'I second guess myself all the time'

'I second guess myself all the time'

For me, becoming a household name overnight and to suddenly get that success, was so new.

Unlike other actors who were refined, I was new and literally went into hiding, wondering what it is that just happened,” says Pakistani actor Mahira Khan whose life changed post her portrayal of the character of Khairad Ehsan in Humsafar, one of Pakistan TV’s most popular serials.

During her recent trip to India, Metrolife caught up with Khan who spoke candidly about her ‘transformation’ from a VJ to an actor for whom roles are crafted.

To those still nursing the Humsafar hangover, she says “By the fifth week of shooting I knew what Khairad was. Infact, till the very end I kept saying she shouldn’t go back to Ashar. But it’s the writer’s version. It’s Khairad who goes back, not me. Samina Peerzada told me that this is what the character does, not Mahira,” she says explaining her attachment to the role.    
“Humsafar was a game changer. By the fifth episode it had picked up its ratings and changed the way people wat­ched television in Pakis­tan. Everybody attached to Humsafar became successful inst­antly. From cricketers being brand ambassadors in ads, we became brand ambassadors,” says Khan elucidating on how the show affected the business of Pakistani drama industry. 

The business soared but Khan was emotionally cut off at a personal level.

“I suffered a personal loss and would come to the set fe­eling low and sad. But all those scenes where we are shown crying, we were actually laug­hing” she says as one points out her director Sarma­d Sult­an Khoosat calling her a ‘met­hod actor’.

“My other directors say that I am spontaneous beyond belief, where every take is so different that you can’t edit and put it together.”

“I am very confident but I am also not very confident,” she says, adding, “I second guess myself all the time and I don’t watch the monitor. I want to feel all of it, but the truth is you can’t feel all of it. So my directors’ have more confidence than me,” before they cast her in any of the projects.

But Khan ensures that she gives her 100 per cent because “The day I give my 60 per cent, which is rare, I drive my director crazy!”

So does she have a soft corner for women-centric roles? Without admitting to it she explains “I just did a serial called Sadqay Tumhare. It’s about a man, but what dialogues! The script was like reading a book. That’s how I want to spend 60 days of my life, day in and day out, in that character. If I don’t enjoy, I can’t lie to myself.”

Sounding politically correct on almost every issue, she even defends her choice of scripts. “It is not that I choose every script which has ‘tough’ written on it.

But with the cho­­­ices I have made, script is the key. Second is the director – who will make sure that if it is a good script, it is taken a long way,” says Khan expressing her love for films
like Highway.

The discussion shifts to Bollywood and the actor doesn’t shy from expressing her desire to work with directors such as “Mani Ratnam, Vishal Bhardwaj, Zoya Akhtar... I know my answers now.”

Her statement shows her familiarity with the Indian media.

A fellow journalist asks how open she is to act in Hindi films, like her Humsafar co-star Fawad Khan, and she clears her throat to say, “I am definitely open to listening good scripts and good stories. But new age doesn’t appeal to me as the old age cinema do­es. Even my phone has songs of Kishore, Rafi and Lata and my friends refuse to use it for music,” she laughs
stating she is a “buddhi ruh”!

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