'HSMTMTS' director Kabir Akhtar says he owes a lot to the 'immensely talented cast' for show's Season 1 success
'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' is one of the most popular Disney+ series currently. The series has been renewed for Season 2, however, all the details still remain under wraps. While we wait in anticipation to see what the series brings us next, fans are still not over the way the series ended. With over 300 people on camera for ‘We’re All In This Together,” it was a challenge to shoot and direct.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) got in touch Kabir Akhtar, the director of the final two episodes from the first season of Disney+'s 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series'. Kabir is an Indian American director who was the first comedy editor to be nominated for an Emmy award for a streaming series.
Kabir won an Emmy in 2016 for his work on the iconic 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' pilot episode. He was the first person of color to win under that category. In an exclusive interview, with MEAWW Kabir revealed how it was to work with the cast and crew and if he would be directing episodes in Season 2. "The exciting thing about working on a different series is you never know what's going to happen. I was blown away by the response to it. People loved it. The music videos from the episodes that I directed within two weeks had 9 million total views on YouTube which is incredible," Kabir shared.
Working with such a large cast of high schoolers is never easy, and when asked about his experience, Kabir said, "They were great. When I was in high school, I was not remotely that talented. I feel like for most people when you're 16, 17, 18, like the actors in the show were, for most of us, you're still figuring out who you are and what your life is like and if you're good at anything.
"All these actors were such professionals. And so immensely talented, it just made my job easier." Kabir added that as of now he is unsure if he will be directing in Season 2.
Revealing what he felt most proud of while filming the series, Kabir shared, "If you watch those episodes closely and track where everybody is at all times. I was very proud of because it's one thing to have scenes all back to back that all look good and feel good individually.
"To thread together the reality of a very busy event, like a musical and also the backstage realities of the kids, teachers and parents and the relationship between everyone, friendships and budding romantic relationships and the anxiety people have about performing — just to see all that come together was a challenge. I’m proud we succeeded in the shoot. We worked really hard to connect all the dots to make it realistic and fun."
Apart from his work on 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series', Kabir also directed episodes for the upcoming Netflix series, 'Never Have I Ever', which follows the life of a modern Indian American teenager, inspired by Mindy Kaling’s childhood experience.
On working with Mindy, he said, "She was great. We'd never worked together before, but I found her to be extremely supportive, gracious and smart. I'm excited to work with her again in the future."