The Kuwait War turned Sahar Zaman’s life upside down. Born and brought up in the small Arab nation, Saddam Hussein’s invasion in 1991 forced the family to move to India. Their home was looted in Kuwait, and the family struggled to adjust in Delhi.
The momentous event perhaps sparked off an interest in current affairs and world politics, and led Sahar to pursue the path of journalism as a career later.
After completing her Master’s in mass communication from Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, she worked at the overseas division of All India Radio, which was, serendipitously, beamed in Kuwait where her dad could hear her shows.
Over the next decade, she worked at news agencies and TV channels, taking a break to marry a former colleague – media personality Dhiraj Singh – and raise a baby with him. They named their son Kazuo after the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro.
Today, Sahar is a well-recognised personality on Mirror Now, a new channel launched by the Times Group last year that looks at civic issues and has grown hugely popular in a very short span of time. Sahar also runs an art-themed online channel called Hunar TV, where she profiles people from creative fields and demystifies art for the layman.
Sahar has a creative side herself. In her early years after marriage, she took to creating home decorative items and jewellery using cut-outs of reflective sheets on metal.
In 2011, after encouragement from family and friends, she decided to launch her own label, Chamak Patti, working from home and collaborating with artisans to make limited-edition products priced Rs 1500 onwards.
“We now mostly work on commissioned orders – the brand has established itself and we have a great list of clients,” smiles Sahar, also holds trunk shows in various locations from time to time.
If a full-time media job, a web-channel, an accessories brand and a six-year-old son weren’t enough to handle, Sahar is also out to reignite interest in her late grand-uncle Talat Mahmood. In a first-of-its-kind campaign, she organized a series of flash mobs across malls in Delhi-NCR with dancers swaying to old songs by the Bollywood playback legend.
“This flash mob is historic! Where else have you heard of a flash mob on vintage music happening anywhere?” she asks.
Supported by partners such as the Rekhta Foundation, The DLF Mall of India, the StepKraft Dance Troupe and AIR Aakashvani, the series of flash mobs are building up to a grand finale this month, his birth anniversary, in an undisclosed location, though smaller events will continue later.
Intelligent and collected, Sahar has balanced out the various facets to her personality – the journalist and the artist. “Both are inherent sides of me. I wouldn’t survive without either,” she says, before getting back to work. There’s so much to create and talk about.
First published in the February issue of eShe magazine. Read it for free here.