Tasneem Kausar is one of Pakistan’s finest actors, popularly known for her versatile persona. She has acted remarkably in all genres of television plays, be it dramas or comedy. The actor hasn’t appeared in a significant role in nearly three years now, however, she will soon be seen in Kites Grounded, a short art-film, expected to be released by the end of this year. The film is being directed by Murtaza Ali and his wife Seema Hameed is the producer. It will see Kausar and Irfan Khoosat in the lead roles.
“Roles can be similar in many ways, but my goal as an artiste is that no matter how many times I play a poor mother or a character of a similar nature, I have to add something new to my character in terms of feelings, pain or the shade of the character,” says Kausar.
One of her best performances was in the drama serial Kalmoohi, which was aired on PTV and was directed by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat in the 1990s. She was also greatly appreciated in a more recent role in Faisal Rehman’s telefilm 9/11. She didn’t get to pursue film as actively as she would have liked to because she was a single mother of two. Her children, who graduated from the University of Punjab, are now independent and working as bankers.
She now has time to focus on her career in film and has given her utmost to her upcoming project in which she is playing the role of Khoosat’s wife, who is the last of the dwindling kite-makers. The actor feels that such art-films provide a different sort of medium for an actor. “Art-films have their own value in many ways, they provide us with an avenue to look at real life subjects,” says Kausar.
“The role of craftsman who had been working for many generations has disappeared. The film reminded me of the studio system and how many technicians lost their livelihood because of changing times. You begin to wonder how they are making a living now,” says Kausar.
Director Murtaza Ali says that working with Tasneem Kausar was interesting because of her pure acting talent. The actor has in the past played the role of Irfan Khoosat’s wife on several occasions. In this film, she plays the role of a loud and outspoken wife to a husband who doesn’t speak much.
“She has incredible acting talent. As I directed behind the camera, she would ask when we were ready and within seconds she would be able to convert into her character, which was something amazing,” says Ali.
Tahira Bibi, who is a first time actor in the film, had the opportunity to rehearse with both Khoosat and Kausar. It was their ability to own the character that made it easy for her to act with them says the debutant. “My character is someone who visits the old city regularly and is sort of missing the dearth of such craftsman in this modern world. It was brilliant how easily they were able to shift into character. Khoosat would sit with the actual kite-makers for an hour before each shoot, while Kausar would always ask if I wanted to rehearse lines. The experience was truly positive,” says Tahira.
Being an unconventional female lead, Kausar feels that television has brought a lot more emphasis on glamour and the role for female actors has become less intense. Pointing out the growing number of people associated in the television industry, she implores that the rigor needs to be maintained and people should work on creating depth in stories and characters.
“I have done a lot of dramas, but I remember having to shoot a drama in Kalashakaku. The scenes were so real that the local women would gather around during the shoots, as it was something they could relate to in real life,” says the veteran actor.
“It may be just how I feel, but now the focus is more on creating glamour on screen, rather than working on serious characters. This limits the type of characters women can play,” concluded Kausar.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2014.