ISLAMABAD: Rejuvenated, spirited and perhaps slightly more opinionated compared to the last time I sat down with Sana Javed during the promotions of her debut flick, Mehrunisa V Lub U (MVLU). Gone are the days Sana would be known for playing the likeable and meek girl-next-door on television because as of now, she’s experimental, a more mature performer from when she first step foot in the industry and has a crystal-clear perspective of where she’s headed next and why, something most of her contemporary peers lack.
Post a hiatus of nearly two years, Sana expects Anjum Shahzad’s Khaanito reinvent her on television. Without being preachy for a heartbeat, the forthcoming political commentary holds promise and adds diversity to the genre that we have previously seen before -however, projected through a male protagonist’s eyes. She stars in and as Khaani and describes her character as relatable, yet aspirational.
“I think Khaani has her fair share of shades. She goes through something that makes her this headstrong woman that she probably isn’t initially,” she told The Express Tribune as she delved into her role. “It’s such a well-knitted script, and shooting would be so nerve-wrecking that by the time I would get home, I would literally be exhausted – emotionally and physically. It’s such an intense and demanding serial.”
After putting across a series of rhetorical questions, Javed claimed to be a proud feminist. “I think Khaani does take that idea forward,” the starlet observed of the serial’s potential contribution to women empowerment through local narratives and the consequences of ignorance to social evils in our society. “It stands for injustice against the blameless. It tells women to fight for their rights, against society’s unreasonable norms. And if we don’t, the ones who’ve wronged shall continue to assault the innocent.”
Does that help in making her more socially aware? “It does,” she is quick to respond, “But I was always very interested in our political and social circumstances. It would be hurtful to see how the weak have always been deprived of a voice. At this stage of my career, I feel I have a certain responsibility being a public figure, to give back to society.”
Before her comeback assignment sees the light of day, Sana has already kick-started shooting for her next production – the peculiarly titled Romeo Weds Heer and interestingly, under the same banner, 7th Sky Entertainment, helmed by Khaani-director, Anjum Shahzad and it repeats the lead pair as well. “I’m very comfortable working with them,” Sana confessed.
“I remember I was offered Romeo Weds Heer early summer when I was promoting MVLU and I absolutely loved the script, but since I was unable to shoot for it at that time, they were kind enough to push it another two months for me and I couldn’t be more pleased,” she revealed of how she bagged herself her second major TV outing this year. “I can’t reveal much about it as of yet, but it’s the kind of character I’ve always wanted to do; it’s just hilarious.”
Feroze Khan takes the lead alongside Sana in not only both the serials, but also in Mehreen Jabbar’s light-hearted upcoming telefilm Dino Ki Dulhan. Speaking of their speculative camaraderie, Sana cleared the air and shared, “Feroze and I are very friendly on-set; we respect each other’s inputs, and give every single scene our absolute fullest,” she maintained. “He is as passionate about his work as I am and because of that we always end up on the same page, and that brings out our chemistry. That said, he is amazing to work with, and a terrific actor, he’s done a brilliant job in Khaani.”
Rewinding back to the (not-so) happening Eidul Fitr, Sana’s first cinematic appearance in the Yasir Nawaz directorial MVLU opposite Danish Taimoor was as censured as it was lauded for her debatable lack of significance in the film’s plot. She proudly narrates instances of wearing sarees and dancing up north. She felt like a ‘heroine’ and it translated onto celluloid with her presence.
“I really gave my character my all, which was clearly that of a simple, small-town girl who doesn’t talk much. She’s naive, and used to the lifestyle she’s grown up in up north, away from the chaos,” said the Pyaare Afzal actor. “I think my character was justified. And even in the scenes I’m not in, it is all about Mehrunisa, and I consider myself very lucky for a debut like this with such an amazing team – that too within such a short span of time.”
She continued, of the film’s box office success, declaring it as the only local hit this year thus far, “At the end of the day what matters are the numbers. The film is a hit and it’s done really well. The opening was massive; we’re expecting an international release very soon.”
Contrary to what critics have to say, Sana’s quest for hunting substantial characters has made her increasingly selective of the projects she takes up. She hopes to step outside of her comfort zone, highlighting fresh subjects on television, but has no qualms about following the tested route for cinema.
But she refuses to work with debutant, unprofessional teams and seems driven on collaborating with experienced and successful contemporary film-makers.
“You naturally make mistakes initially; thankfully there weren’t many in my case. But one thing that I’ve always considered is how much substance my character has. And because I’ve been doing consecutive titular characters, there’s a lot of additional responsibility on my shoulders,” she explained. “At this stage, I really want to play strong, empowering female characters; I can’t stand damsels-in-distress kind of characters anymore.”
Strictly professional, Javed draws a fine line between her professional and personal lives and seems unabashedly committed despite inevitable insecurities on and off set. “I do my own thing; I’m not bothered with what others are doing or what they have to say about me. My own work is my competition. I had such overwhelming feedback from Zara Yaad Ker, I have to keep up with that, maintain myself as an actor and try to do better,” Sana exclaimed.
“My friendships in the industry limit to the set only. I’m civil with everybody because I try creating a positive energy and a friendly environment alive,” she adds on a parting note.