1. How would you introduce yourself to our readers?
2. Tell us about your background (where you grew up, your education and family)?
I’m basically from Islamabad; I spent my initial growing up days in England, and then moved to Islamabad. I did my masters in fine arts, more specifically sculpture, and then went on to do my masters in computer imaging and animation from London.
3. How and why did you decide to enter media as a profession? Did your family support your decision?
It was never on the cards, I was simply an artist. A project came along which I was part of and since the leading lady backed out last minute, I ended up doing that role. Once you’re in it there’s no looking back. My parents were not very pleased initially, but when they saw my work they were more than pleased.
4. You are an actor, host, producer and a director, which do you enjoy the most and why?
When you’re acting, you’re sharing someone’s experience, when you’re directing you’re sharing your experience, as a producer you’re creating a platform where various talent come together; thus, they are totally different experiences and have no comparison. As long as I’m not making any compromise, I enjoy doing all three. Being a host has its own charm, you have no lines, and you can just say what you feel like saying.
5. What plays have you acted in and what would you say was the most memorable role?
There’s a long list, but I normally enjoy characters where I have a margin to be different or create a person unlike myself. I’ve recently produced and directed a serial by the name of RANI, which is to be on air from the 8th of Dec on PTV, it was a character of a female politician, and I’d say I enjoyed it the most; the character had a certain get up, dialect and behavior. I played young to old and after playing that character I literally felt as if I’ve experienced a different life, as if I’ve lived her whole life, which is very rare.
6. Are you hosting, directing or producing any shows? If so, give us some details.
I am hosting two talk shows; one is on directors and the other on politicians and celebrities. Besides that, I’m shooting for a few serials which I’m enjoying as they are totally diverse characters.
7. What projects are you currently working on or have planned for the future?
I’m very selective about my projects as a director. I am working on a few concepts but they will take time to develop. I also plan to take up sculpture in my spare time.
8. Pakistan has seen a lot of change and progress in the media in the last ten years; do you feel we still need room for improvement, or have we achieved a level that is comparable to international standards?
There is always room for improvement and we have a long way to go. We have only progressed in terms of numbers but not standards. We have more channels, more shows and more plays; however, the quality has become worse than before. One positive thing which has come out of it is that more people are being given a chance to become part of this media.
9. What needs to be done to improve the standards of Pakistani media and why?
We need to improve quality which can only be achieved if more money can be spent on productions, by doing so, proper time will be spent on the scripts.
10. Despite the media thriving and actors having the choice of what and where they want to work, there are rumors about the lack of professionalism when it comes to the actual payment of their work. To what extent is this true?
True, Payment schedules are really bad. Actors might have more choices and work or better payments, but they still have to run around to get their cheques.
11. Do you feel that we as a nation have stopped watching our own TV and would prefer to watch Indian or International shows?
There was a time I agree, but lately even our viewers are getting bored with Indian plays. This is the right time to get our viewers back which can only be achieved by improving the quality of our plays.
12. What makes Indian actors come across the border to work in our plays? Do you think that some of the dramas now playing are too heavily influenced by Indian culture?
For Indians, Pakistan is a new market which offers them more opportunity. Especially because we mimic their plays, they feel that they are able to conquer this market.
13. As a woman working in Pakistan, do you feel you are treated any differently from your male counterparts?
Yes, I am treated differently and I get more respect as most people know it’s not easy being a working woman in Pakistan, especially in the media.
14. What words of advice would you give to the young generation who would like to follow in your footsteps and enter the media industry?
Everything you do whether big or small should be a labor of love. If you give all that you’ve got, rewards always follow.
There is always room for improvement and we have a long way to go. We have only progressed in terms of numbers but not standards.