In the 1980s and 1990s, Marina Khan was one of the most sought-after stars in the country. She made her debut in a production about Nishan-e-Haider recipient Rashid Minhas and is now a household name. Her roles in plays such as “Tanhaiyan”, “Dhoop Kinarey” and “Nijaat” highlighted her versatility, as she could play a stoic heroine or a giggly prankster with incredible charm.
But anyone hoping she will return to the limelight is in store for disappointment.
When asked why she has ‘disappeared’ from TV productions, she smiles and says, “The actor is dead. She woke up one day and realised she never wanted to act, then she got involved in direction which she still loves to do.”
Marina Khan says she would love to direct a film. “I have certain standards that I will be competing with, but I would love to have one film to my credit before I die!”
“The last play that I really enjoyed doing was Saira Kazmi’s ‘Tum Se Kehna Tha’ (The play also starred Ali Haider). I don’t enjoy it anymore. As far as direction is concerned, I love the creative part of it — the sets, the production, the behind the scenes work. This is what I now enjoy doing the most.”
She reminisces about her role as Dr Zoya Ali Khan in “Dhoop Kinarey”. “It was a good story which was told very well. Saira Kazmi knows the art of storytelling and visualises stories beautifully. ‘Dhoop Kinarey’ was a love story. It was made at a time when there was a lot of censorship … directing or producing a play was a difficult task. The credit goes to Saira Kazmi for masterfully handling the play. You get to see the intensity on screen … it was so beautiful. Whether it was the scene in the rural set-up or the one when the blast victims are brought to the hospital, every part was skillfully performed and directed. Even though there were times when people thought that I would not do justice to the role, it was Saira Kazmi who truly believed in me.”
Khan believes television productions have become better. “I think we have improved greatly in the last five years,” she told The Express Tribune. “But there is still the concept of showing extramarital affairs on screen, which is something we heavily rely on when telling the story, even though it is not openly discussed in our country. We still need to differentiate between the character, an actor and a production. I still believe an actor can never be bigger than a director.”
Khan also hosted a morning talk show for a local television channel. When asked why she stopped, Khan says, “Morning shows air all over the world. In Pakistan, it is a different ball game. A ‘morning show’ is a ‘night-time show’. It is not supposed to be a comedy show. We call guests to morning shows and relentlessly abuse them. You don’t abuse people who are your guests. Generally speaking, in morning shows you call people and talk to them … you keep to the positive side of the story. At that hour, you need to energise people. But then ratings speak for themselves, and the audience is highly responsible for promoting such shows. We should not blame the hosts for that. They are not responsible, the audience is responsible.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2010.