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Having started her career as an ingénue in the evening soap Ishq e Benaam, the young, talented, pretty actress has quickly made a name for herself bagging big TV projects. Sana Zehra sits down with Komal Aziz Khan for a candid heart to heart

What is your stance when women are shown as the weaker sex in drama serials?

I’m so glad you asked me this question. Yes, I am a pro feminist and, yes, this is a conflict of interest for me as the scripts can sometimes be regressive. But it’s my job. I use my influence to make whatever change I can. As far as reasoning with the directors is concerned, in my last drama Gumrah I pleaded with the director to please show that I’ve taken over my father’s business and now I am a working woman. As my career progresses, hopefully I’d be able to influence the scripts and make these small but important changes.

One thing you are excited about that is coming up in 2018…

I’m super excited about my upcoming drama Bisaat e Dil. For the first time I am doing a character that is best defined as gray. The character I am playing is hard headed but at the same time empathetic. The role I play is that of a high end escort, a very challenging role indeed for me!

Why do you think Pakistani movies flop even when big names are attached to them?

I think we are slowly and gradually learning the art of film making and some of us haven’t gotten it right yet, while some of us have figured it all out. Perhaps it’s because some have a solid background in drama serials, whereas others don’t. Honestly, sometimes it’s just sheer bad luck.

Have you ever been offered a movie role?

Yes!

Why didn’t you take it?

I was offered two films and am so glad I did not take them. One of them flopped badly and one was so notorious that…(errr) I am glad I did not sign up for them.

One law you would like to change in Pakistan?

Women’s rights! There are tons of loopholes in our system right now but I think we are on the right path.

Which movie do you relate yourself the most and why?

That would be the Indian dramedy Queen (starring Kangana Ranaut). I was studying in the U.S. when my sister told me about to watch this movie. It’s about a girl I can totally relate to. I come from a middle class family and the only reason I went to the U.S. was because I got a full tuition scholarship. All my experiences have been similar to that character’s, so the movie is really close to my heart.

A compliment you think you don’t deserve?

When people only talk about looks, that’s something I feel like I don’t deserve because that is something I am just born with and it seems futile.

How do you think social media impacts your overall mental well-being?

I like social media. It’s extremely liberating to have a platform where I can be myself and post whatever I like. I know a lot of people who have used social media as a stepping stone and took charge of their own destiny and now they are huge. At the same time, yes, people can be mean and cruel so that really does hurt and sting really badly.

Ultimate love advice?

I recently read this and it clearly resonated with me, love is about feeling secure and stable with the other person and not feeling giddy, jealous and insecure. I think that’s so true. Love is about feeling safe and having complete trust with each other, having butterflies is just the initial phase.

If you get a chance to be in someone’s shoes who’d it be and why?

Emma Watson for sure! I am a huge fan of hers. Would be interesting to see who she meets and who she talks to.  She is an activist and I love her work.

What would you do if there is an awkward silence between two people?

I try to make small talk. (Laughs)

If you get to remake any of your dramas, which one would it be?

My first one! Please don’t watch it. I was just starting out and I was horrible at acting. Wish I could erase the first one and replace it with the new one. Please don’t watch it, please please!

Which co-actor is the most professional?

Shahroze Sabzwari is the most professional. To be honest all of them are.

What is the claim of fame of the following?

Nawaz Sharif: Corruption

Syed Noor: (Laughs) Films! Amazing films!!!

Asad Siddiqui: Zara Noor! Sorry Asad! (Laughs)

One culture shock you got when you visited the United States for the first time?

One thing that I was told that parents kick their children out the minute they turn 18. So I checked in my dorm and I see all these old parents picking their children’s stuff, carrying it up stairs, setting it up and crying when saying good byes just like any normal parents would. That was a huge eye-opener.

Name one word that comes to your mind when you think of

Competition: Rivalry

Marriage: So far away…

Money: Good for happiness

Living in Pakistan: Not so bad!

Item Song: Spicy

Rain dance number: Romantic

Love: Warmth

Die single or being married with problems: Die single any day

A rumour about yourself that makes you laugh?

Some creep said after the infamous landlord incident that I was dating that crazy man and had asked him to gift me the house, which is why that incident occurred. (Rolls her eyes)

Drama queen or beauty queen?

Both

Describe yourself in three word?

Critical

Ambitious

Hard working.

Who do you think needs a stylist in our industry: Mawra, Mahira or Saba Qamar?

Mawra

Who do you think needs a dietician in our industry?

Gohar Rasheed, because he is a friend and I know he won’t care it if I say it.

Who do you think needs a therapist in our industry?

Everyone should go see a therapist please. It’s good for you!

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