The rising star
Sumbul Iqbal opens up about the challenges in the TV industry
13 - 19 June, 2015
The rising star Sumbul Iqbal Sumbul Iqbal

The girl who candidly calls herself pretty got famous when she received rave reviews from critics and fans alike for her performance in drama serial Roag. She gracefully pulled off a taboo subject in the initial days of her career and is all set to make her name with sheer hard work. In a freewheeling chat with MAG, Sumbul Iqbal talks about her fortunate venture into the industry and the challenges she has faced so far. Excerpts:

Did you enter showbiz willingly or did you just stumble into it?
I stumbled into it and had no plans of making a career in showbiz. My mother owns a salon and some of the actresses and directors were her clients and they spotted me. I was in school and out of the blue someone offered me a television commercial which eventually landed me a role as a child star in a drama serial later. But I quit working as I was too young and was studying. However, later on I joined the industry willingly and have been working since four years.

What do you consider your biggest break?
I consider Roag as a breakthrough play for me. It not only created a lot of opportunities, but my work was also appreciated by the fraternity. The subject was child abuse and Faisal Qureshi played the lead opposite me. It wasn’t a clichéd role and a turning point in my career. Last year, Rukhsar was another hit play.

Was your family supportive?
Of course! Without their support I couldn’t have made such big decisions. My parents asked me to complete my education first and I obeyed. My mom often accompanies me on sets.

You have always played the innocent girl-next-door in your plays, why don’t you try playing antagonistic roles?
I have been offered negative roles, but I haven’t agreed to play them as women in our dramas are mostly portrayed as a central character to gain sympathy. I appear to be an innocent girl-next-door because of my features and so I have played the same kind of characters. Unfortunately, five or six of my drama serials were aired consecutively which made it look like I’m playing the same character over and over again. However, that isn’t the case, as after June, audiences will see me in a new avatar so just wait and watch!

Do you believe there is room of experimentation for female roles in dramas?
Pakistani dramas are women-centric while in movies, the stories usually revolve around a man. Yes, there is a margin for experimentation in dramas for directors and actors as their target audience are also women. So they can play around a variety of subjects.

What do you love most about this profession and what do you dislike the most?
I think it’s a dream chase that can never be fulfilled – everyday there is a new opportunity, new goals and new challenges. It’s bad only for those who enter the field for pleasure seeking and have no aims. Like any profession, it needs passion as you have to stay in a character for 12-13 hours a day… it’s not easy! You can be an actor by choice, not an actor by chance.

How do you select a script and do you prepare yourself to play a role?
I never agree to play a role after narration. I will read the script first and then decide how to go about it. I make sure that my work is performance-based and message-oriented rather than a drama full of glamourous shots and drawing room scenes.

An actor you have always dreamt of working with?
When I started working, famous names were Sadia Imam, Humayoun Saeed and a few others and luckily I’ve played lead roles with all of them.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I see myself in local films in the next few years. I have been offered a role and it will be officially announced very soon.

Please share the challenges you have faced in the industry?
Well… lots of challenges. Nobody in my family had stepped into the industry before. I have had my own struggles and have achieved fame through my hard work. I strongly believe that sources or right contacts can land you good projects once or twice but you won’t achieve anything without passion. One should remember that fortunately, the audience judge an actor’s performance irrespective of his/her background.

Any plans to settle down in life?
No plans as such… but I’ll marry, maybe in the next couple of years.

Any message to your fans?
Simple and straightforward living is the key to successful life. Live your dreams with a positive energy and believe in yourself.

Favourite movie? DDLJ, Queen
What makes you cry? I can’t bear when trusted people lie to me
What gives you pleasure? Shopping
What do you fear the most? Heights
Your personal style? It’s rough and tough! I’m usually found in trousers & tee’s
Is there anything you would like to change about yourself? Patience… I need it badly!
Any celebrity crush? Salman Khan
Favourite actor and actress? Jacqueline Fernandez and Arjun Rampal
Craziest fan encounter? I met these two girls in a shopping mall who were more than crazy! They didn’t believe that I’m in front of them. First they shook hands and shot a selfie, then hugged me which scared me!
Something you can’t live without? My cellphone
Your most annoying habit? I hardly trust people
If you were stranded on an island, who’d you like to take along? My sister
Any mentors in your career? I really admire Uzma Gillani and Nadeem Baig sahib
Ideal man for you? An ideal man doesn’t exist! Someone who is caring, loving and can make you happy!
A project you wish you were a part of? I would love to act in love stories, in fact play Kajol’s character from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Your sanctuary? My mom knows everything about me
Do you keep grudges? I forgive and forget
If you could be successful in any other profession what would it be? A banker

• Make-up: Sabs
• Designer: Naushaad Alam
• Photography: Wahaj Alley

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