Instep Today

“As an actor, your playground needs to be global”

Instep Today
By Instep Desk
Wed, 04, 16

We have seen her playing the distressed housewife, a strong and inquisitive school teacher and as a woman rising against domestic abuse.

Aamina Sheikh on motherhood, films and making a difference.

We have seen her playing the distressed housewife, a strong and inquisitive school teacher and as a woman rising against domestic abuse. In a career spanning almost a decade, Aamina Sheikh has made a conscious effort of playing roles that defy the stereotypical norms set in Pakistani television and she has no willingness to do things any differently. While it may seem that her personal life demands more attention now as she welcomed her first born, Meesa, just last year, Sheikh is already back on the small screen playing Pakeeza, the tortured wife of an abusive, psychotic husband Jibran – essayed by Alyy Khan.

Juggling motherhood with an acting career that often requires more than 10 hours of your day can be a daunting task but Sheikh is determined more than ever to excel and has prepared herself well in advance. “I have only stepped into motherhood after giving it a lot of thought,” the actress said in a recent interview with BBC Urdu. “I decided to have a kid only when I felt I had a thorough understanding of the industry and I could manage both things simultaneously. I was working till I was five months pregnant and I left the minute I started showing. The day I came back, I was on the sets of a TV play. My kid has to work around me, not the other way around. I don’t believe in orthodox, conformist beliefs that ‘everything will change after marriage’. In fact that irritates me and I take such statements as a challenge to prove otherwise.”

Although, Sheikh’s first project after hitting home is a television play and she is yet to make a notable appearance in a mainstream commercial film, given that things seem to be moving fast on the cinematic front in Pakistan, her focus is more towards transcending to films. “My focus is definitely towards films and I feel I need to prepare myself more for it. I still haven’t proved myself in commercial, mainstream films and I would like to that,” Sheikh said. When asked if that means she’ll take up roles that involve shaking a leg or two, the actress said, “As long as the script and the character excites me, I’ll make it work in a way that audiences enjoy it. Even if it involves jhatkas and matkas, I want to make it believable and not look odd doing it.”

Talking about films, it is also important to note the growing cross-border exchange between Pakistan and Bollywood and how Zee Zindagi has opened a whole avenue for Pakistani actors and actresses to explore. Aamina Sheikh’s Maat has also been quite a success in India and there have been rumours of the actress getting offers but nothing so far seems to have materialized. Does she want to focus on Pakistani cinema only?

“Pakistan was never my sole focus because I have lived in a couple of other places including the United States. As an actor, your playground needs to be global because Pakistan has a very limited market. I really wonder why there aren’t more efforts to promote our talent across the world. It’s my dream that as an actor I am able to perform as part of any other entertainment industry across the world,” Sheikh asserted.

Like we said before, Sheikh has tried her best to break away from stereotypical depictions and it appears that the purpose behind doing so is not just to set herself apart as an actor but to make a difference in other people’s lives. “Will Smith once said that ‘as an actor it is your responsibility to do the kind of work that elevates mankind in some way’ and that has stayed with me. I don’t ever want to believe that my life entails just being an actor; it has to be of some service; have a social purpose and can bring about a tangible difference,” Sheikh concluded.