Pakistani dramas are currently on a high with Mere Paas Tum Ho making the audience believe that a woman can be unfaithful, Ehd-e-Wafa promoting the Army and Ishq Zahe Naseeb revolving around a character suffering from multiple personality disorder. However, there is another drama Ruswai currently on-air that revolves around the heinous act of rape and is only made possible because of the powerful performance of the lead actress Sana Javed.
Not only does she have to compete against other actresses to stay on top, but her biggest competition is also her own self in Darr Khuda Se where she plays a female employee whose boss harasses women to kill time. Edition PK got hold of Sana Javed regarding her current projects and asked her everything you want to know about her strong characters.
In the initial episodes of Ruswai, we got to see you in many shades – a daughter, sister, doctor, and wife. However, the last episode changed the dynamics and your character will have to fight for her right. How did you manage to change gears so quickly?
Playing Sameera in Ruswai is nothing short of a challenge for me. It is not just based on a true incident where a girl was kidnapped and then raped but it shows how people change in our society. I just thought of the trauma my character was facing after the incident and that helped me a great deal in getting myself prepared for the performance. Yes, it was a difficult role and that’s the beauty of it. I loved the challenge of playing a girl who has everything, to one who has lost it all.
Usually, when one plays such characters on screen, it affects their personal life too. Was that the case with you too?
I didn’t just play Sameera in the play, I lived the character 24 X 7. It affected me a lot as I was unable to sleep for nights and stayed depressed for a few days – especially before and after the shooting of the abduction sequence. The depression comes with the job especially when the person you are in front of the camera is shattered in reel life. However, the praise that I have been receiving from all quarters makes me stronger and gives me the confidence to take over the world.
Your earlier play Romeo Weds Heer was a comedy but Ruswai is a tragedy; were you confident that the audience would be able to accept you in the role of a rape victim?
It is every actor’s job to look different in every project and that’s what motivated me in Ruswai. Had people not accepted me in the role of a girl who was kidnapped and abused, the drama wouldn’t have done well and that was a huge responsibility. The scene where I was abducted featured me and my onscreen father (played by Mohammad Ahmed), and the expressions we both gave were what came to us naturally. My return after the incident and blaming my father, was something that could have gone either way but the audience saw our hard work and appreciated it through their love and positive comments.
Your chemistry with Mikaal Zulfiqar has been the highlight of the drama so far. How did you two manage that perfect relationship?
This might be the second time I am working with Mikaal but he is a thorough gentleman who understands the dynamics of acting. He has worked with the best in the business and that’s why sharing the screen with him was fun. The characters we are playing were in love before the marriage and that’s why we developed a rapport onscreen that looks real and not fake.
Your drama Darr Khuda Se is also on air at the same time as Ruswai; doesn’t that disappoint you as an actor?
Well it is disappointing but then, I am competing with myself too – main hoon aur mere saath bhi main hoon! Both the characters are different as one is subject to workplace harassment and the other is sexually assaulted. Since I like to take on characters that are strong-headed and want to change the world, they both appealed to me and I accepted them both. Yes, it would have been better had both the dramas been aired on different days but since I am just the actor, I can’t have much say.
Your fans were disappointed when you didn’t get an award for Khaani. You haven’t said much about the snub but we would like to know how you felt?
My character in Khaani will always stay iconic for me and my fans. Whether it won an award or not, that is a thing of the past, and it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the way people approach me now after watching Ruswai and praise my performance be it on social media, face to face or through messages, that’s better than any award in the world. Strangers who I don’t even know have told me that my performance moved them to tears and that they want my character to be strong on-screen not only for myself but for all the girls out there who are victims of such acts.