Sana Bucha is a force to be reckoned with. A blazing mind with beauty in great measure, she is an unmissable star. Her latest project, Yaalghar, which promises to be Pakistan’s biggest film, sees her tackling a serious role. Sana Bucha speaks to Afshan Shafi in a moving interview about her passions, dreams and more!

What elements of the script drew you to Yalghaar’?

I was introduced to Yalghaar two days after Waar premiered. I believed, notwithstanding the flaws and weak storyline of Waar, that it was going to be one of those films that left you feeling somewhat stronger and more aware of the “enemy” within us. It was also greatly inspired by the Swat operation which took place in 2007. There was a role of a journalist, which seemed tailor made for me. I believed I was going to be playing just the same old journo that is me, except that this was going to be for the big screen. Also the script’s only counter narrative seemed to be my character.

The director/producer/writer of Yalghaar, Dr Hassan Waqas Rana, seemed to be very driven by the whole narrative and I sensed this passion in him that was very infectious. Lastly, we all know that seeing is believing. We only react to what we see or are remotely aware of. Whether it be the Sialkot lynching, the brutal murder of Mashal Khan, the APS massacre—people only sympathize with what they witness. The sacrifice of our soldiers who actually have boots on the ground gets lost in the general civil-military imbalance. Yalghaar is a tribute to our martyrs and an eye opener to emotions that may have been amiss in most of us. And lastly there was Shaan, the superstar. Need I say more?

Yalghaar is a tribute to our martyrs and an eye opener to emotions that may have been amiss in most of us.

And lastly there was Shaan, the superstar. Need I say more?

Any memorable anecdotes from the shooting of the film?

Yalghaar was a long ride—three years. We were like one big family. We didn’t have perfect relationships but we made them work. There were some great moments. However, one that I hold most dear is the night Umair Jaswal, Bilal Ashraf, Uzma Khan and I told each other horror stories. We got so scared we ended up on the same sofa, which could seat only two and no one went to the bathroom alone that night. The other one I vividly remember was when we were on a shooting spell in Kharian and the APS attack happened. It was a sad day indeed as we spent all day mourning for the children whose future had been abruptly cut short and for parents who would never stop feeling this big a loss. That same night I had to do scenes that involved crying and the makeup artist got glycerin. But the director just told me to think of those children and their parents and feel the anger towards the perpetrators of this heinous crime. I bawled, minus the glycerin and couldn’t stop even after the director called “cut.” That day Doc (Hassan Waqas Rana) decided to dedicate Yalghaar to the young shaheeds of Pakistan. That moment when you feel a pain so intensely changes you in a way that nothing else can. I believe we all changed that day, not just on set, but everywhere.

How would you view Pakistan’s film industry from a journalist’s perspective? What are its greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Pakistan’s cinema is like the country itself, resilient. That is its greatest strength. Sometimes it has nothing going for it except the passion that is brought in by the amateur filmmakers. It seems like the only plausible thing to do would be to give up, but not everyone has. The greatest challenge that the Pakistani cinema faces is its heavy reliance on foreign content—Hollywood movies as well as Indian. Our movies have budget constraints whereas they have budgets running in billions. It’s an unfair competition. Moreover, those who do invest heavily in Pakistani movies have to wait years before they can recover some of their investment. Our political landscape and intolerance towards certain subjects make it difficult to produce thoughtful message oriented content. Lastly, we should stop being expected to beat India or Hollywood because their market/industry size is many folds larger than ours. We need to create a new niche for Pakistani cinema, independent of competition and need to focus on stories which will help shape the society for the better, not only mindless entertainment.

What kind of roles would you be interested in working on in the future? Would you like to play a character that is totally out of your comfort zone?

I’m not sure whether I will do another film. I’m not even sure whether this is my calling yet. However, I’m open to experimentation and if the offer comes, I would certainly like to try my hand at something different. I want to be able to do whatever it is that I do, as well as I possibly can. Failure is not an option.

Which International/local actors and actresses do you admire the most and why?

I believe it would be Meryl Streep from Hollywood and Amir Khan from across the border. Meryl Streep is an intelligent, compassionate, independent woman with a strong influence on the public and she uses it to impact the society at large, not just remain restricted to her roles in films. Same goes for Amir Khan who uses his star power to highlight sensitive issues plaguing the Indian society and moving them towards possible solutions. What good is star-power if not used for the right purpose?

Which international/local directors would you love to work with and why?

Locally, my choice would be Shoaib Mansoor. His scripts are moving, his direction flawless and his motives, noble. Internationally, there’s Quentin Tarantino , a man who has studied film in great detail and has derived a style of his own. Tarantino also has the added advantage of being a brilliant story writer as seen in Pulp Fiction. His movies make for multiple viewings and he’s got a great fan following. I also wish to work in a Bond or a Marvel movie—Supergirl and/or Jane Bond. Oh yeah!

What’s next for you professionally? As both a journalist and actor?

I don’t plan the future. If I spent time thinking and planning my next move, I wouldn’t budge an inch. I’m indecisive and unsure generally so prefer to go with the flow. I have a pretty good idea of what I do not want to do. I’m also sure that my motive has to be noble and impactful for the country at large. I want to be able to make a difference. I’m planning a show post Ramzan, which is a lifelong passion project. It is a perfect blend of my journalistic skills and my celebrity status.


Interview: Afshan Shafi

Styling & Coordination: Sana Zehra

Photography: Arsalan Bilgrami of a.bilgrami studio

Outfits: Shehla Chatoor

Jewelry: House of BB by Bissma Bader

Hair & makeup: N-Pro

Rapid Fire

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Nowadays night owl

Celebrity crush local/international:

Fawad Khan/George Clooney

Puppies or Kittens?


Biggest pet peeve?

My obsession with weight loss

Craziest fan story?

My Facebook stalker who begged me for a picture of my foot soles. He said he knew how to read them. Crazy!

Who’s your favourite Disney Princess?

Snow White. Probably because she had those cute little dwarves around her

What was the last dream you remember?

Me sitting on a blue sky and holding stars in my hands—unreal!

What quote do you (try to) live by?

I take respite in the fact that all of us are hurting, broken, suffering or missing someone or something in life. Makes me feel less alone. Also the fact that being broken is a privilege because that’s how the light enters. I love this particular quote by Ernest Hemingway: “We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in”

Last song that was stuck in your head?

There’s never just one

What’s your favorite emoji?

Something so so cute about this one

Good Times


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