Sana Jafri identifies with her character Salma at multiple levels in the teleplay Gidh
Actor Sana Jafri grew up watching Indian soaps like Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Ba Bahu Aur Baby, CID and harboured the desire of working in the Indian film and television industry ever since. The Pakistani talent is excited about her play Gidh being aired on Zee Theatre. Directed by award-winning director Kanwal Khoosat, the play revolves around two women bound by their shared miseries in a patriarchal society. Jafri, who has also worked as a casting and assistant director for other projects, talks about getting hooked to the character of Salma, the dream of working with Anurag Kashyap and Zoya Akhtar, and more. Excerpts:
How excited are you about Gidh getting aired in India?
It has been a challenging role in terms of acting and execution. I am very excited about the play since in 2007, when I was in Class X, I was supposed to visit India but the trip got cancelled. It was the most devasting day for me. I grew up watching Indian dramas like CID, Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Baa Bahu Aur Baby. India has always been like my home country; our roots are the same. So, it feels great that if not me, at least my work is reaching the nation that I desire to visit and work in.
What were the challenges?
First, we are so used to seeing women in a certain way on television, especially in a domestic set up. My co-star and I play sister and sister-in-law. But the dynamics that we share is very different from what we all have grown up seeing on television or otherwise. The characters in soap opera are usually black and white, and they are either good or bad. I knew Kanwal wouldn’t write anything that is not complex. Everything is very multi-layered in Gidh. Salma and Saleema are completely different women but the core values are so similar that I identified with both the characters. The whole play is very nuanced with lots of grey areas.
Tell us about your character.
Salma is a small-town girl who leaves her house after her mother passes away to search for her brother who lives in a bigger city. Once she enters the house and meets her sister-in-law, her story unfolds and we find out how the patriarchal structure has been unfair to her all along. However, Salma is a go-getter and believes that she can achieve anything.
How was it working with Kanwal Khoosat?
She has been the best director that I have worked with so far. She never imposes anything on her actors, rather she gets what she demands quite naturally from them. Salma’s character is so strong that I took the time to get her out of my system.
Tell us about your future projects?
I take part in the theatre frequently and recently I directed and wrote my own short film. Also, I am working on a feature film in which we have a few Indian actors too.
Any director or actor you would like to work with in India?
Anurag Kashyap and Zoya Akhtar are my two favourites. And Mira Nair, the goddess, of course.