Sohai Ali Abro has reset her image with her role in and as The Motorcycle Girl. The actor, previously stereotyped as being just another pretty face in a film, has proven her mettle as an actor by taking and executing the character of Zenith Irfan to perfection. Sohai has proven that she’s not just good on the dance floor (she is an exceptionally good dancer) but she is also just as comfortable on a motorbike, a machine that is associated more with men and their machismo.
It was not at all easy, she says.
“It’s tough, it’s not easy,” Sohai said when we met for an interview a week ago. “There would be days when I would be crying and be in tears. I had to learn to ride a cycle first; I started from scratch and that took a day or two and was fairly simple. But riding a motorbike in a heavy traffic, when you have cars left right and you have to save yourself by dodging cars…that was the tough part. When we were up North, I had to face inclined slopes and the gear and stuff was something new for me again. That’s something I figured out there. Like even the speed breakers were huge and then Adnan would be there standing and I’d go like, ‘why are you making me do this?’ And he’d be like why are you crying? I do not want tears on my set. He would really push me to do it.”
I asked Sohai for some advice for girls who want to get into motorbike riding. Here’s what she had to say…
Wear your helmet, wear your gears.
Remember, it won’t be glamorous!
When I started learning I needed to do that during the daylight hours so my timings were 11 am to 6 pm. In 4 days I was completely tan and my skin was completely sunburnt! There comes a point when even your sunblock stops working. And I’m allergic to sunlight so when I’m exposed to extreme sunlight I get these rashes. I had rashes all over my hands and arms. I can even show you pictures. So keep one thing in mind, it won’t be glamorous.
Dress properly; the bike can heat up
The heat from the bike’s engine and body can get so bad that even the under legs get burned and blistered. I got blisters and I couldn’t wear even walk properly at times! So yes wear fabric that safeguards you from the heat of the engine. Thin lawn, voile or cotton is not a smart option.
Your hair will get disgusting!
You wear the helmet for so long that your hair becomes sweaty and matted. It really doesn’t smell so wonderful when you finally take the helmet off. It’s disgusting!
Wait for the feeling of complete liberation
Finally, knowing how to ride a motorbike is so completely liberating! It took me four days to ride without assistance but the first time that I realized that I was on my own and no one was holding my bike…that feeling of independence was exhilarating! I could feel that I was in control. And I could feel the independence. That feeling I didn’t need these men to help me ride a bike! I was doing it on my own!
You may see Sohai riding her own heavy bike on day, she says.
“I genuinely feel the experience has changed me and I’m a different person,” she concluded. “I’m not scared anymore. You might even see me ride a heavy bike real soon; the heavier the bike the easier it is to ride, by the way.”