Sohail Khan spots potential movie talent at Dubai TikTok Fest
Producer says social media stars can make it in the movies
IT WAS AN evening of celebration at the Marriott Al Jaddaf, Dubai, on Monday night as Bollywood producer, director and actor Sohail Khan made his way into the Zabeel Ballroom as guest of honour for the first TikTok Fest Awards. Brainchild of Dubai media personality Zenofer Fathima, CEO and Founder of the Youth Vlog Awards - an ongoing initiative to engage young people, of which the TikTok Fest was a part - the award ceremony recognised a host of TikTokers who had submitted their lip-sync videos for consideration. For those unaware, TikTok is the latest social media app sensation encouraging users to create short-form mobile videos, often including mouthing along to famous songs or movie scenes.
The Dubai event rewarded 12 UAE participants who had sent in their efforts to the festival panel to be judged in categories including 'Best Social Awareness' campaign and the 'Enigma Award.'
It was while accepting his 'Best Friendship' gong, 16-year-old Issa Haq (pictured) caught Khan's eye. The home-schooled Dubai-based student, who has garnered 400,000 TikTok followers and close to three million likes in the space of a year, collected first prize in the group. Later answering a question about whether online stars could make it in mainstream movies, Khan stated it was beneficial to possess an existing body of work and tipped Haq for greatness.
"If you do generate awareness and popularity, you will rise," Khan said. "When he (Haq) came up on stage - he's a good looking boy and if he's been using this platform, sooner or later he will get recognised.
"I believe that if you do some good work, it can be a stepping stone. I don't know why a lot of people give films a lot of importance. They feel that is the ultimate goal. Honestly, I am a part of it and I don't think so. I think every medium can generate [attention] and can take you on a long distance."
Haq was obviously flattered to be singled-out, not least because he hopes to enter traditional show business as soon as possible.
"It feels nice because I want to be an actor myself," he said. "For someone like him to say something like that about me is so nice. I hope I'll soon break into mainstream Bollywood or even Hollywood."
Famously not subscribing to the majority of social platforms, having said in the past he rarely has enough time, Khan reiterated how he'd rather spend his spare hours talking to his parents and loved ones face-to-face, but conceded TikTok could offer something new as it appears to be more community and humour focused.
"I always thought TikTok was an easy and fun platform and I will tell my family and friends that we can all share a joke together. It can also make kids more aware of humanity and social issues, which is needed."
On social media in general, however, his words were a little more cautionary.
"The public now, who aren't trained, have become journalists. They don't realise anything can impact people's personal lives. I feel it is a great space, but I feel it is getting a little irresponsible. The ones who are responsible should form a system to correct that because it is a very powerful medium."
Music vid launched
Zenofer Fathima took the opportunity during proceedings to release her Arabic chill out mix of the famous Hindi film song, Dil Ke Armaan. The video, shot in Dubai, features a few well-known faces and is available to view on YouTube now. Fathima also directed the piece. Search for the House Of Zen channel.
"How Zenofer extends her personality to the work that she does is impressive," Sohail Khan said. "She chose to make a film which was socially relevant and conveys relationships. It is a great concept."