Filmstar Sana has starred in 300 projects since making her debut in Syed Noor’s Sangam back in 1997. Her most recent release has been the comedy Jackpot. The down to earth actress surprises Sana Zehra with her no nonsense attitude

Pakistani cinema has been unfortunate in that quite a few films have flopped in the last couple of months. When people write honest reviews, actors get defensive. What’s your response to film critics?

Our cinema is still immature (Editor’s Note: Still?) and it will take time to reach the heights that we all want to see. We should be optimistic, willing to experiment and appreciate instead of always criticising.

Using only one word per person, what was your first impression for the following people?

Mahira Khan:

Very talented

Shaan:

Legend! He isn’t working but he’s still a legend for everyone. I mean he’s worked for many years in this industry.

Your thoughts on the Pakistani film industry?

The Pakistani film industry is now divided between the cities: Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, etc.  We should not be divisive but work as a unit.

What was your experience working on the small screen?

It is always a pleasure and a great learning experience.

We absolutely love your six pack abs. What’s your preference—exercising your mind or exercising your body?

I think it’s a package. Exercise works for your mind and body both at the same time. I exercise for my health, which is much more important than anything else.

Would you rather have people be more straight forward with you or have them carefully choose their words?

That’s a difficult question. They have to be problematic for me to back off.

If you get a chance would you be part of Big Brother?

No, I would not want to be part of Big Brother because I don’t like the vibes given in the show. The people who participate are known to be infamous and I never want to be that.

Is there any regret in life that you still have and want to fix?

I don’t have any regrets. I am confident with whatever I do and my choices.

What annoys you most about women in general?

When women talk about brands all the time and pretend to be something they aren’t. I don’t like being around pretentious people.

Are there any compliments that you think are actually insults?

Interesting question. I love working out and when people say your body has started to look like a man’s, I get peeved. I mean, like really?! That’s all you can see? They don’t understand about body types but feel the necessity to criticize without even giving it a second thought.

Is there anything that your mind encourages you to do but your willpower always holds you back?

Willpower always holds you back or else your mind always says to do things you shouldn’t be doing.

How would you give someone constructive criticism?

I criticize people less because I focus on myself more. I need to improve myself a lot more before judging others. I can only suggest if asked.

One word on the following:

The competition in the industry?

Nonsense and useless. The industry isn’t even fully established yet, so what’s the competition about? You can’t call this an industry right now. People are more worried about their self-image than their quality of work.

Lip fillers?

If you need it, go do it.

Love?

Love is very important for the body, mind and soul.

Marriage?

Respect

In the industry, who is your closest friend?

I have a very professional attitude. I’m on good terms with everyone and don’t really have many fights or bad blood. I’m not really close to anyone as such, but I am on close terms with Resham and Meera. We actually started our careers together so we enjoy a good friendship.

What’s your favourite novel?

Many

Favourite movie in the past five years?

I recently watched one and I completely forgot its name.

Favourite horror movie?

I actually watch more cartoons because of my kids.

Favourite solo artist?

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam

If you were stuck in the elevator with the following people, what song would you sing?

Salman Khan?

Tere Mast Mast Do Nain

Javaid Sheikh?

Yeh Dil Aap Ka Hua

What’s the one thing you would never wear, even if you were paid to do so?

A net burqa

What’s the first thing you notice about someone when you meet them?

The way he/she sits and talks.

Who is the ultimate social media queen right now?

Aiman and Minal

Who is the ultimate fashion queen right now?

Ayesha Omar. I like her style

Lahore or Karachi?

Both. Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Multan, etc. I think all cities have different things to offer.

If you got the chance to make a documentary, what would you make it on?

Sufism. I belong to Multan and have many wonderful childhood memories. If I ever get the chance, I would definitely revisit and take pictures of those places.

Who is that one celebrity in the film industry that really needs a stylist?

So many. Some people might say that about me. We all need a stylist because we might like something but the stylist help us to put it all together.

What is the one word in the film industry that everyone needs to stop using?

Everyone says, “Okay, no problem” to everything but in reality there are a lot of issues. People need to acknowledge that and try to resolve it instead of saying, “No problem!”

What one piece of advice would you give actors if you got the chance?

I don’t think upcoming stars need advice. They need more exposure and a platform to exhibit their talent. Whenever they get a proper platform, they know how to present themselves.

I just love Sajal Aly’s acting and work. She’s no less than any international actor.

If someone sent you as a judge on a morning show, would you accept it?

Yeah sure.

What is your biggest phobia in life?

To gain weight

Any message for your fans and any upcoming films?

I just want to add that people who watch Pakistani cinema should stop criticizing and need to start overlooking the flaws. Show some respect to people who are working in the industry. We need positivity in our daily life. Keep in mind that we don’t have any academies or learning institutes for the cinematic arts.

I have noticed that you aren’t that old, but most people call you baji,  how do you feel about that?

I’ve been working for almost a decade it really does not bother me. It’s okay, as long as I am getting respect.

Why did you choose to do Jackpot?

I’ve always supported Pakistani cinema. The character I portray is different and a new one for me. Earlier films didn’t have so much depth and shades to characters as they do now. This character has a comedic element to it.

Additionally, the team was extremely helpful, professional, dedicated and passionate. This is the first film Shoaib Khan is producing/directing. I’ve enjoyed doing his dramas before. I was also excited to work with Sadie Khan, the stylist. I hope everyone’s hard work pays off.

Tell us about your character?

I’m playing Maliki. She is a woman who’s married and is a bit forgetful and not too smart. Everyone else is very smart in the film except her but fortunately the film’s climax is centered on her. Everyone is stuck and has to follow this goofy lady.

It was fun to do, and I am so excited to see how it’ll all come together at the end. We haven’t seen the whole film together, so I think that will be entertaining.

Why should people go watch Jackpot?

It’s thoroughly entertaining and people will enjoy all aspects of it.

Shoot coordination & styling

Umer Mushtaq

Hair & makeup

Eric Send

Photography

Raza Jaffri

Good Times

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