If you are a serious drama buff then you couldn’t have missed Mariyam Nafees. One of the stars of hit serials like Ishq-E-Benaam and Diyar-E-Dil, Mariyam has quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with on the Pakistani TV scene. Eldest of four children Mariyam was an absolutely pampered kid who was spoiled to no end.
“My early childhood was spent in Lahore before we moved to Islamabad amidst loads of toys, books, stationery, travelling, you name it. I remember annoying Amma by constantly seeking permission for gardening or cycling after school and if not that then I loved spending time at my parents’ work place,” she reminisces and reveals more of a time she greatly cherishes, “My relationship with Amma and dad was and is very friendly. The kind of comfort level I share with them is similar to that of best friends. We can talk about anything and everything. During my childhood, my mother tried to be the strict one while my dad would take us out for ice-cream, midnight meals and drives at odd hours. The weekends were all about swimming, joy rides, [meeting with] relatives and cartoons.”
The young lady’s foray into showbiz was completely by accident. “My friend called me up one day for an urgent cameo role after which I was approached by the same production house for drama serial, Munkir. Once you enter the industry, you get the hang of it but I was never enamoured by showbiz.” After her cameo, Nadeem Siddiqui convinced her to act in plays. “He gave me my first break in Munkir; he convinced me that I could pull off Anju’s character,” she shares. Perplexed and doubtful about the proposition to act, Mariyam took her time to decide. “Nadeem simply asked me to trust him, to be myself and be absolutely natural. The experience turned out to be an enjoyable one as we had a blast on set. All four main characters hit it off instantly and there was this crazy energy and positivity, plus we all travelled together up north and that was a whole new level of fun in itself,” shares the animated girl.
We wonder if Mariyam’s parents showed some reservations about their eldest child opting for the fickle world of showbiz. “I’m a blessed child whose parents always support her in whatever decisions and career choices she makes. Especially my mother, I owe everything to her. She’s my biggest critique but is never discouraging, and to be honest, even today in our society people don’t let their daughters choose the field of their interest or let them experiment. My parents have been the complete opposite. They always gave me the liberty to explore myself and the world around me for which I can never thank them enough. They’ve supported me all the way,” she says proudly.
Talking about the projects she has been a part of so far, Mariyam shares, “My first on-air project was Diyar-e-Dil, after which I did Ishq-e-Benaam and Haya Kay Daman Main. Diyar-e-Dil is a project close to my heart and also my favourite to date.” These days, the petite lass is busy shooting for Kuch Na Kaho which is also on air. “Besides my acting projects, I’m organising Pakistan’s first Women International Film Festival this March in Islamabad,” says an excited Mariyam.
“The festival aims to include all things promoting women, be it filmmakers, entrepreneurs or even performing artistes and singers. It will allow participants to set up kiosks and stalls, along with an entertainment-loaded all-female musical concert on the closing night. The event aims to highlight the issues and ideas that are important to women today, focusing on three distinct themes: Gender Equity, Violence against Women and Women of Wonder. It will feature the screening of animated films, documentaries and public service announcements, as well,” she further adds.
Besides gearing up for the festival, Mariyam is “reading a couple of TV scripts and also preparing for a Canadian film”. She shares, “I’ve been approached by the team to play the main lead, so let’s see. I would love to do Pakistani films too, provided the script’s really good.” When asked to name her favourite co-star, she at once says, “I can’t name just one as I share a very good rapport with almost all of them, but I enjoy working with Obi (Osman Khalid Butt), Maya, Naveen, Emad, Hina and Nida. Some of them are very close friends, and all these people are full of life, very original and fun in its truest meaning.” This innocent and pretty girl only looks at the positives in life, hence, she considers all her cinematic experiences as memorable, pleasant memories. “There are a lot of pleasant memories from all the projects that there were of course a couple of untoward incidents too, but I’d much rather not get into that. The kind of negative energy that insecure people bring in with them completely ruins the mood.”
Mariyam hails from the crop of youngsters who love to experiment and try out different avenues. And so, even though she’s a focused person, she wants to try out everything. “I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at modelling. I enjoy acting and it keeps me busy but I might just give modelling a shot.” As for direction or production, the actress has no plans at the moment. “Not in the near future but at some point in time, yes. Although I’ve been a part of theatre production but I’m still getting the hang of the television and film industry.”
When asked if in her opinion marriage is an important aspect of one’s life or is a woman strong enough in her own right, Mariyam interjects, “I do think that a woman is strong enough in her own right but I also believe that marriage is an important aspect of one’s life, at least it’s of mine.” Her kind of man is someone who is “chivalrous, humorous, self-assured, driven and family-oriented”.
Love, for Mariyam, is an extremely important ingredient along with respect in a marriage. She would choose love over money anytime. “And just not in any particular relationship but in every relationship, whether it’s with your parents, siblings, friends, et al.” When asked to share with our readers plans of settling down, Mariyam laughingly questions, “Am I not settled? If the question is directed towards my marriage, then you’ll hear the news quite soon, In Sha’a Allah!” This led us to think that there might just be something brewing on the love front. Won’t we just love to see the girl hitched to her Mr. Right?
Mariyam always looks at the bright side of things and does not fret about those not in one’s control. “I would give myself brownie points for being an optimistic person. Pessimism never pays, if anything it gets you down and leaves you feeling miserable. I’m a very punctual person and a good listener. Also, I try to help people in any way I can.” However, the one flaw she finds in herself is the fact that she trusts people easily. When asked to share her health and beauty regimen with us, she mirthfully says, “I’m clearly not the right person to answer that. I get major food cravings, from prawns to paaye, I eat everything. But I prefer eating multiple times in small portions and I do yoga thrice-a-week.”
Here’s a girl who lives in a dream world, but at the same time is grounded. “I’m overly sensitive, tiniest things make me happy and tiniest things make me cry. I love fountains, glitter, Islamabad, butterflies, shoes, rain and food. That’s a lot of things you guys know now,” Mariyam signs off.
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