The versatile artist talks to Instep about television, film and the digital world that she’s recently stepped into.
Samina Peerzada’s metamorphosis as an artist, over the years, has been graceful. From once being amongst the most alluring faces on television, she went onto cinema and after an extremely diverse run as an actor, she has brought her experience to the digital world with her talk show, Rewind with Samina Peerzada, created for YouTube in collaboration with Muhammad Adnan Butt of Walnut Studios.
“Adnan and I were figuring out how we could work together and I suggested that we begin with conducting interviews and possibly develop more projects such as web-series in the future. That’s pretty much how we started it out and I’m so happy that it’s being liked,” she told Instep as we sat down to discuss her latest endeavor, exploring a new medium altogether and more.
Age is just a number and Peerzada asserts that she’s adapted well with technology over the years, proof being the ease with which she’s taken up a digital show. Despite not having an established channel or banner back it up, she feels that the show has been professionally done, with proper planning of its look, format, set and of course, the exclusive guest list.
“I think that’s the future and being in the media, you need to be aware of what is happening around you and how the attention span is evolving. The internet has made it so convenient for me to watch shows that I’ve missed. After coming home from work, I catch up on whatever I’ve missed out on over YouTube, for instance I’m watching Manto now,” she speaks of being comfortable with automation.
As the title of the show suggests, Peerzada delves deep into the lives of her guests’, letting them pour their heart out. We’ve seen Quratulain Balouch (QB) talk about her troubled childhood and failed marriage and Mahira Khan explaining her theory of love. From actors, musicians and now cricketers (in-line with the ongoing PSL), Peerzada hosts stars to candid drawing room confessions.
“That is what I enjoy; knowing about people in their formative years. I feel the time from when you’re conceived to your mid-teens is very sensitive, but those are amazing years for every human being, they can either make you or destroy you. So, I feel it’s very important to discuss that,” she says of her fascination with memoirs.
Speaking of composing personality inventories of sorts, Peerzada reveals how she simply goes with the flow. “We do our extensive research, but I don’t make that the base of my questionnaires. I discover the person in a way that I never knew them,” she shared. “As young girl, I would read a lot of biographies and autobiographies, and my interest in people began when I was barely 12-years old. I have always been very quiet, so I listen more and that’s why the show works.”
Nonetheless, the web-space has given birth to overexposure, lack of privacy and keyboard warriors. Peerzada, however, feels that internet isn’t the only agency to be blamed for altercations.
“Even when I was young, I came across a lot of controversies; they criticized my voice, the way I looked, what I wore, the way I reacted. I would always come out of it, stronger,” the veteran actress maintained. “I had a choice to either react and go back and get angry, or confront people or simply stand tall and go on with my work and do what I think is right. There was a lot written and I remember giving an interview saying, ‘I don’t care a damn,’ which lead to a greater storm, but that’s exactly how it is for me even today.”
“After my second film, Shararat, the kind of horrible things that were being said did upset me,” she continued. “But you must follow what you think is right for you. I wanted to make movies and act, and I am the person that I truly am.”
Is that what’s kept her away from the director’s chair for fourteen-years?
“Well, I’m waiting for that writer I want to work with because I lost my team and I haven’t been able to build another one,” she explained. “I hope writers like Noor-ul-Huda Shah and Umera Ahmed would write for me and pen what I am imagining in my head. But it has to be something absolutely fantastic, something like Inteha, which is as meaningful as it is commercial.”
Having essayed an array of characters, ranging from the likeable girl-next-door and glamorous diva to the vamp and the cruel mother-in-law, Peerzada has been there, done that and feels that the industry continues to function in a banal and regressive fashion.
“I think all our efforts of going global over the past 18 years will go in vain if we continue producing saas-bahu sagas and do not explore the emerging female participation in society and the intellectual identity of women whether socially, politically or economically,” she suggested. “If stories are not socially relevant and do not work around real, powerful women, we’ll simply lose our audience. I think all writers, directors and producers need to sit together with the media moguls from script departments and discuss how we must save the industry.”
Drawing parallels between the doom of cinema in the ‘90s to a potential deposition of TV, Peerzada remarked, “We’ve already seen how the gandaasa-genre in film made it completely nonexistent and TV might see the same fate if we don’t modify.”
In her pursuit of substance, she’s been on a hiatus, but is all geared up to return to small screens this year. “I’m always looking for good scripts, which is why I’ve declined most of them. But you’ll be seeing me this year for sure. I’ve agreed to three plays; I’ll be shooting one next month, one of them will be shot in Canada, while the last one will go on floors in August, I believe,” the artist concluded.