Hailing from a Pashtun family, Neelam Muneer Khan is known for her distinctive beauty and acting skills. Muneer takes it as a pride to have come this far into the field of showbiz and have a successful career. She started her acting career as a child star in ‘Abhi Abhi’ (2008) and gained popularity with her role of a disturbed teenager in ‘Qaid e Tanhai’ (2010) that every producer wanted to cast her in their projects. Besides numerous roles to her credit on television, Neelam has also worked in feature films. Her film ‘Wrong No. 2’ (2019) was a commercial success and her recent film ‘Chakkar’, a murder mystery was released over this Eid. In an exclusive interview with You! Neelam speaks her heart out about her roles in film, dramas and future plans of her career…
You! What was it like when your film ‘Chakkar’ was released in cinemas after two years?
Neelam Muneer: It was exciting. Usually, I get nervous before the release of my film but this time I was more comfortable and happy that finally cinemas were opening with four films on Eid.
You! How was your experience doing a double role in the movie?
NM: Oh, it was wonderful. I wanted to do a double role from the beginning of my career. I enjoyed it a lot, but yes, it demanded much hard work. I had to carry both the characters within me throughout the shoot. Shooting was fun. There were times when I was shooting a scene as Zara and for next scene; I had to change into Mehreen. We had to keep the wardrobe for both the characters updated in order to avoid any jump in the scenes. Makeover for both the characters was also a very difficult task. On my part, I tried my best even dub my voice differently for both the characters.
You! What was the most difficult thing of doing a dual role?
NM: To be honest, where I enjoyed doing double roles at the same time it was a serious responsibility on me to keep both the characters different. It was technical and a bit difficult.
You! Tell us about the dance number ‘Churiya’?
NM: It was a perky number in which the dancers, including me, were all women. My supporting dancers were amazing. It was a very tough competition as those girls were professional and already in practice and I learned a lot from them. The song also has guest appearances by the likes of Faysal Quraishi, Sheheryar Munawar, and HSY. I hope those who have watched it must have enjoyed it. It was fun.
You! This is your second film with Ahsan Khan and your on-screen couple is admired on television dramas as well. How is he as a co-star?
NM: He is wonderful. As soon as we sign a project together, the excitement starts with it. In preparation and rehearsals we discuss a lot about each other’s role and scenes. We would even decide how we would do some particular scenes before going on set. It helps a lot and this chemistry is depicted on screen as well. Whether it is a drama or film, I feel very comfortable working with Ahsan. He is a good human being and has been a very supporting co-star, from the beginning days of ‘Chupan Chupai’.
You! For dramas, what do you see in your script before signing a project?
NM: I mostly look for character roles. I am fond of them. So for them, I would go to any length, whether it is the role of a mother of two, an aged woman or even a male character. I am very passionate about my work.
You! What do you prefer, film or drama?
NM: I enjoy doing dramas a lot. I also like films but a commercial film usually has very less to perform with a typical heroine role full of masala. As far as dramas are concerned, roles are mostly from real life and with situations people generally (or even actors) go through. I must mention that in dramas, you also get the chance to act in situations, which you are going through or have already experienced in your personal life. Sometimes the scenes demand the same emotion which becomes a good exercise and catharsis for me.
You! Coming from a Pashtun family, was it hard for you to enter showbiz?
NM: Yes, we are a typical conservative Pashtun family. My sisters don’t upload their pictures on social media. We usually don’t allow girls to act but somehow I got the permission, maybe because of my passion. To be honest, I feel a lot of pressure, which is why I am working hard in this industry with my heart and soul. I try my best to step out of my comfort zone. By the way, female Pashtun singers are also very talented.
You! You must have been fond of becoming an actor since your childhood…
NM: (haha) It is true. I am fond of dressing up and wearing makeup, I always wanted to be a heroine. I feel lucky to have gotten the opportunity to act.
You! Another thing that we have observed is that we never spot you at award shows, despite the fact that you have been nominated. Why is that so?
NM: Besides work, I want to spend more time at home with my family. In showbiz, getting an off day is a blessing. Moreover, the awards I get from my fans are most important to me. My fans love me a lot, specially the female audience. The love and admiration of my fans is enough for me.