Acting feels modelesque

Why do producers opt for models as actors in their drama serials?

Express August 15, 2011


Should models really opt for acting? Can a model strut on the ramp with a straight face and put life in an emotional scene at the same time?

In Pakistan, local models like Iffat Omer, Aaminah Haq, Vaneeza Ahmad Ali, Zhalay Sarhadi, Ayesha Omar, Mehreen Raheel, Saba Qamar and Tooba Siddiqui to name a few, have made it to television after their stint as models. Some of them made it big, while others failed to stir emotions in their TV viewing audience. The fluctuating probability of models turning into successful actors raises the question whether models should strut their way into acting or stick to their modelling forte?

When asked whether models make good actors, PTV producer Ali Rizvi says, “Yes, relatively. Some of the best performers that TV has ever produced were primarily models in their careers; take Vaneeza Ahmed Ali or Humayun Saeed for example. Only recently, I have taken Malik Junaid Awan in my play Bund Gali. Awan is a model but has acted brilliantly in the play which will go on air shortly.” Rizvi also adds, “Iffat Omer is a prime example of a model who made it big through acting and anchoring.”

Rizvi is of the view that, “Modelling provides a small platform to show your talent on the ramp; however, the larger piece of panache shines out on TV screen. I believe it’s a very good idea for a model to try their luck as an actor. In my opinion, acting gives an individual better experience and widens one’s horizon.”

Momina Duraid, a producer at Hum TV reiterates the fact that, “Hiring models as actors is not a trend; it’s a need. We know for a fact that all models are not bad actors, though some still stay in the realms of modelling as they have blank expressions while portraying a character.” The producer thinks the shortfall lies in the fact that there is no academy that can teach the essentials of acting. As a result, everybody ends up learning and unlearning on the sets. For Duraid, models-cum-actors Tooba Siddiqui and Sunita Marshall are better performers than others in their camp.

As far as another PTV producer Iqbal Ansari is concerned, hiring models as actors has a lot to do with “visual media; their face surely attracts not only us, but the audience and the camera as well. That is why models are hand-picked to perform in television dramas.”

Ansari explains that, “The essential requisite for acting remains a pretty face, body language and good facial expression. While models fulfil the first two categories, they usually find it hard to do justice with their facial expressions.” According to the PTV producer, being able to act is a gift given by God and some are naturally talented, however the audience also plays a vital role in helping one achieve the top slot as an actor.

Ansari concludes, “Look at Humayun Saeed! It took him almost five years to learn acting techniques. He was a shy guy initially but today he is a superstar. A person should believe in the character he or she is portraying, and even if one is not an acting master, they should at least have a fair idea of how to entertain the audience.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.

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