Sana Javed has shot to huge success with back-to-back blockbuster Pakistani dramas. The actress, who was given immense love for her portrayal as Sameera in ‘Ruswai’ and the titular character in ‘Khaani’, has won hearts over the world. BizAsiaLive.com’s Raj Baddhan caught up with Javed about the new found fame, including from her international followers.

The response to ‘Ruswai’ has been phenomenal, what do you think it was about the show that made it such a grand success?
I believe that Ruswai was extremely popular because it broke many rules; not only did it show a rape survivor as the main protagonist but also her character was shown as someone who seeks justice for whatever happened to her, than go into a shell. The way Naila Ansari wrote that character, that’s what made Ruswai so popular. Sameera’s struggle was something that wasn’t shown on our TV and our audience instantly connects with anything that’s remotely fresh, diverse, and new. I received a lot of messages for my performance in Ruswai and I am glad that it was universally loved because I worked really hard to become Sameera. The audience’s love, their support for her entire journey is what kept her strong otherwise it wouldn’t have been that huge success.

The final episode of ‘Ruswai’ delivered record ratings for the series on ARY in the UK, what would you say about the love international fans gave it?
I feel so proud that my fans in the UK loved the drama and understood the way I approached the character. I have no words to describe how happy I am to learn about their response. Sameera was a very substantial character and it could have gone sideways but I knew that my fans were judging me and that prompted me to work hard. I love all my fans from around the world especially from the UK who poured their love on my social media.

As an actor, you’ve had quite a journey, with an incredible slew of roles over the years, how do you feel with the characters you’ve played?
I accept only those characters that appeal to me when they are offered; I never go for characters that I don’t endorse and maybe that’s why I connect with my characters more than others. I also try my best to educate the audience through my performance be it that in Khaani or in Ruswai; if they like what they see me doing on TV, they would follow it in real life and that is more than I can ask for.

Being Sameera had a huge impact on me as I managed to learn a lot from her. How to stand for your right, how to pursue justice, how to fight for whatever is right, Sameera taught me, and the countless people out there the way to be strong.

Despite the taboo topic of ‘Ruswai’, the show emerged a huge success, how fulfilling is it for an actor like yourself to get serious messages out there to audiences via fictions?
The plan was to make people sympathise with the survivors and break the taboo they carry and thankfully, Ruswai managed to do that. The person who violates a woman should be the one who should be highlighted for his crime, not the victim and we tried to do that with the drama.

How much did the role like Sameera impact the life of Sana Javed when you weren’t shooting?
When I was being Sameera in front of the camera, it felt I was lifting the entire weight of the world on my shoulders; when I was not being Sameera, I wondered how the drama would affect those who might know someone who has been through all that. Being Sameera had a huge impact on me as I managed to learn a lot from her. How to stand for your right, how to pursue justice, how to fight for whatever is right, Sameera taught me, and the countless people out there the way to be strong. If people are finding the courage to take a stand, that’s because we taught the audience that it’s okay not to be afraid and that there is nothing more important than self-respect!

As well as ‘Ruswai’, you also mentioned ‘Khaani’ earlier, which proved a huge watch & during lockdown many people have given it ample more love through Netflix, what would you say about that?
Khaani was not just a TV drama, it was an experience. It came at a time when people were sick and tired of Saas Bahu dramas (they still are) and took the audience by storm due to its plot, execution and performances. When I said yes to the play, I knew that my role would be appreciated by the audience and thankfully it did. In fact it became my identity and whenever I meet a fan online or in some foreign country, they immediately refer to me as Khaani, and not as Sana Javed. I don’t mind that because it is for these people we work hard and give our best. Since the play is now on Netflix, people are revisiting it because of me (they update me that on Social Media platforms) and that makes me more proud of my project and character.

With more people turning to digital shows and re-runs on digital platforms like YouTube during lockdown, what would you say to the people who have not watched ‘Ruswai’ and are in two minds about giving it a go?
Of course they should watch it especially when we are all locked down with nothing to do. Trust me, they will also fall in love with Sameera’s character the way those who saw the drama did. She is not just a person who teaches important lessons, she is the lesson and an inspiration. Many in the audience would find it relatable as it represented those who don’t speak out due to social pressure.

During the lockdown, how have you been reflecting on life and what have you learned new about yourself?
During this lockdown, I have managed to learn a lot of things including realising the importance of things that should be our priority. We shouldn’t take anything for granted and should be thankful too whatever we have, even if we were thankful already. Family is more important than anything and the more we get to spend our time with the parents, the better. I now get the time to connect with friends, read a lot of stuff, and binge-watch Netflix which is good for the actor in me.

What are you planning to do first after the lockdown has been lifted, in terms of work?
I plan to do a project that is being produced by Fahad Mustafa and Dr. Ali Kazmi’s Big Bang Productions. The best thing about the play is that it will be directed by Badar Mehmood who I am very excited to work with. Can’t wait to start that!

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