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Faiza Hasan

"I became a model and an actor to become rich and famous. Commercials are quite lucrative, while TV plays can make me a household name," says the new girl smiling at us from press ads, billboards and TV screens, while confessing the truth behind her decision to join the cliched 'big bad world of showbiz'.

Faiza Hasan belongs to the new breed of models and actors who are young, good-looking and educated. But ask her if she finds satisfaction in her chosen field of work, and she replies in the negative. "I wish I was doing this 10 to 15 years ago. Most of the play scripts today are quite soulless."

Ask her about her favourite actors and she names five women, three of whom are deceased - Shabnam and Rani from Lollywood and Nargis from across the Wagah. Her small-screen inspirations are Khalida Riyasat and Sakina Samoon.

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Talking of Sakina Samoon, Faiza says she was involved in two projects with the actor-producer-director. She was the leading actress in a 17-episode serial, Wujood-i-Laraib and recently appeared in the play Darbar-i-Dil. She is quite candid about these experiences:

"While director Shahid Iqbal Pasha groomed me and brought out the best in me, I am most impressed by Sakina's professionalism. She is very sure about what she wants.

I think women directors are more particular about details such as the right make-up, props, etc, and are perhaps more clearheaded. Unlike my first two involvements which were both bad projects, working with Sakina was a wonderful experience."

She continues, "I had worked in Fahim Burney's serial Tootay Khwaab and Iqbal Latif's sitcom, Mehrbaan House, but both serials turned out to be pathetic. Then I got to work with Shahid Iqbal Pasha in the 27-episode serial Sahil Ki Tamanna, based on a story by famous novelist/ short-story writer, Waheeda Nasim."

Faiza has also worked in other serials such as Mahpara and director Haider Imam Rizvi's Mahe Neem Shab. "I'm excited about Mahe Neem Shab as I play an Afghan refugee."

Faiza is doing her Masters in English Literature from the University of Karachi. She intends to get a second degree in Urdu Literature. In lieu of her interest in the subject, the discussion shifts towards her favourite writers.

Amongst others, George Orwell, the Bengal-born English novelist, essayist and critic famous for his political satires such as Animal Farm and 1984 is her favourite. In fact, the latter book is among her choicest as she finds Orwell's depiction of post-World War II Oceania profound and prophetic.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot is her favourite poem, while in Urdu fiction she finds Manto and Ismet Chughtai's writings to be as relevant today as they were some 50 years ago.

"As an actor I feel that studying Urdu literature is important. In fact, a sound overall liberal arts education is necessary for any kind of association with the performing arts," she says, adding,

"I might go for a parallel career as a lecturer or start writing myself." She feels strongly about issues such as incest, abuse and adultery. She feels that although people talk about these matters, there isn't much being written on these "hardcore subjects."

It was four years ago when a former Intermediate classmate who took up photography clicked her portraits as he was preparing his portfolio.

One thing led to another and her photographs found their way to an ad agency and she got an offer for her first press ad. Followed by more ads and TV commercials she ultimately made it to TV plays. She has appeared in about two-dozen press ads and television commercials, and at least half-a-dozen serials and plays.

"I would like to work with Mehreen Jabbar," she enthuses, "but TV serials and plays are not the ultimate. As much as I enjoyed seeing myself on huge billboards, I want to work in a Pakistani movie and see myself on the big screen. Just for kicks."

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