In a recent interview with BBC Urdu, Pakistani actor Salma Hasan opened up about her career, divorce, and upcoming projects. Hasan began her career in 1998 with the PTV series Dhoop Mein Saawan but she gained immense popularity with the Indusvision sitcom Subset Hai. At the height of her career, she decided to marry actor-director Azfar Ali and started focusing more on her personal life instead of work.
The actor, who plays Maheer’s mother in Mujhe Pyaar Hua Tha, resumed work a few years after her divorce from Ali in 2012. Talking about her role, she highlighted the importance of not adhering to absolutes when it came to her character. “Developing this character was difficult – the rest are easy,” stated Hasan.
Continuing further, she said, “For most characters, I am a mother, so it’s easy. You pick up on personality facets from your life, or from your relatives. But this character was unbelievable for me, because how can one person be so extreme? But if you’re playing a character, you must believe in it. I would keep justifying her actions to myself that such people exist.” She spoke about justifying her character’s lack of and thirst for money. “She’s not concerned with relationships, because in that house, there were none. In her mind, money and comfort are more important.”
Hasan also shared how the set was more of a food street than anything else. “It was a running joke. We segregated the men and women, but Wahaj [Ali] was always in our room because there was food there. The funniest thing that happened a few times was that Shaheen [Khan] and I ended up wearing the same clothes on set. The clothes were often the butt of our jokes.”
The star also spoke about working with the younger lot in the entertainment industry, praising their energy. “You pick up on their energy – they’re sharing it with you,” she stated. “There’s constant music playing, everyone’s in their own world, their own bubble.”
Speaking about Yumna Zaidi, Hasan shared how while the young star is quite caring, she’s also dedicated to her craft. “She takes her work and characters too seriously. She’ll be on set but her mind is always working. You won’t even realise it, and then she’ll say, ‘Should I try this?’ So you kind of realise that she’s still thinking. And then she’ll discuss it. ‘Should I come hug you at this point?’ And her ideas are good. This means that she gives a 100% to her character.”
Moreover, Hasan also praised Hania Aamir. “I’ve not seen a nicer heart than Hania’s. She’s mischievous so you don’t realise it, but she has a heart of gold. She never lets anyone know how much she does for them, but after spending so much time with her, I realised that she looks out for everyone. The one thing I liked a lot about her is that even if there’s a junior or extra on set, she’ll extend the same respect to them as she does to us.” The actor also praised her Fairytale colleague, Sehar Khan calling her a ‘live wire.’ “She’s always so excited about everything. She loves building upon her character, and everyone can see it.”
Hasan also shed light on the shades of grey necessary for characters. “I didn’t want to play my character totally negative. I found it difficult. In some places, you’re not thinking about it, you’re performing and enjoying it. With negative characters, you have a lot of margin to find the nuances.”
The actor also shared how, after her divorce, one of her admirers met her in Karachi’s Dolmen Mall, when her daughter Fatima was quite young. “She was quite tall, and I still remember that she was wearing a white abaya. She greeted me and hugged me. That hug was so personal. She kept hugging me and started crying. And she told me that she profusely prays for me and my happiness. That is something I will remember for life because a complete stranger comes out of nowhere to love you, hug you and cry. And I was comforting her, assuring her that I was okay.”
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