January issue 2013

By | Startrek | Published 7 years ago

“I am not a comedienne, I am a versatile actor who has done a wide range of roles,” Hina Dilpazir corrected me when I called up to interview her as one of television’s most adored comediennes for Newsline. This came as a surprise to me, considering her iconic performances in the comic series, Bulbulay and Quddusi Saheb ki Bewa. If anybody deserved the title of Pakistan’s finest comedienne, it was her. After that somewhat rough beginning, I did not know how to proceed with the rest of the interview, but she put me at ease and talked about everything under the sun, from her memorable journey as an actress to her passion for music, and even went on to reveal her taste in food — she can never get enough of sarson ka saag and makai ki roti — and her favourite technological innovation: the geyser, since it provides her with hot water after a long day at work!

Describing herself as a “practical person,” Dilpazir says she is quite willing to step into the shoes of any character that comes along, so long as the script is good. But she never aspired to become an actor. In fact, she began her career by working at a radio station in Dubai for eight years, which she describes as “the experience of my life.” Acting “just happened automatically,” and took took her by surprise too. But now that she is in the field, she realises the power of the medium, and the huge canvas it offers to her as an actor. She also feels blessed that acting has given her the opportunity to reach out to the masses. While most TV viewers, including myself, assume that her most challenging project to date must be her portrayal of the multiple characters in Quddusi Saheb ki Bewa, Dilpazir thinks otherwise. For her, the most challenging role was that of a 60-year-old woman, who was mentally stuck in the body of a teenager in the teleplay, Lekin Aik Baat. She also fondly recalls her first play, Burnes Road ki Nilofer, describing it as the most enjoyable experience in her career thus far.

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However, when it comes to the success of Bulbulay, rated as one of the best comedies in the history of Pakistani television, Dilpazir is extremely modest. “I had never imagined that Bulbulay would be such a hit and that my role would click so much with the audiences.” Incidentally, you will see Dilpazir playing some more characters — 11 to be more precise — in Quddusi Sahab ki Bewa in the coming days.

She calls it a “scary experience” and gives all credit to the director, Mazhar Moin, and the writer,
Fasih Bari Khan for visualising the multiple characters. Such roles require Dilpazir to speak in a variety of accents and to portray characterswho are much older than her — daunting tasks for any actor. Dilpazir believes that in order to do justice to these roles she must first “fall in love with them.” She also reveals that Anthony Quinn is her biggest inspiration: “The manner in which he delivers his dialogue and the way he merges himself into his character is astounding.”

Dilpazir enjoys working with the older breed of actors, be it Bushra Ansari, Abid Ali or Qazi Wajid, because they give her the artistic space she requires to perform well. But even with all the acting roles lined up, Dilpazir is looking to do more. One thing which is definitely on her agenda is direction and Dilpazir feels she has the vision and the aesthetics to become a good director one day. However, for now that remains a distant dream.

Does she harbour any plans of crossing the border to work in a Bollywood film? Dilpazir shoots down the idea: “Right now, the situation in Bollywood is such that I don’t see myself being able to fit in.”
Dilpazir speaks in glowing terms about her family. “It is only because of my family’s backing that I am able to work. I have no problems juggling my work with my family,” says Dilpazir. She makes it a point to mention her son Mustafa, who is extremely proud of his mother’s success, and not only prays for her but also puts up with her erratic hours without complaining.

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In addition to Qudusi Saheb ki Bewa and Bulbulay, Dilpazir has several projects in the pipeline. She is starring in a new drama serial titled Taray Ankaboot, in which she is cast in a sombre role. She is also very keen to continue her role from the teleplay Lekin Aik Baat, and has approached the writer personally to flesh out the role for her.

Does she harbour any plans of crossing the border to work in a Bollywood film? Dilpazir shoots down the idea: “Right now, the situation in Bollywood is such that I don’t see myself being able to fit in.”

She talked at length about her career and personal life, answering each question in detail, despite her busy schedule. Her calm and composed tone over the phone was in stark contrast to the larger-than-life personas she portrays on television, and revealed the seldom seen serious side to the actress.
But just for a bit of fun, I decided to end our interview with a series of rapid-fire questions, a staple of talk shows these days, and Dilpazir was all game for it.

When it comes to music, Dilpazir is a big fan of Kafis, and maintains that she spends her days at home mostly listening to music. And if given a chance to spend a holiday by herself, “I would love to travel the entire world, especially Venice,” Dilpazir proclaimed excitedly.

A self-professed fakir, Dilpazir claimed to be quite content with whatever she has when I asked her what her most prized possession is, and she advises that everyone count their blessings. She agrees that stardom brings with it many perks — but it comes with a price tag: “While I do not wish to ignore or hurt my fans, I want to be able enjoy life like any normal person without being badgered.”

Does that hold true for the media as well? Dilpazir is not averse to the idea of giving interviews, but she detests the fact that during interviews many journalists ask her to mimic one of her TV characters.

As we wound up these rapid-fire questions, it was getting late at night, and she sounded tired because she had spent that entire day shooting for a serial in Murree. But before hanging up on me, she insisted on speaking to my mother, who happens to be a huge fan of hers. She told my mum how respectful I had been towards her when conducting the interview — just one example of how Dilpazir goes out of her way to put others at ease and while she may not think much of it, it certainly made my day!