Abbas Akbar

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Abbas Akbar
Certain Chapters - Director 2.jpg
Born Mohamed Akbar Tabare Alam
14 September

Occupation Filmmaker/ TV Director
Years active 2006 – present

Abbas Akbar (born Mohamed Akbar Tabare Alam on 14 September 1983) is a filmmaker, screenwriter and actor, predominantly working on Tamil films and television shows, based in Singapore.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Singapore, Abbas Akbar's mother is from Chidambaram district in Tamil Nadu and his father is from Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. He is the second out of three sons. His elder brother Elias Mikhail is a famous television actor known for his portrayal as an underworld don in the tele-serial Vettai. His younger brother, Shabir is a well-known singer, songwriter and musician and the winner of the inaugural singing competition Vasantham Star 2005. [1]

Career & Early Beginnings[edit]

Abbas Akbar started out as camera crew for local Tamil – language TV productions soon after completing his National Service. Abbas learnt and honed most his skills “on the sets” or as he puts it “School of Hard Knocks”. Abbas remains busy with directing a mix genre of programmes (current affairs, variety, commercials, etc.) for mainstream media. Certain Chapters marks his first attempt at casting and directing himself in front of the camera.

Abbas made his mark with his short film Certain Chapters and then rapidly went on to create other respected works. Abbas is widely credited for revolutionizing the Tamil Short Film industry in Singapore with the success of Certain Chapters, prompting many youths to take up short filmmaking. Certain Chapters has been building a buzz on the international circuit, having been selected for several film festivals. The film has also been screened upon invitation at several curated film programmes and used as reference material for academic learning at institutions.[2]

Certain Chapters was nominated 'Best Short Film' at the Asian Festival of First Films and was screened at several international film festivals such as Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival, 3rd New Jersey Independent South Asian Cinefest and the Stepping Stone Film Festival in Chennai.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Benjamin Nowicki, a reputable Art Director who has worked on mainstream film projects with DreamWorks, Paramount and Universal and movies like The Dark Knight says this about Certain Chapters:

“There is clear talent on display and the film looks much larger than its micro budget would indicate. The team that put the film together – using non-actors, composing and performing the music themselves, and working outside the establishment – has managed to reveal another facet of Singapore that doesn’t end up on the pages of guide books or official government propaganda, and ‘Certain Chapters’ does so without being exploitative or moralizing. ‘Certain Chapters’ has been building a buzz on the festival circuit in the US and Asia, and was nominated for best short film at the 5th Asian Festival of Short Films. The film is a must see and is an example of what a group of passionate storytellers can achieve with grit and the guts to take the leap and make a movie.”[10]

Certain Chapters
Produced by High Breed Media, Singapore
Language English

His music videos produced by High Breed Media for Shabir is the first independent Tamil content to be playing on MTV Asia (both broadcast & online) and other international channels such as Channel [V] AMP, Go! Channel Philippines, DirectTV US and Mobile TV - Vodafone UK / Ireland.[11]

Abbas directs a mix genre of programmes (current affairs, variety, commercials, etc.) for mainstream media.[12] His most recent work was as co-director for MediaCorp Vasantham's Vettai : Pledged to Hunt TV series.[13]

Notable Works[edit]

Theerpugal Season One (Produced by: The Media, Singapore) Director, Episode 1-16

The 16-episode weekly programme focused on landmark law cases in Singapore. Each week viewers were introduced a unique case where judgement has been controversial or difficult to pass due to absence of reference to previous cases, lack of substantial evidence, age / mental capacity, etc. The half-hour programme presented viewers enactment of the incidents leading up to the case, the verdict passed and an in-depth analysis by legal experts. This was one of the most highly rated programmes on Mediacorp’s Vasantham channel in Year 2009.

Iyantra (Produced by: Tantra, Singapore) Director, Episodes 1 – 4 Scriptwriter, Episodes 1- 6 & 11 - 13

First of its kind Magical Time-Travel Drama Series targeted at kids and widely enjoyed by the whole family.
Directed by a pool of four innovative directors, this drama series boasts dazzling visual effects combined with mind-blowing Music and exciting action sequences that kept viewers at the edge of their seats as the two lead kids meet Sir Stamford Raffles, Avvai Paatti, Bharathiyaar, Narayana Pillai, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Cinderella, Genie and even characters from another dimension; another ‘world’.
  • Nominee ‘Best Children’s Programme’ Asian Television Awards, Dec 2009
  • Nominee ‘Best Children’s Programme’ Pradhana Awards, June 2009

Vettai : Pledged to Hunt Season One (Produced by: Eaglevision, Mediacorp) Director (41 episodes out of 72)

Abbas Akbar was one of the two directors for the award winning drama series Vettai that took Singapore Indian viewers by storm. Cop drama Vettai: Pledged to Hunt took home a slew of awards at Pradhana Vizha 2011, Vasantham's annual awards show honouring the best in the local television industry.[14]
  • Best Opening Title - Pradhana Vizha 2011
  • Most Popular Series - Pradhana Vizha 2011
  • Best Actor, Shabir - Pradhana Vizha 2011
The drama series was also lauded for it’s online initiatives where the drama’s webisodes were widely watched and garnered unprecedented viewership. The webisodes were an extension of the main drama’s storyline, which was directed by Abbas. The webisodes also garnered a Finalist nomination for PromaxBDA World in the Interactive Media category for Vettai.[15]

Nijangal Season Two (Produced by: Eaglevision, Mediacorp)

Abbas Akbar was one of the two directors for the returning season of the much loved family drama – Nijangal. The drama gained immense popularity and has been nominated for the best drama category in the upcoming Pradhana Vizha 2012. The drama bagged two prestigious awards in Pradhana Vizha 2012 - Best Drama 2012 & Most Popular Programme 2012.[16]

Upcoming Project[edit]

Currently, Abbas Akbar is working on his first Tamil feature length film titled Singapooru (Eng: Singapore). This is a romantic dramedy about two aspiring filmmakers and their brush with love and ultimately death. Works are rapidly in progress and the film is the next piece of anticipated work from Abbas Akbar. The OST for the film is currently in the works by M Ghibran. The film is slated for release in the second quarter of 2013.

Personal Achievements[edit]

The Singapore Police Force in celebration of the Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony on 6 August 2012 awarded Akbar with a Public Spiritedness Award from Minister in Prime Minister's Office and 2nd Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry Mr S Iswaran. This award was presented for his assistance rendered to a patrol officer in stopping an offender who attempted to escape.[17]


  1. ^ Leong Wai Kit (1 January 2010). "Gangster Turns Icon". NTUC Lifestyle Magazine. 
  2. ^ Jeremy Sing (10 January 2010). "Production Talk - 'Certain Chapters' by Abbas Akbar". - Singapore Independent Films Only. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  3. ^ Benjamin Nowicki (1 January 2010). "The Cinefile Presents Director Abbas Akbar & Composer Shabir". The Cinefile. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  4. ^ Wannabe Studios (December 2009). "Certain Chapters". The Stepping Stone Film Festival. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  5. ^ Administrator (7 November 2009). "List of Selected Films". Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  6. ^ Singapore Malay Film Society (October 2009). "Certain Chapters". Purnama 2 - A Screening of Short Films. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  7. ^ Team (24 November 2009). "Tamil film nominated Best Short Film at Asian Festival". Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  8. ^ Mogana Pillay (3 September 2009). "Certain Chapters - World Class". Tamil News, MediaCorp Vasantham. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
  9. ^ Asian American Film and Theater Project (October 2009). "2009 Films". New Jersey Independent South Asian Cinefest 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-21
  10. ^ Cinefile (10 Jan 2010) Certain Chapters (Retrieved: 17 Feb 2011)
  11. ^ MTV Asia (1 June 2010). "Dejavu". MTV Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  12. ^ Jeremy Sing (10 January 2010). "Production Talk - 'Certain Chapters' by Abbas Akbar". SINdie - Singapore Independent Films Only. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  13. ^ TODAY (28 June 2011). "Vettai wins big at Vasantham awards show". Retrieved 2011-06-28. 
  14. ^ TODAY (28 June 2011). "Vettai wins big at Vasantham awards show". Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  15. ^ Promax BDA (retrieved 20 Aug 2011)
  16. ^
  17. ^

External links[edit]