The story of Rafsan Sabab and WHAT A SHOW!

Rafsan Sabab, a young boy enrolled in cadet college since grade seven harboured big dreams. Dreams that began with his great affinity towards the power of words. While growing up, he had always been attracted to the command of speech and the influence it brought on people’s lives. Since then, he was an active member of the national debating circuit through the early years of his school and college.

A dream is but not a dream

However, as soon as he joined university, he became more familiar with the concept of presenting himself in a stage with a keen audience. The spark within him was ignited and he soon became a force to be reckoned with. Fueled further by his inspiration from legendary hosts such as – Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel. His mind clicked that, in order to pave a profession out of his passion, anchoring was possibly the best way to move forward. And indeed it was.

The prologue

Rafsan Sabab What a show

In his sophomore year in university. He approached Ayman Sadiq, founder of Robi 10 minutes school to pitch the idea of a show combined with both education and entertainment – Edutainment. This was launched, known as the 10 minute school show and was the inception of his career as an anchor.

Soon enough, afterwards a production company Dhaka Live for a talk show approached him. Rafsan did not believe in genericity. He wanted something more creative.

With this thought in mind, he embarked upon the journey of a YouTube show,“Hashtag with Rafsan Sabab” which later continued for 4 episodes.

This show focused on a celebrity’s digital profiles only. Creatively attempted to only give limelight to the guest’s social media and digital persona.

Let the show begin!

Rafsan Sabab had bigger dreams about his own show. This included a live audience who will be able to share their immediate response from the performance in the stage.

Rafsan Sabab What a show

“I wanted to be able to hear the laughter of the crowd if the punch line really worked!

Added Rafsan.

His friends and family believed in his thoughts. He wanted to be different by breaking the stereotypical characterization of Bangladeshi talk shows.

“As a host, I thought of becoming better researched, effective and at the same time more entertaining towards my guests and my audience. Therefore, I put together a dedicating team handpicking each one personally. Approaching them one at a time.”

He further added.  

It began at first with a production team, ‘Sketch board Interactive owned by Ziaus Shams and Sakib Mansur Zihan who are co-founders of What a Show. The show started gathering a stellar crew by bringing onboard Lamia Tasnim, a professional model and co-founder of What a Show.

Rafsan Sabab What a show

A dream was a dream no longer with his show becoming a reality.

It began with the idea of redefining the talk show trend in Bangladesh.

By making it more interactive, fun and at the same time create an alternative marketing platform for everyone. The vision of one day hosting the Oscars really did not seem that farfetched after all.

“From where I am right now, it is not just about the final destination but rather about the gradual steps I take on the way. After graduating from IBA, University of Dhaka, I chose not to enter the corporate world. Undertaking anchoring as a second profession would not have allowed me the time or energy to launch ‘What a Show’ at this scale. Moreover, that decision has been truly worth it.”

Expressed Rafsan gladly.

WHAT A SHOW, indeed

Rafsan Sabab believes that every individual is both experienced and talented in his or her own fields.

Rafsan Sabab What a show

“When inviting guests, at first my team and I, we were looking to invite people who understood the concept of our show. Aiming for Celebrities who were sporty and could build a rapport on stage almost instantaneously.”

Said Rafsan.

Episode one: Nabila and Pritom

On the first episode, two guests were invited. Pritom Hasan, composer, singer, music video actor renowned for his famous songs, “Local Bus” and “Beainshab”. Followed by an amazing actor and anchor, Masuma Nabila.

“The first episode was an instant hit with absolutely no skepticism from our guests having being invited in the first episode of a YouTube Show. The energy was great and we really did hit it off in front of an enthusiastic live audience.”

Exclaimed Rafsan!

‘What a show’ is indeed different with conversations that were engaging and flowed freely both ways. There were the two interactive games – ‘Kache ashar oshomapto golpo’ and ‘Cholen cinema banai’ each with its own style of humor. Unlike most shows in the country, the set is casual at the same time to create a cozy vibe by the looks and feel of it. The conversational style is unique with positive humor ensures the contents of the guests are being promoted through our show.

Episode two: Tahsan, Taskeen and Ridy

Rafsan Sabab What a show

For the second episode, What a Show was grander and more glamorous. This episode consisted of a very famous international dancer Ridy Sheikh who is originally a Bangladeshi but lived in Russia for the most part of her lives. Followed by The famous singer and actor Tahsan Khan who was the second guest appearance of the show.

Tahsan, along with the third guest appearance, Taskeen Rahman, actor promoted their joint movie– Jodi Ekdin. The episode ended with an amazing individual live performance from both Tahsan Khan and Taskeen Rahman as a cherry on top for the audience and viewers.

Epilogue

What a Show will be launching episodes fortnightly, each intending to be better than the one before.

Rafsan says, “We see a lot of different content in social media every day. We are very quick to jump and criticize if it does not satisfy us. We see many different kinds of trends and if the content is good, we appreciate it but we almost never ensure that it is being reached in our own circle. My request to you is that if you do like my work; please spread it within your own circle so that together we can create a more impactful journey in people!”

Subscribe to their YouTube channel to watch their upcoming episode to be aired soon and stay up to date with their Facebook page.

With Sabira Mehrin of Wander Woman: Creating a community of independent women travelers

Like many patriarchal societies, girls need permission to do basic things in life– to stay out after dark, to get a job, to make their own career choices. In this context, there are still women who are pushing boundaries and venturing out on their own. One big change is that more woman are now travelling and seeking adventure.

Read more: These 4 apps will make traveling a lot easier

What is Wander Woman?

Among many things, Wander Woman is a travel company– by women, just for women. Wander Woman started out as a Facebook group but is growing into so much more. The group currently has 10,030 members.

Wander Woman comes with one sole purpose – bringing all women together in one platform to share the love for travelling around the world.

Travelers post their tips, ask for help to navigate blocks in their journey and share their stories. Solo travelers can also coordinate with each other, form groups for short trips based on common interests.

Read more: 5 countries you can travel to without a visa if you’re Bangladeshi

Who is Sabira Mehrin?

Sabira Mehrin is the founder of Wonder Woman. She is full of life and full of determination. She is trying to bring women together, help them travel and see the world, while creating a community of cool explorers that help each other.

She is also efficient. She has to figure out how to deal with her biggest challenge in administering a facebook group and keeping the group authentic. “I was very picky! I only wanted member with authentic profile, with legitimate work portfolios- and it was extremely hard to administer the group. So I made the best use of all my time- in traffics, and such.”

Why Wander Woman?

In a little more than 12 months, Sabira Mehrin has turned a small Facebook group into a full-fledged start-up. But what made her want to create this group in the first place?

“When I was a student in IBA, I used to participate in global business competitions and conferences. All of them were organized by big companies. So whenever I traveled, I never faced any kind of hassle in the process of purchasing tickets and all. All of these were done by the professionals.

But when I got into job and started planning a self-funded trip for myself for the first time, I realized I only knew few people who could give me the right kind of information. Also, while researching, I came across very few Bangladeshi travel bloggers. So I saw the lack of information, the discrimination, and saw that the issues were mostly for the women. And I thought, how can I create a platform that makes it easier for women to travel? And my best friend gave me the idea to start the group- just to assess the situation. I opened the group and added 200 people. And from there it started to grow, and it didn’t stop!”

Why do people trust Wander Woman?

There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to woman and travel- including safety, reliability and of course, trust issues. However, the closed nature of the group, the direct interactions and careful moderation has led to a thriving community with trust.

When we asked this question, Sabira exclaimed with genuine surprise, “I don’t know! They just do! I have spoken to so many parents about permissions and stuff, and they all seem to come around after talking to me! And I feel privileged to be blessed with this type of trust. So if anyone has trouble getting permission for solo trips, just show your parents our group! Let them see that it is safe, and we will do our best to give you the best experience possible!”

What’s next?

What’s not next is a typical, commercial agency. Sabira keeps that in mind as she finds partners to help her build the community. “When we first started out, a lot of travel agencies reached out to us. But I soon figured they were all being very commercial. We would prefer if we could find people who were more interested in building the community with us.

Sabira has big plans for Wander woman for 2019. “Wander woman got registered”, she said. “We want to make travelling more accessible to the students in near future. And I know that people believe that wander woman is a little too niche, but I refuse to compromise the quality of our packages. So we might not reach out to the the mass market just yet. Let’s see what happens!”

Read more: 5 tips for the solo traveller in Bangladesh

Tips for a solo traveller?

Sabira is an avid traveller. So when we asked her for tips she said, “Solo travelling is about two things- courage and planning. You don’t have to be fearful, necessarily, but you need to be cautious. So while some places are safer than others, you can still make the best of your situation by being smart. I have come across so many helpful people, help was coming from unexpected places whenever I was in a pinch. That was really surprising for me.”

Read more: 4 Bengali traveling myths that are completely wrong

So if you are a girl and you love travelling, do check out their group! Because there is something for everyone!