It rarely happens that one leaves an unforgettable impression in the very first meeting; the talented artiste, Sajal Ali, is truly among the rare breed of people whom you just can't get enough of after the first conversation. She made a debut on small screen with 'Mahmoodabad Ki Malkaiyen', but got prominence with the character of Suahai in 'Mastana Mahi'. For some, her character was an overdose of goodness, and the rest pictured her as an ideal girl. With her innocent appearance and splendid acting skills, she has managed to gain a large fan-following. Her naïve face has a charismatic appeal, and her twinkling almond eyes could make thousands crazy. She hates to brag, believes in simplicity, loves to sing and hopes to release her solo album one day. MAG recently had a candid chat with her to know about her showbiz journey so far. Excerpts:
Tell us something about yourself. What got you started and what was your big breakthrough?
I belong to Lahore, and have recently shifted to Karachi. My mother used to be an RJ at a local radio station in Karachi. She also worked in television serials occasionally. Through her contacts, I came to know about the auditions for the play 'Mahmoodabad Ki Malkaiyen'. Some new faces were sought, and the only requisite was a pretty smile. In the audition, no script was given, and I got selected for my smile.
Did you always want to become an actress?
I always had an inclination towards acting. I used to stand in front of the mirror and repeat famous dialogues from renowned movies and plays. Also, I was the best debater and naat khawan at college level, so yes, I always had the confidence to become an actress.
Who inspired you the most from our showbiz industry?
I grew up watching Moin Akhtar's play 'Rozi'. I still remember all of his dialogues. When I heard about his death, I literally cried. I never got a chance to meet him. I would really like to become a great actor like him, who still lives in the hearts of people.
Did you face any opposition from your family about your decision to act?
Of course, my family had their concerns, but they did not oppose my decision and eventually I made my family proud.
So, are you very choosy about your work?
Yes, I am! I don't sign scripts randomly. I thoroughly study a script and then make decision. I also schedule meetings with directors to properly understand the offered character.
You got a lot of praise for your character in 'Mastana Mahi'. How did you get that project?
Momina called me for auditioning for the character of Suahai. I was very excited about it. Another girl was already shortlisted, but when I gave the audition, I was selected for the role.
What do you value the most in people?
I like people who are not afraid of speaking truth. There is some attraction in truth that always appeals me.
Please share with us one experience that made you see the beauty of life?
For me, the beauty of life is in relationships, without which a person is incomplete. I observe life's beauty when I fight with my brother over silly things, and when my family members are around me.
Is there any dream role that you would like to play in your life?
I would like to play a role of a psychologically challenged person. The character of Rani Mukherjee in 'Black' has inspired me a lot. I would also love to do something like that.
Suppose you find a lamp and out pops a genie, you get one wish, what would it be?
I would wish to become a good human being. It is more important for me to become a good person than a good actress.
How different is the experience of working in 'Mahmoodabad Ki Malkaiyen' from 'Mastana Mahi'?
In 'Mahmoodabad Ki Malkaiyen', I had a lot of fun on sets. All the actors were new in the field, so apparently there was great excitement and energy. We enjoyed sharing acting tips with each other and nobody hesitated to ask for guidance. Our director, Nain, had given us full freedom to give our input in every manner. I have not seen such a devoted director. I have learnt a great deal about acting from him. On the other hand, I had to reserve my behaviour on sets of 'Mastana Mahi' because of the presence of senior actors.
As a new comer, how did you find Fahad as a colleague?
Fahad is a great person to work with. He guided me throughout the play. He advised me to focus on my performance as it could eventually become the reason of my real success. At present, I am working with some big names of our industry, but no one is as good as him.
Fahad has a huge female fan following, girls could do anything to be with him even for just a few seconds. You played his wife's character. Did you have any special feelings for that role?
Honestly, before the shoot I did not even know that I was being cast opposite him. When I asked the director about the male lead, he told me that Sunny had been finalised for the role. I later came to know that Fahad was called Sunny. My relationship with him was very normal and there was nothing special. He, in fact, treated me like a child on the set.
Have you faced any problems in your showbiz voyage so far?
Fortunately, right at the beginning of my career, I got a chance to work with really good people who supported and guided me. Though, I had some bad experiences with the people trying to cut my role, but their bad intentions did not materialise as my directors had complete confidence in me.
There is a lot of competition in this field. Do you agree that it is difficult to survive here?
Yes, you are right. The competition is there, but if you have talent, you will survive. I am confident that I have a bright future in this field.
You seem so confident and self-contained at such a young age, what is the reason behind such confidence?
The tough experiences of my life have turned me into a mature and a confident person. I have faced many ups and downs in life, and problems in relationships. Experiencing them has made me strong. Tough experiences sometimes spoil people, but in my case the result is otherwise.
Would you accept any offer for a negative character?
I believe in versatility. Negative roles usually have more scope to display artistic skills. I am not afraid of playing a negative role. I am already doing a negative character in 'Meray Sathi Meray Dildar' and my fans have liked it.
Please tell us about your upcoming projects.
I have four projects in hand including 'Chandni' and 'Dil He Tu Hai'.
Zodiac Sign… Capricorn..
Do you believe in stars… No I don't.
One thing you would want to change about yourself... Control over my anger.
If you weren't an actress... I would be a politician then because it also involves a lot of drama.
Your favourite snack… I don't like snacks.
Your favourite travel destination… Dubai.
Your favourite movie… 'Black'.
You tend to worry about… Two-faced people. It is difficult to deal with them.