Stupendous Artist Mariam Saleem Nawaz Sharing Her Story With US!
Q- Tell us about your childhood and the struggle you made for the name you have today?
A– My father was in the Air Force, which ultimately meant that by the time I was done with my A levels I’d changed sixteen schools, and hadn’t lived in the same city for more than a year and a half at stretch. While it was hard to make friends and adjust to new teachers every time, what excited me the most was all the different people I met along the way. That’s how my passion for acting was born, observing all these personalities from different places and walks of life inspired me to put on little shows at family gatherings, that’s where I heard I should be an actor for the first time. What followed was hours of locking myself in my sister’s washroom, trying her make up on for different characters…and ruining it in the process (which, mind you, earned me plenty of flying jooties!!). Then when I was about 11, I finally took the stage for the first time, the play was a cleverly written satirical piece and I was playing Benazir Bhutto. That rush and feeling of being on the stage has never left me and I savour every moment of it, every chance I get. My struggle therefore, has been of a different kind. ‘Making a name’ for myself isn’t my goal, my struggle is the constant thirst of honing and perfecting my craft. It is the challenge of a character I have nothing in common with. Overcoming that, to me, is bigger and better than the feeling of making a name for myself.
Q- Every teenager has a dream. What was your dream when you were a teen girl?
A- My dream has always been simple, I want to be able to do what I love, and be surrounded by the people I love. So far, its working out great for me.
Q- How do you see the Pakistani drama industry?
A– The Pakistani drama industry could make for a very interesting case study. Its wonderful to see that despite the influx of dramas with regressive ideals, there’s always that one drama that single handedly takes the entire industry leaps and bounds ahead on the evolutionary ladder, so to speak.
Q- You are an amazing theatre artist. Is theatre your passion or just a hobby?
A- Theatre will always be my favourite medium for acting. Nothing, absolutely nothing, comes close to the freedom of being present on stage, rooted in that moment with every fiber of your being, giving life to a character. My teenage years, up until my mid twenties were spent doing theatre, so you could say I grew up with it and I would return to it in a heart beat.
Q- Do you think life in Pakistan is easy or not?
A- Life in Pakistan is what you make it. If you choose to be miserable, there’s plenty of things that will get you down but if you choose to be happy there’s plenty of things that will uplift your spirit and give you hope.
Q- How do you frame today’s youth?
A- Today’s youth has enough knowledge and technology at hand to change the world. We just need to channel our energy and passion in the right direction.
Q- What is the major element Pakistani woman need to have?
A-Every Pakistani woman needs to have a deeper sense of self worth. We need to solidify our individual identities and learn to rely and depend on ourselves before any one else. We also need to encourage each other and support each other, in what ever capacity we can, if we wish to see a Pakistan where women aren’t considered the inferior gender.
Q- How do you see Pak-indo relationship?
A- We’re living in 2016 and for me, its really hard to imagine, that in this day and age after all the suffering our fore fathers went through and all the current examples we have before us, we can still sit and romanticize the notion of war. I think the people of both our nations need to realize that at the end of the day we’re all just people, trying to make ends meet and lead better lives.
Q- You are a part of an amazing project ‘khuda mera bhi hai’. What was your motivation to sign this script? And how was the experience working for such a big project?
A- The one thing that struck a chord with me was the subject itself. I was curious and excited to see how we’ll execute something so delicate. The director Shahid Shafaat, who is an incredible theatre and tv director, was another major motivation. Apart from that it has been an absolute treat working with such seasoned actors. I’m new to acting in front of the camera, so their support and encouragement means a lot and I’ll forever be grateful for it.
Q- As a citizen of Pakistan what do you think where we are lacking?
A- We just need the right kind of motivation, tolerance for diversity, and a good dose of positivity.
Q- Are you a proud Pakistani?
A- Absolutely. We’re a resilient nation and we’ve been braving the odds for over half a century, we should hold our heads up high!
Q- Any of your favourite Iqbal’s poetry.
A- Interestingly one of my favourite Urdu verses is widely attributed to Iqbal, but it was in fact, written by Syed Sadiq Hussain Shah. When I was about eight I was giving a speech at school and my father taught me this verse, so I could include it. The way he explained it to me at that tender age however, is why it will stay with me and inspire me forever. Here it is:
یہ تو چلتی ہے تجھے اونچا اڑانے کے لیے
Q- Message to new movie makers.
A- Hey guys, I have a bunch of ideas to share….just kidding! (not really). Just be brave, keep experimenting, never see failure as a setback, and only then, will Pakistani cinema reach greater heights.
featured by mahnur.s.stories