I cried real tears in 'Cake', says Sanam Saeed

Actor speaks with Mahira Khan about the ordeal of losing her mother and living with the loss of a loved one

Entertainment Desk February 06, 2021

It was in 2018 when the otherwise reserved Sanam Saeed decided to open up about her failed marriage and dealing with the loss of her mother. In a tell-all interview with veteran TV star Samina Peerzada, the Zindagi Gulzar Hai star admitted her mother's deteriorating health played a major part in her divorce. She has always been unapologetic about it.

But now, two years on, Saeed has sat a podcast that details how she dealt with that loss. In a candid chat with superstar Mahira Khan for Mashion, the two leading ladies talked about grief and how to deal with it.

The Verna actor commended Saeed for sharing her story. "We've heard you talk about loss very bravely," Khan said. "I don't know why everyone says that, though. I am sure there are so many people who have bravely faced death and loss, even massive changes in their lives?" Saeed interrupted, "Of course, you are right. But as a public personality, whenever we share even a minuscule detail about our personal lives, we know what we are about to get into. We are actors; we are naked in front of the audience. So, what we really want to protect are our personal lives.”

The duo then discussed losing loved ones and dealing with the impending grief. "You have dealt with the biggest loss a human being can suffer," Khan asked Saeed. "More than a parent losing their own child?" Saeed asked. Here, the Bin Roye star deemed the latter to be one thing that should just never happen. "This should be a rule somewhere. A parent should never have to bury their child,” wished Khan.

Recalling a friend who has lost her sister, the starlet shared how their father was angry with God for taking away his daughter before him. "Only thing he kept saying was everything is allowed - life and death - all of it. But a parent should never see his child go."

Talking about her mother, Saeed shared, "I have this coping mechanism of comparing myself to others a lot, not in an insecure way but to be grateful. To understand that people have it worse. I have had friends who have lost people in an accident. There's nothing worse than not being able to say goodbye. If that had been the case with my mother, I don't think we would have been able to cope. But we had our time to say goodbye; our time to do things we haven't done; our time to be grateful, be appreciative and our time to bond."

Saeed then added how she prayed for her mother to pass away because it was so hard to see her - once full of life – be so weak. "You don't feel bad for the ones who pass away, they are in eternal bliss. You feel for the people they leave behind. I felt bad for my younger siblings, for my dad - who had been her partner for 33 to 34 years. It was a good marriage," the Bachanaa star recalled. "When cancer happened for the first time, my mother was ready to fight it. After mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, she went into remission. And then it occurred again. That's when we all thought, 'Oh no, not again.' I think that's when she gave up mentally."

Saeed relayed that for the longest time, she was in denial that she could even lose her mother due to cancer. "I was away for work when her condition got worst. I remember I was in London and I still had six days of shooting left for Cake," she went on. "So in my mind, she was fine, her oxygen levels were good. Because my siblings hadn't told me the actual condition. When I was returning to Pakistan, my brother told me to come directly to the hospital. That's when it hit me."

In Cake, Saeed's character Zara goes through the loss of her mother and deals with a divorce; much like in her real-life. "My work helped me with loss. I cried real tears, I broke down. It was real emotions in the film since my character dealt with the same thing. So, when my brother came to pick me up from the airport, we went straight to the hospital where he told me it was time to pull the plug. My mother was on the ventilator at that time."

Saeed shared how it looked like a movie scene. "I went to her and told her that I am here. Everyone's here. But it was peaceful when she passed away," the actor revealed, breaking down. "If she had passed away before I got to say goodbye, I really would have regretted going to work."

The Daam star had never seen her father cry before and adds how even when her mother passed away, he got up and went to the bathroom. "I think he let it out there. I saw him and my heart just broke," said Saeed. "Within minutes of her passing away, we were okay. I think it's just those few seconds that stay with you. That final goodbye."

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