Maira Khan - A Powerhouse Of Talent

Her intriguing on-screen presence can make you get hooked to the screen. Maira Khan is an actor who has conquered the acting world with her distinctive style of acting. The perfect portrayal of any character can just make you completely love or hate her, which is actually how an actor should be; completely molded into the character they choose to play. She is not just anyone who gets mesmerised by the glitzy world of entertainment and in an instant want to become an actor, but she is

considered to be an adept in her craft whose theatrical brilliance speaks volumes of how versatile of an artist she is. The limelight chased her like anything when, from the beginning of her career she played such divergent characters which were considered really bold to have played by any actress at that time. Through thick and thin, she has emerged as a sculpted artist over the years with incomprehensible depth and expertise in what she is best known for, ‘acting’. In an exclusive conversation with MAG, Khan talks about pouring her heart and soul into her work, her absence from the industry and much more. Read on…

Introduce us to Maira Khan? Tell us something that the audience doesn’t know.

I’ve broken my nose three times as I enjoy kick boxing.

How did you know you wanted to pursue this profession of acting?

My mother was an actress at PTV, I used to go with her and see everybody acting. And this is how I got my first break when I was four years old. I already knew that I was just made for this.

You’ve known to play bold and distinctive characters, walk us through the process of choosing a script?

Well, if I am known for this then, it is crazy because I remember this was late in 2000 with TVOne and I used to get very interesting scripts by Fasih Bari khan. Mazhar Moin and then, Shamoon Abbasi used to do them with Hisham Syed on board too. And yes, I used to get bold scripts and very good characters. We don’t see many telefilms now, but I’ve done a couple of them. That’s how I started and people used to cast me for these difficult characters because they thought that I could pull them off. It is a plus point for me and I’m blessed to be diverse enough to play any character that my producer or director offer. But then again it actually depends on the script; I just know that this script is for me.

You took some time off in the recent past? Can you tell us what kept you off the screen?

I started acting when I was four years old. There comes a time when you get bored even with something that you actually love. I’ve been doing it all my life and then I had my personal issues as well. So, I went to New York and decided to study about films and direction. I couldn’t complete my course due to a few mishaps. So yeah, I was there all this while, getting on with life and getting all pumped up to come back and act again. I took a break and for me it’s a fresh start again.

Cheekh happened to be your comeback project how was your experience of working with Saba Qamar?

Yes, it was my comeback project. When the channel offered me Cheekh I was really happy, because not only Saba Qamar, she’s a brilliant actress but the whole ensemble cast was such a brilliant combination of characters and we used to have a ball on set. This was my first time working with the production house and I’m really lucky to be a part of it.

Be it hosting, modelling or acting, you’ve done it all. Which is your favourite medium among these?

Well, as an entertainer, be it acting or hosting or whatever it is, I give my heart and soul to it. I just love my profession. There is no favourite amongst them but it just all happens naturally. For me, it’s all about entertaining people and I love everything that I do.

You have a long list if dramas to your credit and you’re doing films too. Acting in dramas or in films, pick one and why?

Okay so, there is also a third medium out now which is the digital medium. Drama has a different essence to it, films are awesome. And then, web medium was something that an actor like me was wishing for. The subjects you can’t work on in dramas, you can do that in films but then the length is not that long. So, every medium is different you feel different when you go on a drama set, a film is happening and web is totally different. But films are what make the actor; it actually quenches the thirst of an actor. I really can’t categorise because whatever it is, it needs to be a good script.

With immensely growing social media platforms, how do you deal with online trolling as a celebrity?

Imagine deleting all the comments first thing in the morning and thinking my account would have definitely blown up, I’ve gone through that. My Instagram account was private till one and a half years ago. Trolling is there, it will always be there. And we have to live with it. It really hurt sometimes, it also causes depression and anxiety, and people shouldn’t do it. But then again people have every right to write anything. I now try to take the positive out of it and am trying to deal with it bravely.

You are about to launch your own clothing line as well, tell us about this sudden change of interest?

I’m still in the process of doing it. And why not do something your heart speaks out to as well. I used to be in my wardrobe always, changing clothes, doing different things and combining colours together. I always had this person inside me that wanted to design. So yeah, I’m very soon coming with my western collection and it’s going to be super fun.

Which is the most challenging character that you’ve played till date?

Every character is a challenge for an actor. Even if it’s a simple next-door-girl character you have to give your 100 per cent to it. You have to put your heart and soul in it. Every character for me has always been challenging. My director Aabis Raza, knows this and says Maira is always nervous on set on her first day of shoot. It’s like building up the character and getting into it. So, I’m always nervous on the first day. I love every character that I play; it is a challenge in itself.

Tell us about your upcoming action-packed film Japanese Connection?

When Japanese Connection came to me, it was a bit challenging. As far as the action in it and the location is concerned. I said yes to it. And people, who know me, really know well that I don’t miss a chance when it comes to travelling. It was the third time that I was getting a chance to travel to the country, for a feature film and cherry on the top was that I could take my mother along. I promised her to take her to Japan. I’ll be really honest; the biggest reason for me to sign the film was getting to take my mother with me.

What made you choose to act in your recent drama Jalan?

Humaira is probably the only positive character in the drama. When I got the script, my mother said that you should do this because she’s so positive. I did the character because she was a positive character in the drama and a kind of character which shows that positivity is a good thing and people should hand on to it.

Lastly, what is that one advice you would want to give to all the aspiring actors?

Be excited and be honest to what you do. Be on your toes every day. The feeling of getting where you really want to be, and just don’t kill that buzz inside you. The vibe should stay alive for an artist, always.

• Coordination: Umer Mushtaq
• Hair & Makeup: Huma Tahir
• Designer: Rozina Munib
• Photography & Styling: Ali Abbas