- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
Ghana Ali - The Gutsy Girl
- 14 Oct - 20 Oct, 2017
- Cover Story
She is not a regular leading lady you see on your television screens who cries her eyes out to win your heart. Ghana Ali is intense and her acting is crisp. You have seen her playing the villain in dramas like Saya-e-Dewar Bhi Nahi and Besharam. She is so brilliant at what she does that you start hating her characters to the core – which is a great achievement for the actor. MAG sat down with the bad girl of TV to get to know her better and you would be amazed to know that she is nothing like her reel-life characters.
Ghana believes negative characters are a good way to prove an actor’s mettle. “I started off with negative, so I could establish myself as an actor and now that people recognise my craft, I am turning to positive roles,” she says. “When an actor plays the main lead and the ‘good girl,’ she is typecast as a routine actor who doesn’t do anything new. We look up to actors like Sania Saeed, Ayesha Khan, Gohar Rasheed, Nayyar Ajaz, Nauman Ejaz – why? Because they play all kinds of characters, especially, the negative ones,” she mentions.
With her serials like Sawera and Be Inteha, Ghana is now venturing into positive roles but thinks it has little scope for actors like her. “Positive characters in our industry are very boring; they lack margin for acting unless it’s a very strong script. Otherwise there is only crying and similar lines.” Because she mostly plays negative characters, a lot of people leave rude comments on her social media. “I don’t want people to judge me based on the characters that I play. Those are just roles. Don’t bash me for the things that I haven’t done,” she pleads.
The passionate actor is always looking for projects that help her refine her acting skills. “Besharam was my favourite drama because I learned a lot from that project. If I am not learning, I start disliking everything,” says the woman who doesn’t like doing ‘mediocre work.’ “I am very selfish when it comes to my work and craft.”
With two upcoming movies like Rangreza and Maan Jao Na and one still to be shot, Ghana’s schedule is pretty tied up. “It is really hectic. I am shooting in the morning and then at night. It’s all about managing the little time that you have,” says the dauntless diva. The actor, who is “happily married to her work,” declares, “ Mujhe acting se ishq hai. When you love your work unconditionally, you don’t get tired. I never get tired of doing what I am doing.”
Talking about how she prepares for her characters, Ghana reveals, “My life is all about observing people and catching expressions because that’s how I am able to play different people and characters.” The talented artiste’s aim is to make it to Hollywood. “What I am doing here is just like an internship project for me to get to Hollywood,” she confesses.
While she wishes to enter the Western film world, she doesn’t like to compromise on the way she dresses up. “I believe one can look beautiful even with full clothes on. You don’t have to be uncovered to look beautiful,” she further says her own style is minimal with “less make-up and more hairstyling.”
With no family history and links in the industry, how difficult was it to reach to the success that she enjoys now? “It was a tough journey but my faith and hard work got me through. If you are happy with what you have, you will get more in life. You need to have clear intentions and stay away from politics,” she retorts. What kind of politics? I further enquire. “There is a lot of politics around and about me but I just believe in Allah and He protects me from everything negative,” she puts the topic to rest.
Pointing out the good and the bad of Pakistani entertainment industry, Ghana mentions, “There is a lot of respect in our industry. A lot of good and educated people are now seeing acting as a full-time, serious career which is great. On the other hand, I think the lobbying should end and everyone should be more professional with their work.”
Her passion and determination towards acting goes back to the days when she was as young as 11 years old. “I would stand in front of the TV and act and dance. I always knew that this is the only thing that I really, really want to do in life,” she reminisces. “But I was scared because I knew my parents will never allow me to do this,” she opens up.
“When I was in A levels, some of my seniors were doing theatre privately, so I auditioned for them and that’s where it all started,” she says. Ghana enrolled in a law academy but used to skip classes and go to theatre instead. After two years in theatre and some convincing at home, she made her way to TV and into our hearts.
Talking about her childhood, the elegant lady shares, “Both my parents used to work, so from 11 to 15 years, I didn’t get a lot of time from them and my eldest sister, Aqsa became my favourite person. She is my star and I am her fan. I used to, and still look up to her and think how brilliant and perfect she is. She has always been good at everything she does. Everyone in the family was always praising her – she was just perfect,” says the doting sister.
I am a completely one-man woman and I would like to be with someone as honest and as loyal as me.
Drawing a comparison with her sister, Ghana says, “I was intelligent but I wasn’t hard working. My sister was like ‘A grade laogi tou bat karungi’. I always wanted her to talk to me and be around me. I wanted her to be proud of me and when I joined the industry, I knew that would never happen because she wanted me to study Law.” But things took an unexpected turn. “When I walked the ramp for the first time at Bridal Couture Week, I was very nervous but after the show my sister called me and said the words I had been waiting to hear for years. ‘I am proud of you’ is what I heard her say. It was such a big deal for me that I was in tears,” she laughs.
“My sister only started talking to me when she knew I was struggling and working hard in my career. After that she even used to send me money without letting my parents know. For me, she played a role of a mother – my dressing, my contracts, my management – she deals with everything,” Ghana can literally go on and on about her sister who is a financial analyst at Gucci in London.
Being the youngest child, Ghana was a naughty one. “My sister thinks I am the wild one and that’s the reason I am in this industry,” she says. While Ghana lives away from her parents who are in Lahore, she enjoys a ‘wonderful relationship’ with them. “I am really thankful to Allah for giving me such a wonderful family and an amazing set of parents. I am proud of the way I have been brought up. I have seen people who lose respect for their parents when they start earning but I still hold my parents in high regard,” she lets us in.
Who does she look up to in the industry? I ask. “Nauman Ejaz is my teacher, mentor and favourite actor,” she says without a second thought. “I have actually learned a lot from him. I haven’t only seen him on TV but he has guided me in real too. Mei ne dantein bhi khayi hain un se. He was the one who motivated me to lose weight. Nomi bhai is a very nice human being,” says the actor who also seeks inspiration from international stars like Priyanka Chopra and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Ghana went through a cosmetic surgery to shed some extra pounds and she doesn’t shy away from admitting the same. “There’s nothing to hide about this,” she says boldly. “I stopped eating roti and chawal. It was really difficult, but my doctor helped me a lot. My routine changed completely and I was on a strict diet and high intensity workout but it was all worth it,” she says about her weight loss journey.
What is love for her? I enquire. “For an actor, it’s important to go through the feeling of love.”
What does she seek in a life partner? I ask next. “I don’t think I would like to be with someone from the media. When I think about my future with my partner, I yearn for peace. I don’t want to go to parties; I just want peace in life with my partner. I am a completely one-man woman and I would like to be with someone as honest and as loyal as me. I want someone who is religious and respects my parents. I am not looking for money and power,” she reveals while adding, “I think I will leave it to my parents to find someone for me.”
The woman, who plays intense characters, is very sensitive in real life. “When I love someone, I love them unconditionally. Jeene marne wala scene hojata hai mera. When someone does bad to me, I can never trust them again,” she says.
Ghana is someone who doesn’t like change and wants to be happy all the time. She also happens to be a cleanliness freak. “I can’t stand people who are not neat and tidy. I can get really annoying when it comes to that,” she mentions.
Ghana has an unshakable belief in the powers of The Divine. “I always turn to Allah whenever I am sad or low. I am also really grateful to Allah for whatever He has given me in life and that’s the reason I am here today. A lot of actors spend years in this field but fail to achieve what I have achieved in this short period of time,” she says. More power to this lady who is living her dream, making her family proud and entertaining the audiences with her enormous aptitude.
Hair & Make-up: N-Pro
Designer: Attire by Bushra Wahid
Coordination: Umer Mushtaq
Photography: Zeeshan Ahmed by Yellow Jacket
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