Ayushi Chhabra and Showbiz India produce content that advocates for mental health in South Asian communities
Image credit: Ayushi Chhabra, Showbiz India.
Showbiz India prides itself on being one of the most beloved and trusted brands for South Asian communities in the United States. For more than 25 years, the television show founded by Executive Producer and Lead Anchor Reshma Dordi, and produced in Los Angeles, has been a staple in entertainment and lifestyle programming from India and South Asia. The show now reaches more than 25 million households across the U.S. and globally. For senior producer and co-host Ayushi Chhabra, joining Showbiz India was the thrill of a lifetime — but she also felt the responsibility that comes with upholding such an influential name.
“A lot of our viewers feel like Showbiz India is a part of their family,” explains Chhabra. “We started to have a very strong sense of responsibility to our audience. That’s why we’ve branched out beyond entertainment and lifestyle to create content that delivers a more meaningful impact to the South Asian community.”
Mental health is a particularly important topic for Chhabra. “Growing up in a brown family myself, I understand the pressure to be perceived in an idealized sort of way,” she says. “In our culture, mental health gets swept under the rug. We had a great opportunity to break that stigma and help people see mental health in a better light.”
I spoke with Chhabra and her team as part of the Adobe Changemakers series to discuss how digital media can have a positive impact on mental health for communities.
Starting the conversation around mental health
Born in India, Chhabra was raised in Nigeria and South Africa, giving her a great appreciation for the global reach of the South Asian diaspora. She has firsthand experience with the stress that comes with being an immigrant, from navigating visa issues to trying to thrive without local family to lean on. When the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health reached out for help creating content on mental health awareness, Chhabra quickly recognized the impact it could have on the South Asian community.
“There’s a saying ‘log kya kahenge,’ which basically means that we’re very invested in what other people think of us,” says Chhabra. “Because Showbiz India has such strong roots in the South Asian community, we’re in a position to get people talking and provide resources around mental health.”
Showbiz India created several PSAs for the Department of Mental Health around topics such as suicide prevention, post traumatic stress disorder, and the impact of racism on mental health. The program interviewed mental health professionals, conducted focus groups, and filmed man-on-the-street interviews to connect with the community.
“South Asian people can be hesitant to talk on camera, but when they see the familiar Showbiz India mic, they feel a bit more comfortable,” says Chhabra. “Not everyone wants to talk with us, and that’s okay. But there’s been many times where the more we listen, the more they will open up about feelings that they’ve been bottling up for a long time. That’s our job. To give people a platform to speak and let them know that they’re not alone.”
25 years of impactful programming
One of the reasons that Showbiz India is so trusted is that people can expect consistent quality programming on their screens week after week. Chhabra’s work starts on Monday, with the week’s segment filmed and edited by Wednesday. The show is then compiled and packaged for delivery to television stations across the U.S. by Thursday to make it on air every Saturday.
“We work with pretty tight deadlines,” says Chhabra. “The only way that we can meet our deadlines and deliverables is by working with Adobe Creative Cloud.”
Videographer and editor Shane Labowitz relies on Adobe Premiere Pro for all his editing. “What I love about Premiere is that it’s clearly made by people who use the app,” says Labowitz. “It’s great in terms of speed and efficiency so that I can get everything done — and done well within our production timeline.”
And Premiere Pro’s integration with Frame.io is particularly helpful during tight turnarounds. “I can get my supervisor online with me and she can give me notes, even looking at it on her phone,” says Labowitz. “Frame.io is very efficient in the news business when you need something fact-checked or reviewed right away.”
Graphics editor Sushmita Kohli works with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Express to quickly create graphics for the show or assets for social media. “People are the link between creativity and technology,” says Kohli. “Adobe gives us innovative technology that allows us to be our most creative and share it with the world.”
Chhabra and the staff at Showbiz India are using their creativity to produce content that tackles heavy-hitting issues affecting people throughout the South Asian diaspora, from mental health to immigration, Asian hate, and domestic violence.
“I believe that digital media can affect change,” says Chhabra. “It’s a platform that can be used to spread false information, but it can also be a tool to make a difference in people’s lives. At Showbiz India, we understand what people are going through. If we can use our influence to change even one person’s life for the better, then we’ve done our job.”
Ayushi is one of several changemakers who stand out and inspire us with their vision and commitment to making a positive impact in their communities. Learn more about Adobe’s Changemakers video series.
Learn more about Showbiz India on its website or YouTube channel.