenly become very interested in make-up, which I wasn’t earlier.

Shoaib: I only watch reels, I don’t stalk people…

One game other than cricket and tennis that you guys bond over.

Sania: Table tennis!

Shoaib: But she’s very bad at it. I love playing soccer and if I’m not in a tournament and am in my own city I make sure I play soccer 90 minutes every day - and I’ve twisted both my ankles also..

Sania: I think TT is safer, but what do I know? (laughs)

If the baby cries at 2am who pretends not to hear?

Sania: I won’t even answer that!

Shoaib: I run up to him.

Sania: (laughs)… he just turns, and then he turns back!

What’s the one question you would ask these celebrities?

Fawad Khan:

Shoaib: How does it feel to not be acting in India anymore?

Deepika Padukone:

Sania: If she had a chance to go back would she still choose to be an actor or badminton player? She was pretty good.

Wasim Akram:

Shoaib: What if he goes back 30 years, would he still be playing cricket or would he choose another profession?

Shah Rukh Khan:

Sania: Was he born with the humour or did he develop it?

Mahira Khan/Ayesha Omar

Shoaib: I think they are both different personalities and I would want both of them to be on the show; I have lots of questions to ask them.

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