Sarah Khan is the quintessential actor of our generation; someone poised to conquer the entertainment world. We have witnessed her steady growth as a performer in a range of roles. She began her career in 2012 with the drama serial Badi Appa and gradually proved her gravitas as a performer in Belapur Ki Dayan, Mere Bewafa and Mere Humdam. She continues to capture various characters effortlessly, and will soon be seen in Shahzad Kashmiri’s new play Sabaat, where she plays a mentally challenged woman.
Her commanding screen presence shines through in every drama. She continues to selectively choose and encapsulate characters effortlessly. In a personal and candid interview, Sarah reflects on her relationship with her late mother, and shares with us her quest to thrive in the media.
“Acting is my only joy”
Who is Sarah Khan as a person?
Sarah Khan: All seasons beautifully wrapped in one.
Three qualities that define your personality?
SK: Self-control, strong-willed and consistent. I am strong because a stronger woman raised me, and I am proud of her!
How did it feel when you saw yourself on the screen for the first time?
SK: Horrible (Laughs). I felt so bad about myself! I decided to step down from this field and refused to do any project for two years. It was then that I realised acting is my only joy.
Any insecurities you had after beginning your creative journey as an actor?
SK: None. My mom often said, “I haven’t raised daughters, I have raised lionesses, who have no room for insecurities.” I am confident in my skin. If someone has a good quality that I may not have, I would happily adopt it.
What are some of the road blocks you had to face while pursuing the performing arts?
SK: No roadblocks, to be very honest. My journey has been straightforward. Part of it has to do with my parents, who encouraged me to persevere in show business, so I have never experienced any anxiety whatsoever.
What gives you an edge over others in this profession?
SK: I am extremely patient to the extent that if anyone has something vile to say about me or my family, I would simply smile at that person and not retaliate in fury. I have practiced self-control and learned how to react in a situation. That has helped a great deal in my personal and professional life.
“I am on the nascent stage of becoming who I want to be in life.”
Tell us about your upcoming television roles.
SK: My upcoming project is unconventional, which makes it even more interesting! It’s a negative role, and I portray a psychotic young woman. She is adamant to destroy the lives of others. The project is Sabaat for HUM TV.
Have you been offered any film roles and do you plan to undertake any?
SK: Many scripts have come my way but there are certain things that I cannot work beyond. I feel uncomfortable doing item songs and wearing bold, daring clothes. No script or story appealed to me, considering these conditions. If something constructive comes my way, I will definitely do a film.
Are ethics and professionalism duly followed in your line of work?
SK: Avoid working if you lack either. An unprofessional attitude will upset those working around you. Acting is a difficult occupation and incomplete without ethics. Ask anyone; they will tell you how professional I am in my work. I have never arrived late for a shoot! I am always on time.
The downside of fame?
SK: There is no downside of fame, at least in my opinion. I see everything worthy in my field. Yes, my actions are often misinterpreted, sensationalized and spun in the media. That one thing upsets me at times.
Describe where you are in life right now.
SK: I am on the nascent stage of becoming who I want to be in life, maybe far behind. I have so much more to accomplish for myself, my mother and everyone else. I am determined to give my best to my acting career.
What do you wish you had known sooner?
SK: Had I known my mother would depart from this world early on, I would have done a lot for her. We were young when she passed away. As four established siblings, we couldn’t provide her with a quality life, and that is my lifelong regret.
How do you escape a noxious relationship?
SK: I don’t find relationships to be noxious. We are just unique from each other. People label an individual as bad or destructive for his or her actions but everyone is different; no one is inherently evil. The same rule applies to a relationship.
What gives you peace of mind?
SK: Family support in all areas of life; patience and unwavering belief in God. If anyone can give you peace of mind, it is your parents. My parents have stood firm with me through thick and thin.
How important is spirituality to you?
SK: Very important. I practice spiritualism on set and do not let go of it because it allows me to keep moving and makes me feel stronger. If there is something significant in life, it is spirituality.
A memory you wish to erase?
SK: There are many but if I could, I would erase the painful memory of my mother’s illness; the hospital environment and adversity that struck us all. I would be at peace with myself if that part of my life vanished. Other than that, there are no regrets in terms of relationships, family and career. I take life as a lesson.
“I feel uncomfortable doing item songs and wearing bold, daring clothes.”
How have you become a better person in life?
SK: I have turned out to be a completely different person after my mother’s demise. I was immature and dependent on her when she was alive. I am now more patient and mature in terms of personality. Wherever I go, I hope people see my mother’s reflection in me.
What do you want people to know about you?
SK: I don’t want to divulge anything about myself except my on air projects. My personal life is my own and I wish to keep it as is.
How has your family shaped you?
SK: My parents hoped that we would help others wherever we went, in our capacity. They wanted our positive persona to have an impact around people so they could learn something new from us. That is what I aspire to be like.
INTERVIEW: HAIDER RIFAAT
Photography: Hasan habib Hashmi
MAKE-UP: NABILA’S SALON
Styling: Rao ali khan
JEWELLERY: ROUGE BY AMIR