I Have My Own Space, I Am Not Competing With Actors In The Industry, Says Anoushay Abbasi
She has had critics and the industry raving about her in 'Raqse-Bismil’
Anoushay Abbasi is unpretentious from the word go. She has a unique appeal and she knows it. This effortless beauty wants to focus on her work and improve herself rather than focusing on the rat race in the industry. We all have an inner diva that emerges with age and experience and it's time for the world to see the real Anoushay Abbasi. HNH Style meets the actress for a fun chat…
HNH Style: You’ve worked as a child star on PTV. How did your childhood experiences shape you as an actor today?
Anoushay Abbasi (AA): Yes, I started as a child artist; I have worked with veteran directors like Haider Imam Rizvi and Haroon Rasheed that helped me shape my craft. I was just 14 when I did my first lead role in Mohsin Talat’s directorial ‘EikLamhaChahiye’. It was written by Samina Ejaz and also starred Zeba Bakhtiar and Faisal Rehman as parallel leads. Today, when people praise my work and consider me as a fine actor, is because I have worked with a generation of people.
HNH Style: Which project do you consider as a milestone to your success?
(AA): It’s difficult to name any one, as there are many projects over the years that have proved my versatility and left a lasting impact on the viewers. To name a few ‘TootayHuway Per’, ‘Kaala Jadu’, ‘Behkawa’, in fact, people still remember and talk about ‘Pyaray Afzal’. Not to forget, ‘Mere Pass Tum Ho’ was also a humongous success. I do all my projects with dedication; each one has played a vital role in my career.
HNH Style: Your role in ‘Raqse-Bismil’ has won rave reviews. How confident were you on playing a character like ‘Sakina’?
(AA): The moment I read the script, I just loved it. I was pretty confident that I could do it. I decided to keep a very subtle approach to it. I was motivated by the fact that with every episode my character became bigger and better.
HNH Style: Weren't you worried that you would get overshadowed in the presence of Imran Ashraf?
(AA): Not at all! I have already worked with Imran in ‘Kaala Jadu’ way back in 2013. I was jubilant to work with him again. It’s because of Imran I was more excited; as I was aware that his presence and performance will help in shaping up ‘Sakina’. I believe such chemistry between costars makes a big difference.
HNH Style: The slap scene in ‘Raqse-Bismil’ created quite a stir. Can you decode that moment for us? What were you like before going into the scene?
(AA): I love how everyone speaks about the ‘Thappad’ scene. Honestly, this particular scene was owned by Imran Ashraf and Mehmood Aslam. It was a crucial moment between their characters and the slap happened to be a situation in between that left a huge impact. This was also an opportunity for ‘Sakina’ to seek revenge for all the injustice that happened to her. We rehearsed it multiple times; everyone was excited about it. I remember Mehmood Sahab guided me a lot. The scene was ok in just two takes. The rehearsals really helped us in getting the perfect timing.
HNH Style: What is your definition of a quality drama? How do you choose a project?
(AA): There isn’t a formula to choose work; you never know what will work and what won't. I had no idea that my guest appearance in ‘Mere Pass Tum Ho’ would get such a massive response. I was on a break for about two years; I returned home from England and they offered me this role. Initially, I was hesitant to do it; as such big names were already attached to it. I thought I would get overshadowed. On the contrary, the last two episodes that featured my track were released in cinemas and opened to packed houses. Sometimes a small appearance can do wonders. As an actor, when I sign a project, I try to make it better with my inputs. Many at times, a good project goes completely unnoticed by the viewers because another good project is being aired at the same time. However, I do feel the combo of director Nadeem Baig and writer Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar works big time. 80% of the project is already a success when these two are on board. (Smiles)
HNH Style: You have always managed to stand out even in multi-starters be it ‘Pyaray Afzal’, ‘Prem Gali’ or ‘Ghalati’. How do you make your presence felt so strongly?
(AA): I built my character by working on the small nuances and peculiarities. I am a director's actor; I completely surrender myself to them. Like in ‘Ghalati’ it was Saba Hameed (the director) who crafted my character; all I had to do was to emulate her. Similarly, in ‘Prem Gali’ a lot of credit goes to Qasim Ali Mureed (the director) in terms of giving the entire star cast the liberty to design their characters. Besides, I am an actor who likes to rehearse and prefer working with actors who like to do the same. It’s sad to see that actors in the industry don’t do it. I really want rehearsals to become a norm.
HNH Style: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an actor?
(AA): I feel every single day is a challenge; completing a twelve-hour work schedule is quite a task. I am happy to achieve it on a daily basis.
HNH Style: You don't get into controversies or throw tantrums. Have you always been a nice girl or do you have your moments?
(AA): Yes, I do! Sometimes, I lose it on set; it’s not like I walk out, I don’t harm the producers or the unit. I am aware of the system; I exactly know how to sort out such matters. If I have a problem with anyone, I’ll sit down and talk and involve the production house. My work requires a lot of patience and that is the reason why you haven’t heard many stories about me.
HNH Style: What are the things you dislike about the industry?
(AA): I hate the fact when people of the industry bad-mouth about each other on social media. If an actor doesn’t agree with the other, they simply put up a status on their social media handles to prove their point. Instead of supporting each other, why do the fraternity members are always on the lookout to bring each other down? Also, it’s sad to see a section of bloggers who know nothing about their craft, just write anything about your work. They’ve just started watching dramas;they are ignorant about the facts, have zero research, and knowledge that results in hampering our hard work. I feel something seriously should be done regarding this issue.
In showbiz, people expect a lot from us for example when they watch me in a character like ‘Sakina’ they assume that I am that person in real life too. And when they see my day-to-day pictures in a different avatar, they don’t like it because in their head I am ‘Sakina’ who always carries a veil on her head. When I post a picture in a western outfit, I am bombarded with comments like ‘Oh Sakina Sir Pe DupattaTau Lelo’. Subsequently, my chemistry with a fellow co-actor in a project is highly praised; but the moment I post a candid picture with him on my personal profile, people assume that we are having an affair. I love my fans for supporting me. But I request people to stop this negativity and hate comments. They don’t realize that one bad comment can ruin someone’s entire day. If you don’t like us, just click unfollow and go home.
HNH Style: Do you have friends in the industry?
(AA): Yes! I am friends with most of them. To name a few,Faryal Mehmood, Hira Mani, Sana Askari, Sohai Ali Abro, Faris Shafi, Affan Waheed, Sonya Hussain, Neelam Muneer and UshnaShah. All the girls in the list are actually my friends, not competition.
HNH Style: What's the secret behind your glam avatar?
(AA): I would like to give the entire credit to my manager Samra Muslim. She has been taking good care of my PR. I have to confess; I feel very happy since I have started working with her.
HNH Style: Who do you feel your competitors are?
(AA): It’s good to have competition, but I am not competing with actors in the industry. I have my own space; I have my own characters that I choose to do. There have been instances in the past where I was in talks for a project and the role was bagged by another actor. But when I saw that project on air, I realized that she was the right choice to do that role. I’ll be honest, there are moments where I get jealous too and feel that I could have done a particular role better (Chuckles). I believe I’ll get the work that is destined for me.
HNH Style: Who is your dream co-star and dream director?
(AA): I would love to work with Sania Saeed and Noman Ijaz. As for directors, I haven’t worked with Mehreen Jabbar yet. I would like to team up again with Sarmad Khoosat, Nadeem Baig and Asim Abbasi.
Concluding the conversation Anoushay gave us an update about her upcoming projects: “I am doing a drama serial ‘Beenam Betiyan’ produced by six sigma entertainment. It’s a working title; the play is directed by Ali Masud Saeed. The cast includes Noor Hassan, Imran Aslam, and veteran actor Babar Ali who plays my father. There’s another unnamed project helmed by Yasra Rizvi; the cast includes Maria Wasti, Jenaan Hussain and Adnan Jaffar.”