Why did you choose to become an actor?
I was a painter by profession and used to do a lot of theatre. Earlier, I did television as fun, for a few family friends who were part of the industry. However, after getting into art school, I began getting offers for sitcoms and became an actor by default.
What inspires you?
Strong and talented people like Hina Dilpazeer, who is a bundle of talent herself, and Samina Peerzada inspire me. In fact, strong and independent women who successfully juggle their personal and professional lives together inspire me a lot. My mother to be specific, who was a single parent, has immensely inspired me through her hard work and determination.
Would you call yourself a feminist?
I wouldn’t say that I am feminist but I believe in equality for women. Biologically, women are not as strong as men. Hence, I feel they should learn to accept their forte and move ahead.
How has the Pakistani television industry changed over the past years?
Previously, there used to be no rat race in the industry and lesser politics. There was better quality of work. Nowadays, the working environment is neither comfortable nor conducive, it’s dirty and things are not always taken care of. Actors have no time to sit and learn from their seniors or research their characters because they are consumed with doing everything else from acting, to designing wardrobe and make-up. Actors are their own managers. However, there has been improvement in the content area. Earlier, we copied Indian dramas but now we do our own thing which is being appreciated globally.
Have you struggled to be where you are today or has life been a series of fortunate events?
Yes, I have gone through the struggling period. Every actor does! I have done everything by myself and learned from my seniors to reach where I am today. I don’t believe in taking short-cuts by networking or being at the right place at the right time. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced any ‘casting couch’ situations and have been lucky enough to get roles based on my talent.
What’s the best way to deal with failure?
One should learn to accept failure and consider it as a lesson. Failure is everything from cure to self-discovery of oneself.
Who is your favourite director and why?
Our industry consists of a lot of talented directors like Sarmad Khoosat, Sultana Siddiqui, Asim Raza, Mehreen Jabbar and Saqib Malik. They are all commendable in capturing their characters and presenting them well.
What sparked your interest in singing?
I have been singing even before I joined the industry. I love to sing and ventured into it by choice.
Any advice to aspiring female actors?
Don’t take short-cuts. Learn from criticism and know that there is always a flip side to the coin. Surround yourself with blunt and straight-forward people rather than diplomats, who appear to be friendly and nice in front of you but only befriend you for an ulterior motive. Always remember that behind good acting there is a lot of teamwork involved. You must also respect everyone from your seniors to juniors and even the cameraman without considering yourself superior. I would also advise you to do your research by watching a lot of films and TV shows to help yourself grow as an actor.
Actor, model and singer
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, November 9th, 2014
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