“We have only one life and I want to learn as much as I can" - SHAZIA NAZ

  • 04 Jan - 10 Jan, 2020
  • Eman Saleem
  • Interview

With humble hazel eyes gazing back at me, I sit across from Shazia Naz for a candid chat on life as an actor. Eloquent and so effortlessly put together, Naz has an emphasised outlook on her social responsibility and awareness of using her craft beyond bagging titles. Making for an excellent conversationalist over coffee, Shazia Naz talks about a video she recently did with Mahira Khan on second marriages. Read on…

Who is Shazia Naz behind the cameras?

She is very warm and a solution seeker. And what she really needs to do is get everybody to work together as a team, focused on positivity and having fun with it.

How did modeling pan out for you?

I used to take classical dance classes and I was spotted by one of the designers and they offered me to model for their new collection for a tabloid. I did that and my dance training really helped with the postures and I figured “I can do this.” I was always somebody who was very keen on learning new things. We have only one life and I want to learn as much as I can.

Ever imagined it would work out this way?

It’s a constant evolving process, it’s never “the end.” Even if you are a big hit, it’s always going to take more to sustain and do better. I’ve never been too hard on myself with calculating how much I have achieved, I am pretty content with what I have achieved.

Film, drama or modeling – if you had to pick one as a permanent career choice?

It’s so difficult to choose, don’t make me.

At gunpoint?

[laughs] Big screen.

One thing you love about our drama industry and one thing you hate?

I love that it’s constantly evolving and growing. It’s creating our identity on the international platform; we get fan mails from everywhere now. I wouldn’t use the word ‘hate’ because it’s a very strong word but what I don’t like is that we are still not experimenting enough with stories. We’re still scared to highlight stories that deserved to be told. They’re too conscious about how well it’ll do rather than bring it into people’s homes saying this is also a side that exists. We need to go beyond the love triangles, it’s been done over to death.

What roles do you wish to perform in the future or a story you wish you could tell?

For drama, I would love to act in a women-oriented show, struggles that women are facing in the current times, professionally and more. At the same time, I would also like to play a character where I can highlight social issues and taboos. Some issues closest to my heart are the dowry culture and feminine hygiene issues. I would also like to do a story about relationships but not love story centric, something about families.

A practice of the industry you think it’s time was gone?

I think more focus on quality than quantity in every branch of the industry. The content is least worked on, substance is least appreciated and that practice needs to be discouraged.

Do you think as an actor you have an impact on this practice?

I have turned down stories saying “I have done this before.” I really appreciate if someone brings me something that says “okay you know what, this moves me.”

What does the future look like for you in showbiz?

I don’t believe in predicting the future. I believe that the steps that you take today, they all combine and collectively take you to somewhere that you can’t even predict. But where I would like to go is more towards the movies. For any actor, that’s the ultimate dream; to perform on the big screen.

In the present time with all the socials and increased fan interaction, celebrities have come to lead an increasingly public life. Does it ever get overwhelming?

It does. But you face a new set of problems everyday and with time, you are more prepared to deal with daily struggles. The first day you always react more and eventually, you become immune to things which have a pattern. Sometimes, it becomes a little uncomfortable but you don’t want to give that vibe. That’s mean behaviour and I would rather not do that. Nobody has the right to discourage someone’s feelings so you try to cope with it and take it out later somewhere else. Social media has made it even more public, it’s good in a way but it has its own pressures.

Tell me about the video you did with Mahira Khan. What’s your opinion on the bias society holds against women in second marriages compared to men?

There’s no comparison between the two genders but when it comes to women, accepting change is much harder for society. Through the video the message that we wanted to communicate was it’s okay for a woman to celebrate if she has a second chance at companionship. It’s okay not to raise your eyebrows and gossip that “Aye haye, is ka tou bacha hai. Kya zaroorat hai celebrate karne ki? Aram se karlo ghar pay!” Yes, society makes you feel like it’s not okay for a woman, but is tolerant of a man celebrating his second, third and fourth. It’s a little harsh when it comes to accepting a woman’s happiness and there’s a lot more pressure to be a perfect image of everything. People need to think that if it didn’t go right the first time, so should we not try again?