A rendezvous with Meesha Shafi

Published: September 23, 2011

The singer-cum-actor on her career and letting the chips fall where they may. GRAPHIC: JAMAL KHURSHID

LAHORE: 

There has always been more to Meesha Shafi than meets the eye. Born in a family that has been associated with television for decades and a graduate of the National College of Art (NCA) herself, Shafi’s aesthetic sense and understanding of media seems accurate.

Her smooth transition to the big screen after signing on to Bilal Lashari debut thriller Waar and reports of her being casted in Mira Nair’s  film adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s bestseller The Reluctant Fundamentalist, has shown that this diva is multitalented and motivated.

“Acting is a medium that begins and ends with role playing. I believe an actor’s task is to bring depth and dimension from personal experience and expression to his or her character,” states Shafi. “That being said, nothing trains an actor like theatre. There is no margin for errors on stage because you are in front of a large, live audience. I believe that my years of theatre experience is coming in very handy and of course, the acting gene that may have been passed down to me from my mother.”

Speaking about her upcoming role in the Waar, Shafi says that the opportunity to play this role came to her by chance. The singer-cum-actor thinks that Lashari’s film will be unlike any other ever made in the history of Pakistani cinema, due to the fact that despite being an action film, it will still be a visual treat for the audience.

“It’ll be a breath of fresh air for our audiences and could, without a doubt, rub shoulders with any international action film. I can’t reveal my role without giving away the plot, but I can say that it’s a big departure from how women are usually portrayed on our screens,” says Shafi. “The role has come about because it was meant to. I believe that is how these things work. I rarely ever believe in making plans or designing career moves. If I ever was to have a motto it would be ‘Let the chips fall where they may’.”

The transition to films, however, does not mean that Shafi is emulating her NCA alumni Ali Zafar, who first made a mark through music but of recent has become famous for his Bollywood films. According to the “Jugni” singer, any transition that may take place in the future will be carefully reviewed.

“There is great, as well as substandard, work happening across the border. If a particular offer is enticing for any reason and catches my attention, I would love to be involved no matter where it originates from. But I wouldn’t jump at the chance to work in India just because it’s Bollywood,” explains Shafi. “Bollywood doesn’t always impress me, and unlike so many others, I don’t strive to incorporate Bollywood-ism into my lifestyle. I’d like to do projects that give one food for thought and are beautifully executed,” she adds.

As for her music career, the desire to produce quality music still seems evident as the singer has lots of tours and concerts in the pipeline. Currently at the Baba Fareed festival in India, Shafi expresses the wish to have a ‘fantastic’ Sufi concert. The singer has already released a single for an NGO to promote tourism in the Swat valley and has also been invited by TED X to perform at a musical event. In her spare time, Shafi is working on new music and is spending time in the recording studio. Despite this, she emphasises that she will not be rushing into new projects, as she strongly believes that this  creativity leads to suffering  in the end.

For the multitalented artist, the rule is simple: take things one at a time and strike a balance between family and work life. “I approach the future with nothing but hope and prayers for our country. It doesn’t matter how much one plans, the future of our careers depends on the future of Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Noreen
    Sep 23, 2011 - 10:58PM

    Well Ali Zafar didn’t just get into bollywood, he got into the two best films of bollywood. I don’t what she is talking abt, maybe Veena Malik.

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  • Schazad
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:28AM

    I think she is one of the best things that has happened to Pakistani show biz. I wish her the very best. Make us all proud..

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  • Critic
    Sep 24, 2011 - 2:11AM

    Meesha is a talented singer and a beautiful woman. I don’t know whether it is fair to compare her with her fellow NCA alumnus (and not her NCA alumni) Ali Zafar or not. Nevertheless, hoping Bilal Lashari doesn’t disappoint!

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  • najaf
    Sep 24, 2011 - 7:07AM

    First thing about movie WAR is that the producer and director had problems between them so the movie WAR is shelved, it is 50% complete and Mommar Rana is looking for another producer to complete the movie but so far nobody is interested and second the news about Meesha maybe doing Mira Nair movie only came in Tribune and couple of other Pakistani newspaper not in any Hollywood and Bollywood publications, so it makes me believe that both news stories were sponsored. Recommend

  • sheeda talli
    Sep 24, 2011 - 11:05AM

    Is she bengali? Just wondering………………………

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  • Aamir
    Sep 25, 2011 - 3:57AM

    Najaf you have got things mixed up with Momi’s film “War” which was started years ago but never got completed. This “Waar” is being directed by Bilal Lashari and has Shaan in the lead. Its going to the most expensive ever Pakistani film ever made with a budget of 17 crore rupees.

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  • Aisha
    Sep 25, 2011 - 8:30PM

    @Noreen: Meesha Shafi did not mention Ali Zafar in her quote. The interviewer gave that example.

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  • najaf
    Sep 28, 2011 - 1:13AM

    Aamir, if someone is making a movie with the budget of 17crores in pakistan, first 17 crores is way too much i cant even digest 7 crores for a Pakistani movie, if your numbers are right the producer can kiss 14 out of 17 crores good bye because he won’t be able to recoup the money he invested. See reason is simple, movies like KKL and BOL were unable to do 17 crores business worldwide, in India KKL 1 crore 35 lacs BOL so far 1 crore 60 lacs so far , the whole Middle East KKL 34 lacs and BOL 47 lacs so far, Europe KKL 32,000 pounds and BOL 120,000 pounds so far and in Usa/Canada KKL 24,000 dollars and BOL 160,000 dollars so far, and now minus BOL 50% business to the distributor share Eros picture and not much is left. As you see the big difference between KKL and BOL business is because Shoaib Mansoor this time gave BOL to Eros pictures to distribute worldwide and KKL was distributed by two guys in Geo office who were more concern about how much money they were going to made themselves rather then Geo films and Shoaib Mansoor. The only thing i will recomend the producer of the movie WAR is that while if he spending 17 crores on a movie spend another CRORE on the promotion worldwide of the movie instead of giving it to any TV channels ( geo or ary) on a barter system, thats why if his movie is any good, he will recover most of his money back.

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