Pictures: Danish TariqMy most vivid current recollection of Kubra Khan is of her on TV, whirling on a stage, her hair flying about, her gaze vacant. Husn-i-Jahan, she was referred to as within the TV drama Alif, a reputation that implied that she encompassed all the great thing about the world. The character was riveting, struggling to face by her morals, keeping off societal prejudices and finally destined for a poignant, tragic finish.
Once I meet Kubra for this interview she’s actually not in an elaborate peshwaaz a la Husn-i-Jahan. As an alternative, she’s sporting a T-shirt with a Disney character grinning on it — ‘Abu’ the monkey from Aladdin. She is effortlessly lovely, fairly like her on-screen avatars, however fortuitously, not despondent like Husn-i-Jahan.
“The audience sometimes assumes that an actor is like his or her on-screen character, but I’ve never tried to encourage this thinking by behaving in a certain way,” Kubra says. “I am my own person with opinions, living life the way I want to, wearing the clothes I like. I’d never pretend to be like a character. I’m more of a geek,” she laughs.
Kubra, although, just isn’t a geek. She’s simply very, very actual. She could also be vastly widespread and dealing in a slew of top-notch initiatives and but, she doesn’t appear to have the endurance for placing on movie star airs and graces. As an alternative, she laughs typically, is refreshingly candid and makes intuitive observations.
Actor Kubra Khan is the form of individual that anybody can relate to: she’s down-to-earth, cracks jokes and is simply so naturally likeable that, even though she’s a bona fide star, you could really feel like you recognize her…
Her life, at current, is shifting at breakneck velocity, careening from one main performing venture to the opposite and her eyes glow when she talks about them. She is simply as enthusiastic as she tries to plan a mini-vacation within the few free days she has in between work, or when she talks concerning the common ‘game nights’ that she has along with her shut pals.
“We’ve just started playing Catan and Gohar’s been winning,” she wrinkles her nostril and grins as she talks about her ‘bestie’, actor Gohar Rasheed.
Looking back, once I take into consideration Kubra now, some days following our interview, she strikes me because the type of lady that anybody might relate to. She grins, cracks jokes and is simply so naturally likeable that, even though she’s a bona fide star, you’re feeling like you recognize her.
At one level she tells me, “I’d forgotten how much I loved to dance and ever since I recently danced at a wedding, I’ve remembered. And now my friends and I are dancing all the time!” After which, “I cried inside 5 minutes of starting to look at the animated film Up. And I cry continuously throughout Disney’s Lion King!”
I inform her that I shall be needing photos of her to accompany the interview, and that she shouldn’t be holding a weapon in them. Kubra finds this extraordinarily humorous, though I inform her that there have certainly been previous cowl story photos the place weapons, erroneously used as props by celebrities, have needed to be Photoshopped out with nice effort. When she does e-mail me the pictures, she tells me that she was contemplating getting photographed with a toy gun simply to scare me!
Humayun Saeed and Kubra Khan on the units of London Nahin Jaunga | Picture: Mohammad Kamran JawaidI ask her for hair and make-up credit for the pictures and he or she replies, “I do my own hair and make-up, because then it has ‘my’ feel to it. If you want to give me credit you’re welcome to!” she chortles over a WhatsApp voice notice. So uncommon. And so actual.
However, this very actual lady, who got here to Pakistan from London seven odd years in the past, has seen the highs and lows of movie star life. She’s loved the help of a loyal fan-base but additionally borne the wrath of on-line trolls; endured busy film shoots in addition to spans of time with nothing to do; made pals and suffered heartbreak. She’s had phases when she has thought-about leaving her high-pressure profession and returning to her household in London. And but, right here she is at the moment, working with a few of the strongest names in Pakistan’s leisure trade, on the brink of storm the TV display screen with some very intriguing initiatives.
The destiny of her film with ARY Movies and Six Sigma Plus, the star-studded London Nahin Jaunga (LNJ), has been hanging within the steadiness since final 12 months, ever since cinemas closed down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Within the meantime, Kubra’s springboarding proper into TV’s crowded, aggressive waters. Her drama Hum Kahaan Kay Sachchay Thay (HKST), co-starring Mahira Khan and Usman Mukhtar, and directed by Farooq Rind, begins airing this weekend on the Hum TV Community.
As well as, she’s about to start capturing for Sinf-i-Aahan, a joint manufacturing between ARY Digital with Subsequent Stage Leisure, Six Sigma Plus and the ISPR. The drama, directed by Nadeem Baig, may also star Sajal Aly, Yumna Zaidi, Ramsha Khan and Syra Yousuf.
Later this summer time, she’ll be flying off to Pakistan’s northern areas to work in Sang-i-Maa, spearheaded by the identical workforce that she labored with in her debut drama Sang-i-Mar Mar, together with director Saife Hassan and actors Naumaan Ijaz and Sania Saeed. Kubra was additionally simply seen in Completely Knot, a flippant, feel-good Eid-ul-Azha telefilm co-starring Vasay Chaudhry and directed by Nadeem Baig.
It’s a whopping, spectacular line-up of labor and we start our interview by focusing in on it…
Soldier for a day!
Does she really feel intimidated by the truth that she’s working with a number of actors in two of her most high-profile initiatives, Sinf-i-Aahan and HKST? Kubra mulls earlier than answering. “No, not really. For one, I don’t get intimidated very easily. Also, I have worked with extensive ensemble casts before. Of course, healthy competition is always there and the audience may gravitate towards particular characters but, as long as you do your work well, it’s fine.”
I don’t get intimidated very simply. Additionally, I’ve labored with intensive ensemble casts earlier than. In fact, wholesome competitors is at all times there and the viewers could gravitate in direction of specific characters however, so long as you do your work properly, it’s positive.”
She continues, “In Hum Kahaan Kay Sachchay Thay, I’m sharing display screen area with Mahira, and it helps that she’s simply so down-to-earth. I believed that I used to be easygoing — a malang — however then I met her and it’s great that she’s the identical. We’ve had such a good time on set and Usman could be clutching his head, questioning the place he’d gotten caught. Usman’s a fantastic man too.
“Also, I keep to myself. I don’t intrude upon others. It helps in keeping things cordial when you’re working with a huge cast.”
Switching gears to Sinf-i-Aahan, she says, “When we go to shoot the drama, we won’t immediately begin filming. For some time, we will be training as cadets, learning how to shoot and salute and do mud crawls! We’re going to be cadets for that time period. This is why I love my job. In what other profession could I suddenly get up and say that, today, I want to be a soldier?” she beams.
“I’m additionally actually enthusiastic about Sang-i-Maa as a result of I’ll be working as soon as once more with the workforce that I had began out with. I had recognized nothing about performing again then!”
Kubra could presently be able that lots of her friends would covet, however has it been powerful getting up to now, the place she’s working with main names in prestigious initiatives? Was it, as an illustration, miserable when the discharge of her film, LNJ, went into limbo as a consequence of Covid-19?
“My scenes in LNJ had been roughly wrapped up when capturing got here to a halt. And sure, it’s unhappy however there’s nothing that may be completed about it proper now. I feel we’ve all come to phrases with the truth that we could have to attend issues out for some time extra,” she says pragmatically.
“But yes, there have been tough times in the past. I took a three-year gap because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue doing this. Over time, though, I realised that the fault did not lie in my profession but in how I dealt with it. I realised that I needed to find peace within. And I began to appreciate how a character that I played — for example, someone like Husn-i-Jahan — could positively impact people.”
Kubra muses, “In retrospect, the personal battles that I went through have helped enhance my understanding of acting. I hardly ever need glycerine now! There will be parts that will just naturally tug at my emotions. I can be a total emotional wreck!” she laughs.
Blessed beginnings, powerful occasions
Kubra Khan in Hum Kahan Kay Sachchay ThayShe could have been uncertain about persevering with on along with her occupation, however a motley crew of Pakistan’s best producers and administrators actually appear to have had religion in her, based mostly on her present line-up of labor.
“For me, MD Productions has always been like home, because I started out with them,” says Kubra. “I feel that I can just drop in at any time and say ‘hi’. My work with Six Sigma has so far been only with Nadeem Baig, and I have blind faith in him. I know that he can mould me into any character.” She crosses her fingers. “I suppose I’m blessed.”
Even her debut in performing, again in 2014, appears to have been guided by good karma. A random modelling tryst in London led to her putting up a friendship with actors Ahmed Ali Butt and Fatima Khan Butt. They prompt that she ought to take into account performing and, when she visited Lahore to attend the couple’s wedding ceremony, Fatima inspired her to audition for a serious business being directed by Ahsan Rahim. “She told Ahsan to let me audition and that he should take me on only if he liked my work,” says Kubra.
She obtained the job, following which Ahsan supplied her one other, larger business, to be shot in Kashmir. “That was the point when I realised that maybe I could do this,” recollects Kubra. “I have to thank Fatima baji and Ahmed for having encouraged me.”
It nearly appears too straightforward, I remark. Kubra interjects, “No, but then it got very difficult. I was working very hard but I was getting hurt by the way people were judging me. For one, they did not like my accent but what was more hurtful were the assumptions that they were making about me. I was just a simple girl who lived with her family in a three-bedroom house in London. I wasn’t who they were making me out to be. Fortunately, I have a tougher, thicker skin now but, back then, I was very new and I didn’t know how to deal with all of it.”
She continues, “, it’s simply so unhappy how folks go these judgments on social media. I do know a few of the kindest folks, the kind of people that you possibly can name in the course of the evening, if there have been an emergency, and they’d drive you to the hospital. They’re good Muslims, good people, however they nonetheless get bashed as a result of they’re a part of the leisure trade.
“The thing is, everything we do is not for public consumption. I remember when I decided to set a few days aside for prayer and sat in aitekaaf, I did not post anything about it. My friend, actress Ushna Shah, found out and she came to congratulate me, and which is how people got to know about it. But it was something very personal and I didn’t want to shout it out to the world. I don’t have to be a certain way just so people could judge me more kindly.”
Does she really feel that, past the bodily hardships of the occupation, actors at the moment should take care of a number of psychological strain? She nods, now critical.
“Definitely. You know, when we’re shooting, in rain and sunshine, through long days and nights, it’s work. We’re literally pouring our blood and tears into what we’re doing. But someone somewhere, hiding behind a fake identity on Twitter, could say that one word and it could get stuck in our heads, ruining our entire day.”
Is she, consequently, extra cautious with how she places herself ahead on social media — maybe, by avoiding risqué photos, given the brouhaha that pores and skin present tends to set off?
“I just personally don’t wear clothes that are very risqué. I like to be comfortable in what I’m wearing,” she shrugs. “Having mentioned that, you may’t make everybody comfortable. I can’t waste my life by going right into a shell, worrying about how folks I’ve by no means met and will not even exist, will take offence.
“If somebody’s shining a vivid gentle at me however I’m not taking a look at it, that gained’t trouble me, as a result of I gained’t be paying consideration.
“What makes me sad, though, is when women pick on women on the internet. We’re just women like them, trying to live our best lives and fulfill our dreams. And if we can follow our hearts, so can they. But so many people just don’t see that.”
I level out that she does have some fiercely supportive followers. “Yes, I’m lucky that people who follow me on Instagram are generally not negative,” she smiles. “I don’t obsess over building fan followings, but I’m happy that the people who follow me, do so because they like my work and not because I’m controversial or that I’m in a high-profile relationship!”
With HKST premiering, is she trying ahead to followers’ reactions and opinions? “Definitely,” she nods. “I love how the characters in the story are so human. No one’s completely good or completely bad. My character has so many shades that you can just peel off layer after layer. There were times when I was expected to depict 10 different emotions in a single scene! It’s definitely the most difficult character that I’ve played to date.”
She tells me that, to this point, folks affiliate her probably the most with Husn-i-Jahan and with Shireen, her character in her debut drama Sang-i-Mar Mar. However there are such a lot of extra roles that she’s enjoying now, so many tales that she’s about to inform. There’ll inevitably be many extra names and characters linked with Kubra Khan within the coming days.
Initially printed in Daybreak, ICON, August 1st, 2021