When it comes to art, we always find a way: Pakistani actor Sanam Saeed on Indo-Pak cultural ties 

Saeed is currently busy promoting her digital debut show 'Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam', which will premiere on the re-launched Zindagi channel and on the Indian streamer ZEE5 on December 10.

Published: 01st December 2021 05:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st December 2021 07:58 PM   |  A+A-

Sanam Saeed.

Sanam Saeed. (Photo | Facebook)


MUMBAI: Popular Pakistani actor Sanam Saeed, best known to audiences for her portrayal of Kashaf Murtaza in "Zindagi Gulzar Hai", says it is unfortunate when things come in the way of "bridging the gap" but art and artists always find a way.

Saeed is currently busy promoting her digital debut show 'Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam', which will premiere on the re-launched Zindagi channel and on the Indian streamer ZEE5 on December 10.

The London-born actor, who enjoys huge popularity in India courtesy of her role of Kashaf Murtuza from 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai', believes art is above all kinds of barriers.

"When it comes to art, we kind of shed ourselves of all politics, of all kind of barriers and obstacles, good work is good work.

When artists collaborate, they just want to work with good writers, actors, directors.

"It's unfortunate when things come in the way of bridging the gap. But there's always hope and we always look forward. There always was a glorious past and there will be a glorious future and we will always find a way somehow or the other," Saeed told PTI in a zoom interview from London.

The 36-year-old actor, who made her debut in 2010 with TV show "Daam" and three years later attained huge success with the 2013 romantic TV series 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai' opposite Fawad Khan, says she is a huge fan of Indian actor Radhika Apte and loved Taapsee Pannu's performance in "Haseen Dilruba".

Though her early cinema influence was through Hollywood movies and stars like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, she was introduced to Hindi films with the 1991 Anil Kapoor and Sridevi-starrer 'Lamhe'.

She is also a huge fan of Aamir Khan.

"I'd message Taapsee (Pannu) after I saw her in 'Haseen Dilruba', she was really really good. I also liked 'Andhadhun', Radhika is someone who I really enjoy watching, and Ayushman is good too. Radhika does off-beat stuff and that's what I prefer to watch," Saeed said.

Saeed, whose other shows include 'Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu', 'Firaaq', 'Diyar-e-Dil' and 'Deedan' and films like 'Bachaana', 'Mah-e-Mir' and 'Cake', said she was attracted to 'Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam' as it was a female-driven series with a female director.

The anthology drama is set in the timeless lanes of 'Androon Sheher' - a mythical neighbourhood and showcases stories of love, lust, power, and redemption woven in a web of betrayal, angst, and revenge.

Helmed by British-Indian director Meenu Gaur, the show also stars Sarwat Gilani, Mehar Bano, Ahsan Khan, Osman Khalid Butt, Sheheryar Munawar, Saleem Mairaj, Samiya Mumtaz, Faiza Gillani, Beo Raana Zafar and Eman Suleman.

'Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam' will present a fresh take to murder mystery stories, which have been usually dominated by men.

"Psycho killers (stories) have often been about men. A woman is always the nurturer, homemaker, all those stereotypes are attached to her. So, to see her take control and be vengeful, vindictive, violent and dangerous is not something we see all the time. This is another shade when they get angry or are triggered to do things."

 Drawing comparisons between the portrayal of women in Pakistani TV and on OTT, the actor said the former medium often revolves around the suffering of women, while the narratives on the streaming services show the fighting spirit of women.

"We've been telling women stories for a long, long time. Our dramas on TV are all female-driven whether those women are 'bechari' or victimised, they are still the hero of the show. We got to break some of the red tape, some of the issues that could be censored and OTT gave the freedom to experiment."

In "Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam", the actor plays the role of Zubi, a social climber.

She describes her character as a shallow, materialistic woman who is also strong and independent.

For her role in the show, Saeed watched Hollywood films for reference and worked on voice modulation and look.

"It is a new genre for me so, I went back to old Hollywood femme fatale (stories) and thought how to make it 'desi' or weave it in our culture. So, revisited the works of Sharon Stone or Glenn Close as they play these kinds of characters."

Asked about the global popularity of her character Kashaf Murtaza in 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai', Saeed said many young girls and older women found the role to be relatable.

"Kashaf doesn't care who's good-looking, or not, doesn't care about materialistic things, is focused, has basic insecurities that every girl has in their life. There are girls who have a single mother and don't have their father's attention but want to progress and change things, don't want the same problem. So Kashaf's character spoke to all these young girls and she became a role model. The fact is she was so relatable to every single woman."

The actor said many mothers would often thank her for a role as it encouraged them to push their daughters to pursue a career rather than getting them married.

Saeed said she still receives a lot of love for the character and the credit for Kashaf goes to writer Umera Ahmed.

Asked if any of her characters are close to her in real self, Saeed said she is an introvert in real life.

"I don't complain too much, don't take control of things, don't have a temper. In real life, I'm not as intimidating as my characters, I'm a pretty open book. Easy to read, easy to get along with," said Saeed.


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