PAKISTANI ACTRESS ANAM TANVEER ON WHY SHE WANTS TO AVOID BEING TYPECAST
by ASJAD NAZIR
THE past decade has seen talented Pakistani actress Anam Tanveer deliver powerful performances in a wide array of projects that have shown off her perfect range.
The hardworking actress has taken on challenging roles in small-screen serials that range from a superb sitcom to hard-hitting emotional dramas. The multi-talented star is also a popular host and accomplished writer, but remains most in demand for her acting prowess.
Eastern Eye caught up with Anam Tanveer to talk about her interesting acting journey, life in lockdown and future plans.
How have you coped with lockdown?
Before lockdown I used to get up at 8am for gym and then reach work by 10ish. With the lockdown, I was kind of glad to have the opportunity to sleep till 12 noon. Of course, I didn’t give up working-out since I used to get together with a set number of close friends to continue my exercise regime. At home, I reconnected with lots of people and spent time dancing to keep myself in shape. Too bad the downtime was short-lived as I had to resume shooting within a few weeks only.
What first connected you to acting?
I initially wanted to be a model, but as I was not size-zero, I was advised to go into acting, so you can say it was entirely accidental. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I genuinely enjoyed getting into various characters, whether positive or negative.
Which of your roles are closest to your heart?
I loved playing Fareeha in Do Bol and Shaheena of Mera Dil Mera Dushman because I poured my heart into them. I enjoy scenes where there’s a lot of interaction between the characters. Monologues are not my thing.
Which has been the most challenging character you have portrayed?
Every role is a challenge because making it appear realistic is half the battle. So, if I am playing a dorky role and people consider me an actual dork – that’s a win for sure.
Who have you enjoyed working with the most?
Hassan Ahmed was an absolute joy to work with. While I was shooting Jalebi for ARY, he taught me Punjabi and was a true mentor. Kashif Nisar is another director with whom I had a wonderful time while shooting Lashkara. I was playing a nerd and he helped me get in character. Ushna Shah was my co-star on the show, and she’s so much fun to be around. Other than that, director Wajahat Hussain from Do Bol is someone I’d love to work with again.
How are you choosing projects today?
This is a concern for me because I don’t want to be typecast. There’s a dearth of roles and we should experiment with our storyline and scripts as an industry – something we are not doing right now. I have to give credit to our neighbours (India) for getting rid of formula work. A lot of people say our audience is not ready for unconventional work, but I don’t agree with that. That is a simplistic view of our people and doesn’t hold any substance I feel.
What do you mean?
Do we really want to be putting out the same work 20 years from now? I was absolutely fascinated with Rani Mukerji’s character as a police officer in Mardaani. But Rubina Ashraf (whom I consider a powerhouse of talent) played the same role in the famous Pas-e Aaina more than a decade ago. Not only did she nail it, but the drama series was also progressive even for present times and popular too. So, what happened to us? If actors are given challenging roles, they will not disappoint. Right now, they don’t have a choice but to go along with what is being offered and you can’t blame them – we all have to pay bills, right?
What are you working on now?
Shehnai is a drama for ARY. I’m not going to go into details, but it’s a feel-good drama. I’m not playing a negative role, so I think people will be happy to see me in this one.
How do you approach new characters and make them unique?
I study the script and put myself in the character’s shoes to understand her point of view and where she is coming from. I also watch characters in a similar capacity so I can do better.
What do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy comedies. I am also a sucker for rom-coms. Currently, I am binging on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix.
What are your future plans?
I really want to diversify in terms of role. Perhaps, be part of an action thriller. I work out regularly, so I am in shape for a role like that. Maybe an unconventional part that I haven’t done before and push the boundaries.
Is there anything new you would like to master?
I would like to master the art of patience. I sometimes, mostly lack it, and that has put me in a couple of undesirable situations. I also want to do kickboxing and dancing. I am not a pro, so I would like to learn and maybe do the latter professionally.
What is the best advice you ever got?
If you want to pursue acting as a career, focus on acting. How pretty you look doesn’t matter because the audience will remember your character, not your looks. A pretty face with bad acting may fail, but an ugly face with authentic acting can’t.
What inspires you?
People with a larger-than-life vision, always up for helping others, especially those who manage to live in the moment. God knows how hard it can be with our chaotic and all-over-the-place lifestyle.