Naveen Waqar – A Talented Diva
She started off as a RJ on a local FM channel, where her lively interaction with her listeners soon became her identity. Later, she moved on to television and her show Pick & Choose With Fuse got the highest ratings on Aag TV. But sky is the limit for Naveen Waqar, and so she decided to opt for acting as a career. She made a brilliant debut with a negative character in Humsafar. People's antipathy towards her character, Sarah, proves that she has done justice to the role. Now she has signed an international project and will soon be entertaining us on the big screen. Recently Mag4you.com had a candid chat with her where she talked about her showbiz journey so far. Excerpts:
Tell us about how your career in showbiz began?
It was pretty accidental! A friend of mine used to do a show on radio. Once he offered me to co-host it with him. I was not a radio lover. But when I did the show, I found it very interesting. I did not know what gift of the gab actually meant and it was fun to know that I could create magic with my voice and impress people. I started with one show a week, now I do a three-hour show daily.
How did you get into VJ-ing?
The CEO of Aag TV used to listen to my radio show. He liked it and offered me to do a similar show for the channel. At that time, I had never realised that it was such a big step in my life.
How did you feel when you faced the camera for the first time?
I was very scared and was shivering badly. My producer was very nice, he told me to remain calm and talk to the camera as if I was chatting with my friends. I still remember that I was shivering for the first 15 to 20 minutes, but once I realised that I should not be afraid of camera, it became a lot easier.
How different have you found VJ-ing from RJ-ing?
RJ-ing is a very intimate sort of thing. My radio shows are very entertaining, I share my personal experiences over there. I am always very comfortable doing my radio show, it is just like my second soul. On television your face counts a lot. If you are looking good on-screen, it does not matter what you are saying.
How did Humsafar happen?
When I joined television I got a lot of offers for dramas. I am a very patient person. As far as my career is concerned, I don't take any initiatives in a hassle. I took a break after working continuously for AAG for four years. One day Momina phoned me and insisted to at least read the script. She had also offered me a role two years back which I had turned down. When I read the script, I said no because I didn't want to make a debut with a negative character. But she convinced me that it would be a life changing experience for me.
So, was it a tough decision to go for a negative character in the beginning of your career?
Yes, it was a very tough decision. Other than my reservations, my family had serious issues with it. My parents always have a lot of say in what kind of role I am playing. I convinced them I would get a chance to portray different emotions on-screen. I found it challenging because it was completely up to me how I developed the character. Also I wanted to do something that made me noticeable. There were big names associated with the serial and as a newcomer, other than my role, the entire package counted.
What do you like the most about Sarah's character?
I like her confidence and innocence. She has achieved a certain status with her sheer hard work and without anyone's support. I also feel bad for her as despite having love for all she would not get the man of her dreams.
How was your experience working with Mahira?
She is a very sweet girl and I know her since my VJ-ing days. We did not have many scenes together and even in those selected on-screen moments, most of the time we were arguing badly. But off-screen it was fun and I had a great time with her.
Did you enjoy working with Fawad?
He is a very reserve kind of a person and speaks less. I met him for the first time on the sets of Humsafar. I had very intense scenes with him but he never made me feel uncomfortable. He is an extremely professional person, a true gentleman and a very humble guy.
As Humsafar is based on a novel, did you read the novel before accepting the offer?
No, I have not read the novel yet. Initially I didn't read it intentionally because my character was very limited in the novel and it was a little different than what I had played on-screen. After reading the script, I had developed Sarah's character in a certain way in my mind. I avoided reading it because I did not want to be double-minded. I decided to read it after the shooting, but till today I have not found time for it, though I would love to read it someday.
Does Naveen have any similarities with Sarah?
Overall I am quite different from Sarah. She is extremely confident and confidence is also my personality obvious trait. She watches out herself without anyone's support. I also know that I have to be careful with certain things in life. In an initial scene, she hugged her mother in a special way; I often do so with my mother.
Tell us about your future projects?
You will be seeing me a lot in 2012. I have taken a comedy project. In future, I want to do diverse roles from funny, sad, serious to drama. I am never afraid of doing a challenging role.
Do you have any plans to take singing as a career?
No, singing is something I do just for myself, friends and family. I worked on an album with my brother; even a music production house was ready to release it. But I did not allow the release.
Rumours are that you have signed a big Bollywood project. Is that true?
No, I have not signed any Bollywood project. Actually I have signed a project for an international banner. It is a feature film and would be in the cinemas by late summer.
What do you like to do in your leisure time?
I love to stay at home and watch television. I am not a social person at all. All my friends complain that I don't hang out with them frequently. I even spend my weekends at home. I occasionally go out with my two best friends for a coffee.
What is more important to you: fame, money or your self-satisfaction?
Self-satisfaction is of course important, but what I want in life is respect; it is the most important thing for me. I have no greed for money similarly I have never intentionally made an effort to be famous. Fame just came to me by luck.
Describe yourself in three words.
Well, there are lots of words for me (laughs). I am very kind at heart. I am very loyal and a little bit moody too.
What is one thing that people do not know about you?
I am not talkative and I can't be friendly with someone I meet for the first time. Some people think that I am arrogant, anxious and have an attitude problem but actually I am shy.
Recently a lot of VJs are taking acting as their careers. How do you see this trend?
I see this as a good thing; it is a progression. The lifespan of a VJ is very short. One can't do a show for more than 4-5 years. When I accepted a drama offer, my aim was to make my presence felt as an actress. Acting is a great profession to be in but at the same time it is also important for one to take the job seriously.
You have lost a lot of weight. Any specific reasons behind it?
I don't have any pressure from anyone to lose weight. I always wanted to move towards healthy eating. I was having a lot of junk food and my diet was very bad. I figured out that if I wanted to look good I had to work for it. I had also gotten ill for three months. While I was recovering I started taking more care of myself and started yoga for the mental peace.