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.
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
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
My friends were
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
My favourite subjects were
Maths and Chemistry
My least favourite subject was
I couldn’t stand
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