When we hear about Pakistan, first thing that comes to mind is that the country who supplied FIFA 2014 world cup’s footballs. But it is also famous for manufacturing high quality surgical goods, handicrafts, textile products and the beautiful Northern Areas of Pakistan. Because of political instability and strong impact of religious extremist groups, Pakistan has been under constant jeopardy.
Even though that traditional gurus and established religious clowns put individuals and society under extreme pressure and keep them from expressing themselves, there is adequate activity to show that the society is modern. Music is now being considered as a medium of expression and accepted as an entertainment tool.
Some incredible talent in the shape of Meesha Shafi, Salman Ahmad, and Hadiqa Kiyani, to name a few. Indeed these melodious ones have become inspirations for the youth. The progress, fame, appreciation, and success of these celebs have proven that solid determination brings forth the desired results.
An interview was conducted with Meesha Shafi, a pop icon of the country. Meesha Shafi is an internationally known and recognized model, songwriter, actress, and singer. She was part of Bhag Milkha Bhag (a Bollywood super hit movie) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (a Hollywood Project) along with many other Pakistani projects such as Meesha Shafi Project. She is an excellent communicator and conversation with her was extremely interesting and exciting.
Tell us something that you never have told anyone else in an interview?
There was a time when I very seriously wanted to be a paleontologist.
What cultural differences did you observe while working in very different entertainment industries?
There are several cultural differences amongst the various industries I’ve experienced. But that only makes it more exciting and memorable. It’s also a great way to learn something new and gain exposure every time.
Tell us about the funniest incident that happened at the sets of The Reluctant Fundamentalist?
Well it was a very intense film to shoot and I was working with some huge names on camera and on the crew. We had great fun but the filming was not without its challenges. No work is easy when you’re pouring your heart and soul into it. The funniest was when Kiefer Sutherland and I were getting our portraits done side by side and I couldn’t focus after doing a gazillion shoots throughout my career. I was so star struck!
How do your modeling and acting skills support your singing and vice versa?
I definitely feel a big advantage when it comes to being an all-rounder because of these different areas I have worked in over time. Singing live on stage, recording in the studio, shooting for a music video or a film, modeling as a muse for someone else’s vision are all interconnected. What I learn from one of these things I have applied in another. For example, just because someone can sing doesn’t mean they can perform in front of a camera etc. The journey has been great. A grueling training which has resulted in the performing artist that I am today. My skill set has grown because of this over time and I feel it puts me in a stronger position to expand my horizons.
Your favorite US artist with whom you would do anything to perform live on stage?
The Foo Fighters!
Tell us about the moment when you figured out that you are an artist. Was it when you started painting during your college days or you knew it since your childhood that you are going to enter entertainment industry?
Very early on. I grew up in a house full of writers, actors, painters so the influence and encouragement was definitely there from the start. I’ve been painting, performing and singing as far back as I can remember. I had other interests along the way, but I’m glad I stuck to the performing arts and fine arts. I have always had a strong inclination and I don’t regret the direction I took at all. I love my work and it has been more gratifying than I ever hoped it to be.
You come from a family of artists, tell us who influences your work the most? Do you try to copy any one of them?
There are many artists and creative minds in my family. My mother is a living legend in television and my grandfather was a celebrated writer/intellectual and worked endlessly to raise issues revolving around tolerance and humanity. He was one of a kind and in my humble attempt to be a big person; I can only try to copy him.
Your first ever celebrity crush?
Your favorite song (Hollywood) that you can’t resist dancing to! Who is your favorite singer, why?
Old school hip hop really gets me moving. But as far as singers go, Florence Welch is phenomenal. Such a power house!
Do you write your own lyrics?
I write a lot of my own lyrics but have re-invented some classics as well. It’s sad that people forget some of the great work that songwriters/singers left behind. I’m glad reproducing them has become a popular way of introducing them to the younger generation.
It’s not easy to keep yourself up to mark with as many daunting tasks as you are working on especially when you are a mom, how do you manage to keep a balance? Tell us a bit about your efforts to get back in shape and tone your body after giving birth?
I didn’t do anything the first time around, but this year I gave birth to my second child and have been committing to some running and yoga thrice a week. I was very athletic in school and have been blessed with good genes and a great metabolism (thanks mom and dad!).
I can’t stand gyms and machinery so I prefer the great outdoors and a lifestyle which is more fluid, more organic and holistic. Yoga has been great because it’s teaching me how to clear my mind and declutter. I also eat healthy and cook a lot for my family. I find that to be very rewarding.
We hear so many things about Pakistan’s political instability, religious extremism, and conservative societal approach. On the same time we see great inspirational personalities such as yourself coming to the big stage and approving themselves that they have all the necessary skills to compete with any one. Tell us how you manage to survive, learn, and prosper in such an environment?
It’s all about inner peace. When the world around you is going crazy, and you can’t control external factors, the best thing to do is tune out the negativity and focus on the good stuff. It sounds like a cliché but it works!
Tell us about your upcoming projects?
I have a personal policy of never talking about upcoming projects till they are ready to go. It’s much more fun to share experiences and information regarding a project that has already been released. But I can tell you that there are some phenomenal tracks coming up on a few local film OSTs. Produced by different music producers with varying strengths in their field.
These are exciting projects for me and will be for my fans too I’m sure, since Pakistani Cinema is having a hugely significant re-awakening and I’m really happy to be a part of it. Other than that I’m swimming in scripts as far as acting goes but will be picking and choosing with time and consideration.
When can we expect to see you performing in the USA?
Hopefully in 2015!
An exclusive interview of the most incredible and talented 'Meesha Shafi'