US

In conversation with Maha Hasan

US
By Tooba Ghani
Fri, 09, 20

I loved how we worked for the play. For at least a month, we just discussed the themes...

COVER STORY

What does success mean to you?

I am successful if I am able to strike a balance between work and family; success is also having peace of mind.

Success can’t be one dimensional. You have a nice career, but if other things in your life are falling apart, you can’t call yourself successful.

Something you learned early in your career which helped you become a better actor?

One shouldn’t completely focus on the result! I used to worry a lot about giving my best shot, but then I realized I wasn’t fully enjoying what I was doing. Just keep trying and have fun during the process.

And that it’s ok to make mistakes; you don’t have to be perfect.

What is the most challenging thing about this career?

It’s a very demanding career. It takes a lot of time and energy.

Did you get any formal education for this career? If not, then how did you learn the craft of acting? If someone wants to get into the acting career, where and how should they educate themselves?

I studied acting at NAPA. Studying in a good institute helps you explore your talent; it allows you to make mistakes without worrying too much about the consequences.

It’s important to understand that acting is a practicing art. The real learning takes place when you actually start acting.

Then, staying under the supervision of good mentors is something that makes all the difference. Especially during the initial phases, you need to be around people who are well-read, knowledgeable, gentle and encouraging; they will not just guide you, but also uplift you.

Who are some of your role model actors/actresses, and what do you like about their work?

Meryl Streep; I love that she is so vulnerable in front of the camera.

From all your roles so far, which role was the most meaningful to you, and why?

It was a role I performed for a theatrical play ‘Adhe adhoore’, directed by Khalid Ahmed and performed at NAPA.

I loved how we worked for the play. For at least a month, we just discussed the themes; we tried understanding how those themes connected to the larger world; then, we went deep into characterization. The process was really exciting.

Do you believe good looks and connections are the only things that make a star?

In the mainstream industry all around the world there are certain beauty standards that are followed. In our industry as well people go after “good” looks.

This is unfortunate, but yes good looks is one of the major deciding factors.

Also, we see that in the longer run, you can only be successful on the basis of your talent. A sustainable career can only be built upon your abilities and talents.

How has social media changed things for you?

You get the feedback really quickly. To be honest, if I were not on social media, I wouldn’t have found out how well my dramas were doing.

How do you deal with self-doubt?

I try indulging in positive self-talk. When self-talk doesn’t work, I talk to my sister who helps me look at things from a fresher perspective.

Three pieces of advice for aspiring actors.

1- Know your why. Ask yourself why you want to act and what you like about this profession.

2- Surround yourself with knowledgeable people.

3- Enjoy the process and relax.


MY TEENAGE YEARS

Date of birth and star

October 25; Scorpion

The best thing about being a teenager was

Feeling optimistic all the time; the feeling that you can do and be anything you want

The worst thing about being a teenager was

Uncertainty, mood swings and tantrums

I was always listening to

Iqbal Bano and Farida Khanum

My favourite actors

Meryl Streep and Anthony Hopkins

My favourite singer

Iqbal Bano

My favourite superhero

No one, I always thought they were unrealistic

My favourite movie

August: Osage County

My favourite book

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

My closet was full of

Black clothes

My friends were

Crazy supportive

What hurt me the most was

If some teacher didn’t like me

I wish I had known then

That engineering was not my area and I could do well in liberal arts

Relations with family were

Amazing

My favourite subjects were

Maths and Chemistry

My least favourite subject was

Physics

I couldn’t stand

Pretentiousness

My favourite food

Anything cooked nicely

My favourite hangout

Golden Dragon in Islamabad

My favourite sport was

Terrible at sports! Never enjoyed it.

5 things you couldn’t live without it

Family, good food, acting, books and friends