Nadia Jamil may have been last seen in the theatre play Lorilei nearly two years ago but the acting bug bit her at 13 when she first started working with Ajoka Theatre. Since then, there has been no looking back. Fueled by the desire to be a lifelong student of acting, Jamil continued training in Hampshire, Amherst. She then participated in an acting workshop conducted by Shahid Shafaat of Katha fame and completed an International Fellowship at the Globe Theatre in London. Now, the actor-turned- host is set to turn all her knowledge into a learning experience for other actors, as she takes up the role of acting coach for Haissam Hussain’s upcoming film Balu Mahi. She will be giving voice modulation classes.
“There are certain exercises one can do to change the timber and tone of their voice, elocution and enunciation,” Jamil tells The Express Tribune. “One can also use the power of eye contact, and these are some of the things we delve into,” she added. According to Jamil, voice is an “incredible gift” and the most important thing is to be able to control it. “You have to realise that your appeal to the outside world and the outside world’s perception of you is in your hands.”
Asked what kind of roles she leans towards, Jamil jokes by saying, “Good roles like cream rolls, Swiss rolls, sausage rolls I find them all very attractive.” Jokes aside, she elaborates, “I don’t go for just roles. It could be a five minute role in a film but if it’s written beautifully, I would do it. But it has to be an important catalyst of a beautiful story.”
Jamil is set to appear in a couple of upcoming projects but has kept them under wraps for now. However, she did pitch in her two cents on the direction local cinema is heading into. “Whenever people are working and experimenting with different ideas, they are going in the right direction,” she explains, reminiscing about Pakistani film legends like Waheed Muraad, Shabnam, Nadeem, and Barbara Sharif. She is equally fond of Syed Noor’s era, as well as Shaan Shahid’s work. “I think incredible stuff is happening and as long as they’re evolving, it’s exciting.”
As a wife, mother, actor, anchor, and educationist, Nadia wears many hats. Although she might appear to be juggling the roles with dexterity, she admits her work with children is her primary focus. “I want to work with them on developing self-confidence and their sense of self, their bodies, their voice and their perception of the world.” Jamil is also developing a small space in Gaddaffi Stadium, where people will be able to develop the most important thing they need in order to survive: their “self.” “The space will ideally be for actors but anyone can come learn about postures, how to make one’s body work and modulate their voice, confidence, self-expression and happiness.”
For Jamil, the most important teacher is life itself and interestingly, she holds more than one passion. “I went from theatre to screen and then to teaching and acting but food, children and Lahore are the true loves of my life,” she says.
A true Lahori at heart, Jamil is in awe of “simple, classic, good food and wants to encourage dialogue about how it affects one’s mind and body in this space. In fact, the foodie in her is currently jumping with joy for the upcoming Lahore Eat Festival where she will be serving as a food curator. “It’s a supremely exciting project and I can’t wait for it to happen. My love for Lahore and food in one space will be like heaven.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2016.