Sania Saeed Se Sawal ~ You Ask She Answers

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Our guest this time around needs absolutely no introduction. Arguably one of Pakistan’s best actors, Sania’s is a name synonymous with class and quality on Pakistani TV. For legions of drama enthusiasts just her name is reason enough to give that particular project at least one serious dekho. And, as a fan of hers for pretty much forever it is227777_1970689262704_7487426_n my absolute honor and privilege to host this interview session with the inimitable Sania Saeed.

Sania made her debut on TV in the late ’80’s and today her body of work includes projects like Ab Tum Jaa Saktey Ho, Aahat, Sitara Aur Mehrunissa, Aur Zindagi Badalti Hai, Kahaniyan, Putli Ghar, Faraar, Zaibunnisa, Shayad Ke Bahar Aaye, Qatil, Thori Si Khushiyan, Khamoshiyan, 11953220_927110970678662_1154870155695290768_nThe Ghost, Kalmoohi,  Aao Kahani Bunte Hain, Jhumka Jaan, Hum Pe Jo Guzarti Hai, Zard Mausam, Kitni Girhen Baqi Hain, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Aseerzadi, Numm, to name just a few.

More recently, Sania’s take on Safia in the absolutely brilliant Manto is one that will stay with me for a long, long while. And now, starting the 24th of April, we have Sarmad Khoosat’s much anticipated Mor Mahal to look forward to, wherein Sania will be essaying the role of an oracle.

I realize I must’ve forgotten 10360361_360621374115661_9001742160362528109_nmany wonderful plays in this woefully inadequate listing, but even within these I cannot help but be struck by the fact that right from the begining of her career Sania has defied easy categorization. Though she’s typically been the lead we’ve never really seen her as the quintessential desi heroine, but then she has not been playing the 12650833_10156961570750497_2819769895002958509_ntypical maa, behen, biwi, bhabhi type roles either. What Sania’s gifted us in their stead, are characters in the real sense of the word.

No matter what their circumstances, her women have been individuals in their own right, with a strong sense of self. Moreover, Sania’s never been the one to shy away from experimenting with her looks and creating unique characters. Given this career trajectory it will be interesting to hear what she makes of the current crop of glamorized dramas and their parade of one mazloom aurat after another.1452408_995609547199699_3023044929207279221_n

Most of us may know of Sania Saeed solely because of her work on television but it is infact on stage where she has done some of her best work.

Born in a family where education, literature, political activism, and theater all went hand in hand, Sania has carried forward this legacy with a lot of grace as she continues to push for social justice through her work in the theater. Her recent stage play Lorilei was very well 12654156_1019287794831874_7142142494314657067_nreceived by audiences in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. Apart from acting, Sania is also as an accomplished TV anchor and host, and a passionate women’s rights activist.

I can go on and on, but suffice it to say that there is a lot we can discuss with the typically reclusive Sania. I do not have to tell you how special this occasion is and I hope you will all join me in thanking Sania for her graciousness in agreeing to do this thora hatke interview with us.12039317_932320460157713_1882587877164893202_n

Share your appreciation, offer feedback and ask interesting and fun questions, the kind you’ve always wished to be asked. Koshish kar key avoid the usual type ke sawal takey mil saken samajhdar aur mazedar jawab.

Please keep in mind:

  • The last date for posting questions is Friday, April 30th 2016.
  • Ask as many questions but please post each as a separate comment.
  • Do not repeat questions that’ve already been asked.
  • Post your questions in the comments section, NOT on twitter or facebook. 

So bas ab aap kijeye sochna shuru aur likh bhejye apney sawal takey de saken Sania unke jawaab!

Written by SZ~

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54 replies

  1. What is your best character you played in your entire career that you think the most toughest and memorable for you. And the dream character that you wish to do?

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  2. @Sania Saeed: My goodness.. Its just nearly unbelievable that you will be answering our questions .. That much near to us… I am really a great admirer of yours.. You just bring smile on my face., Chahe vo ek choti si jhalak hie kyun na ho… The grace and dignity you have is classic.. The way you carry all your characters, that thehrao ,.something that have became so rare now a days… Listening to your interviews always gave me positive vibes.. If i have to keep your personality and your work in scales.. They would be equal in highest regards.

    I can go on and on…but let also ask me you some questions too

    Q:1 When you started your career it was a different, simpler time, when all focus was on character and their characteristics..

    Times have change now there are very few artists who focus on character’s uniqueness.. How do you feel working with artists who take their role as it come ..itna bhi sochte nhn hain k kaise karna he, kya karna he

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  3. Q:2. I have heard a lot about experience that people gain during theatre work but recently watched few videos where celebrities were all thankful to their theatre work and that it maintain their sanity and made them grew more.. I am amazed and so want to ask you what is that thing in Theatre that just groom artists in every way and that they enjoy it so much?

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  4. First of all, thank you Sania for agreeing to do this interview. Love your dedication and sincere approach to your work. You breathe life into the characters you play and it all appears natural, never artificial. Thank you for all your wonderful work. And SZ, I don’t know how you do it, but you manage to draw in the best artists every time. Thanks a lot for this opportunity 🙂

    1. The play “Aur Zindagi Badalti Hai” is one of my all time favourites. I love Irsa and the way you played her. Any memories from the shoot, unforgettable incident from the making of the play? What was it like to shoot in Spain? Would love to hear about the experience.

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  5. One of my pet peeves is the absence of normal, realistic women characters on TV these days. We only seem to be shown extremes – completely mazloom or the full-on saazishi type. Very very rarely do we see a balanced woman character. Even 5 or so years ago this was not the case, we had more relatable characters.

    2. Who or what is the reason why we’ve stopped showing balanced female characters on screen?

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  6. 3. If we viewers can see this trend from the outside, what is it like to be in the thick of things? As an industry insider, how do you feel about this?

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  7. 4. Whenever viewers ask for more sensible content on TV, the box standard answer we get given is “this is what the public wants to see”. I understand that TV channels are not non-profit organisations, they need to make revenue, it’s a business. But isn’t there a way to match good projects and making profit? What do you think will be a practical solution to this issue?

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  8. 5. Do you make any changes to the way you approach a character depending on whether it’s for TV, theatre or film?

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  9. 6. Do you read reviews of your plays/films? What do you feel about the quality of reviews (both on the internet and traditional paper reviews)? Do you read comments about plays on social media like Facebook?

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  10. Q:3 Being such an amazing artist, you would have been offered similar roles.. During those times how much you crave the creativity in roles, writing?

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  11. Q:4 How was your experience in portaying particular kimd of character in Mor Mahal? your body language, expressions are simply flawless.. I must say i am blown away just by seeing the teaser of your character… Looking forward with so anticipation!

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  12. Q:5 You get into the skin of character so flawlessly that its hard to point any similarity between any of ur roles.. wanted to ask What are those parameters ( Your observation, or understanding the psychic of characters) thar makes you do your roles so differently ?

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  13. If your vision for a particular character differs from the director’s, would you (a) stick to your guns, (b) give in to the director? Have you ever let go of projects because of such creative differences?

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  14. Really enjoy watching you on screen..such a powerhouse of talent! I especially like watching the classics, ahaat, putli ghar, Mehreen Jabbar’s kahaniyan series and all the other telefilms, aur zindagi badalti hai & shayad ke bahar aye. Currently, watching you in Tum yaad aye.
    You have worked with stalwarts..how was it working with such big names like Khalida Riyasat, Nadeem Baig and many others and what did you learn from them?

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  15. Sania Saeed-the moment you here the name, your soft spoken manner comes to mind and what I like about you besides the fact that you are a brilliant actor is how you are so humble. Although you have played loud or dark characters perfectly, I love you in the softer roles and your smile..uff! You have a graceful and look lovely in saris. Do you style yourself?
    Loved you in the music video for ali sethi and congratulations for your movie awards for Manto!

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  16. I was recently watching your talk show Maa presented by ariel and loved how you mixed easily and were so friendly when doing house visits..really emotiinal interviews. Talat Hussain’s interview made me teary.
    I enjoy watching when you come to shows also like Nadia jamil and sanam baloch’s show. Would you like to do more like that and have your own show maybe like Oprah because I feel you can bring changes and have positive energies and very inspiring.

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  17. Since I read an interview of yours where you said nowadays dramas need to have better storylines, have you ever thought of going into writing? What about directing?

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  18. How has been your experience in working with Haseena Moin in two of your most well recognized and famous plays Aahat and Shayad Ke Bahar Aye and also the telefilm Chup Darya?

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  19. Also you’ve worked with legendary people like Uzma Gillani, Zaheen Tahira, Khalida Riyasat, Talat Hussain, Sahira Kazmi how has been your experience and who is your inspiration as an actor?

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  20. Don’t you think that Bebak and Thori Si Mohabbat (both written by Noor ul Huda Shah) have been your most under rated performances, i personally loved these two dramas and you played beautiful characters in them.

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  21. You appeared in a string of Hum TV plays at one point of time namely Khamoshiyan, The Ghost, Jhumka Jaan, Zard Mausam and Aseer Zadi. Which has been your favourite play amongst them and which you think was not really upto the mark? (My personal favourite was Khamoshiyan and The Ghost, you were phenomenal in both of these and they had strong story lines)

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  22. Which has been your least favourite performance in your entire career and the least favourite drama you were a part of?

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  23. i always had this thing in mind, you became a household name after Aahat but I don’t remember watching a lot of your plays in the 90’s, apart from a few telefilms you didn’t do much work in the 90’s what was the reason of doing very less work in 90’s?

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  24. Is it true that Tapish was your first play? It is one of my favourites with a great cast, script and direction. Any memories from the serial?

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  25. Why haven’t you done comedy? and do you watch TV dramas, if yes which dramas have been your favorite lately?

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  26. @ SZ thanks a lot for this opportunity to meet with this powerhouse of acting so close as to have dialogue with her our good luck… Thanks SZ you always manage to bring the best forward…

    1. Can you share with us your experiences as the part of “Dastak” doing street theater with your father and how did it rub you to make you such a all rounder?

    2.Shahid Safaat sahib being your better half & an active member of Dastak & Katha, why has he not written or directed any tv serial to bring much needed experience & creativity now a days, some freshness to the old stale plate?

    3. Did your degree in clinical psychology help you in selection & adaptation of the characters so you can reconstruct them in your own way?

    4. What characters are close to you & why?

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  27. No question , simply want to admire your iconic and inspiring presence on our media.You embody grace and charisma.Wishing you all the very best for your future endeavors and may there be many.

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  28. Thank you so much for your time Sania ji. Aahat was one of my favourite plays back in the 90s, and we still remember the adorable Saba, Mina and Gurya.

    Everyone seems to have asked the questions I’d have wanted to 🙂

    Here are some of my own though

    1. In many dramas nowadays, a strong woman = a scheming and/or screaming woman. I feel most of the writers seem to have a very warped idea of who a strong woman is. Do you see this trend changing anytime soon and who do you think should be at the forefront of bringing about positive change in the portrayal of a truly strong woman on-screen?

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  29. 2. These days, we often see one director casting the same lead (and even supporting cast) in multiple back to back drama serials. As an industry insider, what is your opinion on cliques – do they exist and if yes, how are they affecting the industry as a whole?

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  30. 3. What are your three “deal breakers” – as in, three things in any script that you are offered which make you reject it straight away?

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  31. Hi Sania! I’ve grown watching your plays, ‘Aahat’ being my favorite one, i keep watching it again on Youtube and your performance still gets me teary-eyed.
    1. Who do you think is the promising male and female actor(s) of the current generation?

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  32. 2. Your performance in Manto left me completely speechless. Can we expect to see you in more movies, now that more of them are being made?

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  33. 3. There has been an increasing perception that the new, younger generation of actors is disrespectful toward their seniors and very arrogant, ill-disciplined, which has been the reason for some very fine actors to leave this profession. What do you have to say about this?

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  34. Salaams from a fan from South India & USA Saniaji.

    My first question:

    What is the Dasthak legacy both within and without the artist/activist community?
    Would Dasthak re-emerge…perhaps metamorphosed, with a new generation of actors? Or was it an endeavor that had its time and place?
    What was the most gratifying part of the Dasthak experience for you?

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  35. Question 2
    Given that the Pakistan (feature) film industry is now going through a revival phase, could you tell us if there is discussion among the artists/producers about the ways in which Pakistani feature film-makers intend to distinguish themselves from other film industries?

    I realize that the industry has to plug into distribution and other networks regionally and worldwide but I am wondering if this is part of the discourse among artists and film-makers.

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  36. Somewhat related to the question above:

    During this revival phase of the Pakistani film industry, are there any particular innovations that are being used in the industry both from the creative/production and the marketing aspects of the business?

    For instance, across the border we have very strong South Indian regional film industries (a different family system of languages and unique/different traditions from the North). Recently (2013) the first (Kannada) crowd-funded film was made, released, and won several international awards. The film-makers raised money world-wide from Kannadigas (people who speak Kannada) through the web/Facebook and the film made significant profit.

    Eager to hear about the new ways in which the industry might be meeting its challenges not just to revitalize but also to sustain itself in the long-term.

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  37. Question 3:
    Are there any actors’/writers’ unions in Pakistan? India has several but none with the kind of prestige/clout that SAG-AFTRA has in the US.

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  38. 1. You are one of a handful of actors who have been working continuously since the 90’s and have seen the TV industry go through quite a few ups and downs … what in your opinion has been the most welcome change you’ve seen taking place and the worst that has happened?

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  39. 2. We here had loved Numm when it first started but then the story went all crazy and it was obvious to even us lay people that a lot had changed somewhere along the line… how disappointing is it for you to see projects you’d been so excited about, turn out so haphazardly? How often does it happen that the final product bears no resemblance to the story you’d been narrated initially?

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  40. 3. Were you to write a script what would you to choose to write about? Would it be a comedy, romance, thriller, or a social issue based story?

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  41. 4. When you, Sania Saeed, sit down to watch a TV serial or a film for purely entertainment purposes what is most likely to appeal to you? Do you watch more for content or do you go by the names of people involved – director/actor/writer etc– or do you watch stuff which has been reviewed favorably?

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  42. 5. When choosing projects do you look at your particular character – and the margin it affords you as a performer – or do you look at the bigger picture and make a decision based on the overall impact and utility of the project?

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  43. 6. With open, in your face discussions about multiple marriages, extra marital affairs, talaqs, halala, DNA testing, family planning, rapes, etc, primetime TV serials have been pushing at the boundaries of how we define family viewing … do you think time has come for a serious discussion within the industry for introducing ratings – not censorship – for drama serials?

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  44. 7. And finally, what next after Mor Mahal? Any other interesting, hat ke projects of yours we should be looking out for?

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