KARACHI: Samiya Mumtaz has emerged to the fore of television and film at full throttle. Beneath her taciturn exterior is her power to emote on the screen. Having evoked a myriad of emotions in the audiences through her diverse palette of performances, with the most recent being her stint in Moor, Mumtaz continues to gain ground. As she bags a nomination in the ‘Best Film Actor’ category for her film Dukhtar at the upcoming Lux Style Awards, The Express Tribune catches up with the star to explore what she feels about the fledgling film industry.
“My concern is only my work. These [awards] don’t matter to me,” says Mumtaz, who usually avoids public appearances. She states that Dukhtar, which garnered the praise of audiences, was an “under-researched script with under-developed characters.” She holds that it mainly received acclaim because it’s a Pakistani film. Although she feels the film had a weak storyline, its beauty lay in its sets and the way it was shot.
Speaking about professional work dynamics, she laments that she wasn’t paid her dues for the film. “I was only paid 20 percent of the total amount. The remaining 80 per cent wasn’t paid to me. So, I didn’t become a part of the promotion campaign for the film,” she shares.
But it seems that her Moor experience turned the tide for her. Lauding the film for a “well-thought-out and visually-powerful plot,” she found the production to be comprehensive and complete. “This was something I had never experienced before. It [the film] was empowering and didn’t get dictated through words,” she notes. She recalls how all the actors used to arrive on the sets of Moor, fully prepared for the day’s schedule. “The whole experience had a professional feel to it.”
The actor formerly featured in the 2013 film Zinda Bhaag. Stating that that wasn’t an apt time to release a film with such an evolving script, she says, “Now was the time to show the film to the public. This is the time for people to understand and relate to it. It has a very intelligent script.”
Mumtaz terms the ongoing revival of Pakistani cinema as a “new chapter in the world of filmmaking in the country.” She is content that the filmmakers today have been learning the art and boast great knowledge of the field. Although she lauds how fast the cinema spectacle is evolving in the country, she says we shouldn’t take full credit for it. “It was through the Indian films screened in Pakistani cinema houses that local films got a boost. We can’t entirely take the credit [for the revival].”
Commenting on the ‘elitist’ nature of the film industry, she states that it’s not directed towards the masses. “It’s exclusively for people who can afford it. Entertainment [in Pakistan] is meant for the well-off. Students should get discounted tickets so that they can understand the medium well. I find it to be lopsided entertainment for now,” shares Mumtaz.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2015.