KARACHI: The actor, who was most known for her animated and bubbly on-screen persona as a morning show host, is starring in another TV drama called Kaisi Aurat Ho Tum.
Nadia plays the protagonist in this Fahim Burney drama. The story is about Maham, a working woman who financially supports her husband Moiz (played by Faisal Rehman). Moiz is emotionally abusive and exploits her love for personal gains. Her character isn’t going to be anything like the Nadia we’re used to seeing, the actor tells Images.
“I am making a return to TV after a break of over 17 years. I’ve matured a lot during this time. You’re not going to see the same old morning show wali Nadia,” the actress, whose morning show on GEO TV used to be one of the highest-grossing entertainers. Explaining the complexity of her character, Nadia says, “Maham loves her husband so much that she is unable to see how conniving he is and how he is exploiting her,” she says.
The serial doesn’t feature physical abuse per se, the actress says. “It is more focused on how the husband manipulates the woman emotionally, making her do bizarre things,” Nadia elaborates, saying that she lacked the maturity to relate to such characters 17 years ago. “Fahim Burney has directed the play himself; usually he has a team of directors working for him. This was a play I just could not turn down,” she adds. Additionally, she wanted to do something different so the image Nadia has in people’s minds is reshaped, and she gets a chance to be taken seriously. “It’s called image-breaking. When you’re making a comeback, it is important to do something that you haven’t done before, it adds value to your work,” Nadia said.
Looking back, Nadia says now is a great time for dramas in Pakistan. “Throughout the 1990s going into 2005, we were stuck with Star Plus and most Pakistani dramas were trying to replicate their content,” Nadia says. Nowadays, dramas have good stories, good scripts, good direction and are technically sound, she adds. About films, Nadia outright says she will not do a film “just for the heck of it. Doing films right now is risky. It is still very premature. I don’t think people in Pakistan know how to make films. Good films are made with knowledge, not money,” the actor says commenting; “Pakistani films get flopped and a lot of people end up making a fool out of themselves.” Nadia says she’ll sign a film when she finds a good project whose performance at the box office won’t harm her acting profile.
About morning shows, Nadia said she appreciates what hosts are trying to do within their capacity but overall, in her opinion, they lack content.
“They have to force the audience to laugh. That’s just ridiculous. We can provide women a worldview in those two hours, two crucial hours, but we’ve cut them off from the modern world. We’re taking women backwards. Pakistani culture hasn’t changed much either … people need to change and progress with time,” says the actor, who travels to and fro between UAE and Pakistani for personal reasons”, she says. “Instead, I think nowadays there are more restriction than there were during my childhood,” Nadia says. “The culture has grown more suffocating.” But the actor feels hopeful about the upcoming generation, saying there are people who are trying to do things that are against cultural norms. Speaking of the next Pakistani generation, Nadia has been focusing on her official YouTube channel called OutStyle, where she blogs about fashion, beauty, health and fitness. The channel has around 70,000 subscribers, and is growing by leaps and bounds, Nadia says.
And though business ventures on YouTube are not very common in Pakistan, Nadia feels hopeful. “YouTube is massive everywhere in the world. In the next four or five years, I think we’ll see it grow in Pakistan too.”