Lady in Question – Navin Waqar Is As Feisty As They Come
On a lazy, sunny afternoon, FUCHSIA had an unexpected visitor and we knew our day was going to get better moving forward. Navin Waqar walks in tall and beautiful, she manages to hold our attention even in a relaxed tee and jeans. As we wait to be served with freshly brewed coffee, the talented actress opens up to us about her time in the industry so far, her claim-to-fame project Humsafar and what kind of future she sees for herself.
Why don’t we see Navin Waqar as often on screen as we would like to?
It’s because I am very picky with my scripts. I want to do roles that offer a challenge and sometimes you have to wait a while for the right script to come along. If the character strikes the right chord with me, I take it on. I never pick something I know I wouldn’t be able to do justice to.
What makes you say ‘yes’ to antagonistic characters despite the fact that the audience takes them so seriously?
If there were no antagonists, you wouldn’t have a story to tell. They provide the drama, the balance that is needed. I take on such roles only when their actions are justified. Not bad for the sake of being bad, but genuine reasons that drive them. Though I believe people are generally good, unfortunately it’s the circumstances and their choices that turn them into antagonists.
There was one particular scene where Sara visits Khirad and warns her to back off. That scene was difficult for me as I couldn’t bring myself to be rude. I kept breaking into a smile just looking at Mahira’s face, unable to bring myself to say those ugly words to her. I also walked into a planter during [shooting] the scene and had to slap it out of my face.
Do you sometimes feel that the characters of Khirad and Asher got and still get unfair attention as compared to Sara’s?
Not really. I was dubious about playing the bad girl but at no point did I feel she wasn’t noticed enough. She was one of the most hated characters in recent times and that proves she made a powerful impact. It was my [acting] debut and to hold my own as an antagonist was an achievement for me. I still have people come up to me and gush about how they loved her (Sara’s) intensity.
What attracted you to your character Neha in Tajdeed – E- Wafa?
The strength [of the character]. I have played a lot of characters and what I dislike the most about them is the fact that they endure verbal, mental and physical abuse, and stick around for more. Neha is a straight shooter. She doesn’t cry. She doesn’t take any nonsense. She actually believes she deserves better, which is a great mindset for girls to have. She is not afraid of facing the world and that for me, is what sealed the deal.
What’s the one thing you absolutely love about your job?
I play characters and live so many different lives. It’s almost like being born again and again as a different person in a different life and getting a do-over. Hopefully, I make a positive impact on people’s lives. Above all, I am contributing to art, something not many people believe is an actual thing, sadly.
Why do our dramas keep revolving around depressing and sad themes in the name of “this is happening around us”?
It’s unfortunate because life isn’t all about boy/girl desperate to get married or women being abused or not being able to have kids. There is more to life; happiness as a family, children’s education, social injustices, patriotism. This “happening around us” is a sorry excuse. What you show people is what will change their mindsets. Show them there is more to life than this and they will grow to relate to it.
How has Navin Waqar’s journey so far in the entertainment business changed you as a person?
Before my debut as an actress, life was simple. When Humsafar happened, I became a household name. I met people who broke my trust, and tried to completely break me as a person just because I allowed them into my life. That chipped away most of my naivety and served as a wake-up call. All of that made me strong. I’ve learned real courage is about having the strength to remain silent when necessary. People will say the worst things possible, and you cannot stop them, but what you can do is live your life and focus on being happy. And that to me is the biggest change I’ve experienced.
Story, cast, director, producer, pay or PR… what’s most important to survive and keep moving forward in this very competitive drama industry?
It’s luck, really. Because I’ve seen plays that have the biggest budget, cast and director backed with a strong PR but they have fallen flat. I personally believe all you need is strong content. Ten years ago, a play was watched without being promoted to death. It was about the story. Now, it’s a vicious battle over PR and the hype in an attempt to make it popular. It’s not art anymore, it’s a manufactured product. It’s a cut-throat industry. I do this out of passion not necessity, and I thank God for that. I remind myself to be happy with what I have and enjoy life instead of partaking in a rat race. Also I strongly believe what is meant for me will not pass me by. That helps me sleep better at night.
Sanam Saeed recently stated that it is very hard to be married to someone outside the industry because they cannot understand the work-life of an actor/actress. The actress will either keep their career on the side or give it a break altogether. Do you agree?
I don’t know what Sanam went through personally and I wish her all the best. To me, a marriage not working out isn’t entirely dependent on this alone. Whether you marry someone from outside the industry or within, if it has to end, it will. There are no guarantees in life. Yes, women take a break or give up careers altogether because that is what is expected of them in our society. It’s rare to find a man secure enough to see a woman doing better than him or being in the spotlight. I respect women who willingly put their careers on hold because it’s their personal choice. But I have even more respect for women who put themselves together and stand up again after a broken relationship with their dignity intact.
Is it hard keeping up with a life on social media?
I believe there’s way too much information out there now. It kills the mystery, which to me, is a bad thing. I try to maintain that (mystery) still and have allowed only a few particular things to be seen by the public – mostly work, gym and a few family-related things). But fans have a thousand questions and they want to know everything. It’s difficult for me because I am a private person. My life is a very simple one. I avoid morning shows, I don’t give a lot of interviews and I try to be on TV only in my plays. People get sick of you if you’re everywhere all the time sharing every single detail of your life.
Twitter, Insta, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat … your social media of choice?
I am on Instagram which I run myself and recently, I’ve joined Twitter which I am still getting accustomed to. Everything else is a big ‘no’.
Where would fans bump in to Navin Waqar the most?
Karachi! I have bumped into a lot of fans here and they all have been very sweet. Most of them are shy to approach me but I admire the fact that they do.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up early. The first thing I do is feed my dog as it works as an alarm clock. Then I have my coffee. I alternate between gym and kickboxing classes. If I don’t have any personal plans, I will take my mom around and get her errands done. If I have plans, it’s either having someone over or going out for coffee. Otherwise, I’ll spend my day reading or writing, sketching, doing some photography, or may be going for a spa day.
What does Navin Waqar do when she’s not working?
Weekends are for my family, period. On Sundays my baby cousins and grandmother come over, and it’s all about them. During the week, I gym, go to the cinema or read a book. If I’m in the mood, I’ll cook for my dad and brother, I make a mean grilled fish, or bake. I [also like to] hang out with my friends either at a café or at home and order in. I love being a homebody. It’s my jam.
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