A good actor always pays close attention to detail, and this is something one notices when Nimra Bucha is on-screen. Every character that she takes on, she nails it to its every miniscule trait. And every role that she has taken on has been different from her previous one.
Nimra was already working as a theatre performer and a radio jockey, when she made her television debut with drama serial ‘Daam’ in 2010. Directed by Mehreen Jabbar, her portrayal as Aasma in the serial became a memorable one. Following this, she has appeared in multiple serials like ‘Sabz Pari Laal Kabootar’, ‘Ghar Aur Ghata’, ‘Baandi’ ‘Mera Yaqeen’, ‘Akhri Station’ and ‘Ek Nazar Meri Taraf’.
She went on to make her film debut in 2015, with the blockbuster hit ‘Manto’, directed by Sarmad Khoosat. The film won several national awards and critical acclaim. Now, she is starring in another Sarmad Khoosat film ‘Kamli’, which is playing in cinemas nationwide. Moreover, she is also featured in Disney’s ‘Ms. Marvel’, which is now the highest rated series in Marvel Cinematic Universe. In an exclusive interview with You!, Nimra shares her journey over the years and some insight to her current projects…
You! What made you pursue acting as a career and did you always want to pursue it?
Nimra Bucha: No, I wanted to be a doctor, an architect, an artist and a circus performer. So I thought it would be easier to be an actor and do all of this.
You! When you started acting, what kind of challenges did you face as a woman?
NB: I think for both men and women the toughest bit is finding work. It’s a precarious path. One job doesn’t necessarily lead to another. I tend to have a lot of free time waiting for someone to offer me work.
You! You have had an illustrious career in television and film, what is your priority when you are signing on a project?
NB: I like to work with directors whose work I respect. Also, I like to work with students and young people who are more likely to take risks artistically. The script is important as it needs to make sense and excite both. There is no way a bad script will make a good film.
You! Tell us about ‘Kamli’ and what got you interested to be a part of this project?
NB: It was a script that was full of pain and layers and complexity. I knew Sarmad Khoosat would turn it into a very beautiful film. There was no way I would not want to be a part of it. I play a woman called Zeenat. She’s struggling both at a personal and professional level but she’s determined to shift the furniture around a bit, make changes to her life. She is an artist with an eye for beauty.
You! You have worked for a number of mediums (theatre, OTT projects, movies, films). From an actor’s perspective, how do you think these differ from one another and what do you prefer more?
NB: I really don’t have a preference but I like theatre because you can be home in time for dinner.
You! How do you prepare for your roles?
NB: I’m afraid I’m not much into preparation on my own. Good projects usually have rehearsal time and that’s a great place to explore the script and play with it without the stress of performance.
You! How was your experience being in a Marvel production and how did you come across this role?
NB: Everything was a bit bigger, things happened on time mostly and there were so many people on set, I’m still trying to remember their names. I was lucky. They saw an audition tape and thought I might be right for this character that I play.
You! You have managed to do some unconventional roles, whether it was in ‘Kitni Girhain Ab Baqi Hain’, ‘Mushk’ or in ‘Churails’. Have you received criticism for it and how do you handle it?
NB: There is no way you don’t feel bad when you’re criticised. But if it weren’t for that, you wouldn’t feel happy when you’re praised. You have to take the bad with the good and keep it all real. None of it stays forever.
You! What do you think Pakistani media industry is lacking since there doesn’t seem to be a dearth of talent?
NB: We have an identity crisis on the whole as a nation. We don’t want to own forms of expression that we are naturally inclined towards. It’s also difficult to try new things because there’s no system of sustaining the struggling artist.
You! How do you think we can sustain the Pakistani entertainment industry?
NB: The question should be, how can you sustain yourself as an artist, how can you be true to yourself and how can you continue working and learning.
You! What do you enjoy the most about your job?
NB: The words “Pack-up!” Jokes aside, it’s good, fun work, adults behaving like children and playing pretend.
You! What is the most challenging part of your job?
NB: The ever changing nature of it. You make strong connections when you work with people and then you have to up and leave and start all over again.
You! A project that you hold really close to your heart:
NB: Different characters I have played have given me different gifts. I played a woman called Bakhtay once in a play called ‘Ghar aur Ghaata’. That woman reminded me a lot of my grandmother.
You! Who is your favourite co-star to work with?
NB: Not being diplomatic but it has been my privilege to work with the finest of actors. If I name a few I will immediately regret not naming others.
You! A role you wish you could have done or not have done:
NB: No regrets just dreams.
You! Who is your biggest inspiration?
NB: My mother. Wish I had stared at her more and made notes.
You! What’s a lesser known fact about you?
NB: I’m a pathological hoarder.
You! What advice do you have for young aspiring actors?
NB: I’m no one to advise anyone. I’m still learning and making mistakes, Thank God.
You! According to you, what are some of the main issues faced by Pakistani women today?
NB: Very few Pakistani women have access to education, health, safety and justice and that’s shameful for all of us.
You! What’s in store for the future?
NB: Let it hold its secrets. Don’t want to know.