ISLAMABAD: As Veteran actor Asma Abbas’ daughter, emerging star Zara Noor Abbas truly has talent running through her veins.
While that might have helped her step foot into the cut-throat entertainment fraternity, her claim-to-fame happens to be her much-loved serial, Khamoshi alongside Affan Waheed, Iqra Aziz and Bilal Khan. Within a short span of time, she’s not only been able to mark a niche but also impress both commercially and critically alike.
With great fame comes great responsibility and Zara calling out fashion models for ridiculing her was a true testimonial to that. Post show-stopping for Fnk Asia Fashion Pakistan Week Spring/Summer this year, her unparalleled exuberance in line with the said theme of a ‘Warrior Princess’ didn’t go down well with some of the models she shared the runway with.
Fellow runway model Areeba Habib posted videos on her Instagram story of her mocking Zara among other models. The star didn’t shy away from addressing the situations though, in fact, she went on to speak of women empowerment, letting her actions speak for the kind of person she is.
Speaking of the incident with The Express Tribune, the actor stated, “I’ve always been very opinionated and staunch with my words and decisions. It kills me from within when something that’s happening is bothering me and I don’t address it. I was advised not to speak about it but why should I not talk about something that’s hurt me?” Zara quipped.
She continued, “We’re all tiny pieces of this small industry and we want to fight people globally, which can only happen when we are internally on the same page. I felt a lot was out of line, but we all make mistakes and Areeba has since apologised. I’m over it.”
The repercussions however, were dire and quite diverging. “A lot of designers and models put up statuses; some completely understood where I was coming from whereas for others, my point was extremely miscommunicated.”
Zara added, “I chose not to speak any further on this as I felt I had made my points and if I carried on explaining myself, it would ruin what I stood up for. I don’t know what I’ll do if something similar happens going forward. I’m still exploring all this energy inside of me, but one thing’s for sure, if I don’t approve of something, I will always speak up.”
Although she is now content with her personal and professional life, as she should be, Zara met with an unfortunate fate last year when she parted ways with her now-former-husband. Following which, she decided to temporarily discontinue acting, just after her debut serial Dharkan with Adeel Chaudhry back in 2016.
Nonetheless, Zara has evidently come out stronger after this experience, “It took a toll on me and I needed to take some time out for myself… to be with my family; away from everything else so I could focus on myself for at least a year or so.”
She continued, “And that’s when I decided not to take on any more projects until I was ready. And once that time came, I decided to take on Khamoshi as my second project last year.”
What also surprisingly made her a favourite amongst the audiences was her social-media-trending wedding to actor Asad Siddiqui in late 2017. Speaking of how many think an actress’ career is over once she gets married, Zara said, “I feel the Pakistani society and particularly the TV scene is quite women-centric. A lot of our audiences are very cultured; appealed only by typical storylines,” she observed as we spoke of how marriage may or may not change perceptions. “Being married does not affect one’s work; audiences need to respect and appreciate that.”
As we discussed respect, one can’t help but bring up the poignant, yet relevant #MeToo campaign where influential film-makers and actors have been called out for sexual, physical and verbal misconduct in workplaces; particularly the entertainment business. Whilst the Weinstein effect hasn’t been as popular in this part of the world, one wonders what the struggle truly is for newcomers to find their own place without stooping down to the casting-couch.
It seems like Zara has her principles in order though. “To be very honest, your morals come from how you’ve been brought up. I don’t think anybody else can influence you for better or worse, it’s whether you want to do something or not, and that depends on your background and what you understand of things,” said the actor.
She continued, “I was always taught the difference between right and wrong. We’d sit down as a family, to discuss things and dissect every topic, no matter how controversial it may be.”
Zara is currently shooting for Mohsin Ali directorial Qaid alongside Syed Jibran, which is based on a mental illness that “juveniles go through.” She has also signed onto a series with Momina Duraid Productions for the summer which will apparently be a “twisted romance-drama” opposite Shaz Khan of Yaqeen Ka Safar.
However, what audiences are most excited about is her film debut –Asim Raza’s coming of age, Paray Hatt Love loosely revolving around the current generation’s commitment-phobia, co-starring Maya Ali and Sheheryar Munawar.
The film goes on-floors in September. “I want to sit back and see how people respond to these projects, what the feedback is and only then will I decide what’s next for me,” she smiles, on a parting note.
‘Breaking Through 2018’ is a series of interviews with promising female thespians that we are keeping an eye out for.
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