Uzma Hassan is not a new name in showbiz. She made a mark on the small screen with projects like Shashlik Xtra Hott, Mr Mom, Sitcom, Ullu Baraye Farokht Nahin, Pal Bhar Mein, and Aao Kahani Banaty Hain. She is currently starring in the much-awaited movie Arth starring opposite Shaan. Sana Zehra sat down with the beautiful Uzma for a tete a tete

What was your initial response when you were offered Arth?

Utter shock and disbelief! I was working on a play about Manto with Ajoka theatre back in 2013. Shaan had come to see one of the shows we staged. It was post performance that he offered me a part in a film that he had been planning for a while. The only response my brain could come up with was a ‘does not compute’ error. It wasn’t until months later, when I was handed over the advance payment that it hit me that this could actually be happening!

Ever felt challenged working with stars like Shaan and Humaima considering this is your debut?

The actual challenge was the task at hand. Being a part of the remake of a cult classic, one that I loved and had grown up watching and playing the character that was originally enacted by the legendary Shabana Azmi.

I was taught at the very beginning of my career that in order to do justice to a character you’ve been assigned, you must leave behind who you are, step out of your comfort zone and into the skin of the character. Once you’ve done that, everyone else, whoever they may be, are just characters of the story. There’s no margin for error or intimidation.

How was Shaan as a director?

Shaan is a force to be reckoned with! He’s a master of his craft, a workaholic. Extremely passionate and tireless when it comes to his work. And he expects everyone else to share the same enthusiasm and energy. Which isn’t an easy job, to put it mildly.

He had a vision, one that many did not share, when he casted me for this role. He believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself so there was a lot of pressure, because not only did I have to live up to his expectations of me, I had to also prove a lot of other people wrong, but it was his unwavering faith in me that got me through it in the end. I’m extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him and learn from him.

Why should people go watch Arth? What is so special and different from the original?

Arth is not only a remake of an Indian cult classic, it’s a story that everyone can relate to at some level. It’s not only about love, passion and betrayal, but also about finding yourself, picking yourself back up when the world has thrown you down on your knees.

It’s about having hope in the face of despair keeping the faith against all odds, it’s a second shot at life.  it’s a brilliantly directed film with stellar performances and great music line up by Sahir Ali Bagga and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sahab. And if that’s not enough reason to go watch it then one should do it for the sake of supporting our industry and its revival that everyone keeps raving about.

Any fond memory you have from the sets of Arth?

I was too busy freaking out while we were filming to actually relax and enjoy the process but looking back, everything is a fond memory, be it the wardrobe malfunctions, the panic attacks, shooting for winter in summers, wearing chiffon shirts and romancing in the freezing cold, tears of joy after successfully filming a difficult sequence, physical injuries, losing track of my team and getting lost in London. . it’s been one hell of a crazy, wonderful roller coaster ride!

What has frustrated you in the recent past? Explain.

I’m an overly sensitive and highly active person so I’m easily worked up and I allow lot of things to get under my skin. But what really ticks me off is how pretentious and hollow the world has become and how desensitised we have become as a society towards pain, cruelty and injustice and how comfortable we are with mediocrity.

How do you think your career will change after Arth?

For the better, I hope! Most importantly, I hope that through Arth, we can change the perception of our industry, actors and people in general and help them understand that acting, although a visual medium, is not only about looking good. It’s about the ability to emote and connect. One doesn’t have to be glamorous to be a mainstream actor.

Tell us three things people don’t know about you.

I’m allergic to liars and pretentious people, I’m an incurable animal lover and I’m not easily impressed.

What should every woman try once in her lifetime?

Not succumbing to societal pressure, standing up for her rights and being comfortable and confident in her own skin.

What brings you the greatest satisfaction?

Pampering  people, and I also love rescuing and rehabilitating animals.

Last three items you bought?

Dog/cat food. Tintin comics and a whole bunch of DVDs for my collection.

Greatest indulgence?

Food! I live to eat!

One thing you wish you knew you were younger?

The value of time.

What does love sounds like?

I’m a die hard romantic and I live by what Rumi said; ‘Love is the reason. Love is the goal.’

Good Times


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