Sitting across the table in a white t-shirt which reads “sometimes the king is a woman”, Mansha Pasha is a name that has paved her way into the entertainment industry through her remarkable performances. Although her debut TV drama was Humsafar, she rose to fame after her performance in Zindagi Gulzar Hai. Having 30 plays to her name including upcoming drama Surkh Chandni, her debut film Chalay Thay Saath was applauded and now, she awaits the release of her next movie Laal Kabootar which is likely to enthral the audience, yet again.
In an exclusive conversation with Something Haute, the actress revealed what the title of the film ‘Laal Kabootar’ signifies for her, “for me as a person, it signifies our inner-most desires and what we need to do in order to achieve them.”
The film which encapsulates Karachi like never before, stars Ahmed Ali Akbar, Ali Kazmi and Rashid Farooqi in pivotal roles. Telling a story about a city which comes with such a tumultuous history can be challenging, however, Mansha shared that she did not feel intimidated during the whole process.
“When I read the script and met the director (Kamal Khan), I realized that he is very authentic to his own culture and loves Pakistan and the city despite its ups and downs so, I didn’t have any fears. I didn’t feel that he would do something that would make me uncomfortable or answerable because it’s in our film. He has the sensibility to deal with the topic and I understood that.”
She is a perfectionist by virtue so there hasn’t been a project through the course of her career which fully satisfied her. Therefore, we took the opportunity to ask if she felt the need to do more in Laal Kabootar.
“I haven’t seen the film as it is still in London for sound design but, other than two projects in my entire career, I constantly feel I could have done better. But, it comes with the job and that sense of perfection where you just want to do more. Since I haven’t watched the film, I cannot really say anything right now, but maybe after I’ve watched it I can pick something.”
The trailer has received a positive response, but after watching the film, what would the audience be thinking about when they are in their cars, on their way back home?
“My first film (Chalay Thay Saath) was a smooth sailing film and I knew it wasn’t going to evoke any great emotion. But this movie; you will either love it or hate it. It’s going to evoke great emotion so, I think in the car, on their journey back, there will be people who would say, ‘dude, I love this film’ or people who’d say ‘I didn’t like this’ because the film demands a reaction. So, it is either up your alley or it isn’t. But, it’s a good thing; to be working on something you know is going to cause a reaction and makes for good conversation,” she said with hope in her eyes.
Her character in the film is dealing with grief and loss which is Mansha’s greatest fear in real life. How did she deal with her fear head-on?
“It is very close to me because my character is dealing with loss and she’s trying to figure her way through it and I could certainly relate to the emotional impact of it. I don’t like the absolute; when you suddenly stop talking to someone or someone is no longer part of your life, I find it difficult to process that.”
When asked what are her three unknown qualities as an actor she said, “I ask a lot of questions because I feel like I need to get a proper grasp of what I am doing. If I am in the dark, I cannot realistically portray something.
Other than that, I don’t like to watch my own work especially with people around, I end up leaving the room. When my first play Zindagi Gulzar Hai went on air, I planned a trip abroad so, I never heard of the initial reaction. I think it’s because I am my worst critic and unfortunately, I take other people’s opinion very seriously. I don’t want the audience to feel cheated and I feel the weight of expectations on my shoulders which is probably not even coming from their end,” she chuckled.
“Luckily, with this film, I’ll be watching it on March 19 at the Lahore premiere without friends and family so, I’ll get time to ease into it before Karachi’s premiere. My third quality would be that I enjoy doing unique projects. I have realized I am more successful when I take risks than when I don’t. When I follow my gut feeling, things turn out to be better for me,” she continued.
After the film, she will be seen playing her first negative character as an acid attack perpetrator in Surkh Chandni. However, she now wants to opt for lighter roles.
“I really want to do a rom-com film, really badly. Ahmed [Ali Akbar] is known for his rom-com roles and I’ve always been known for hard-hitting characters which are interesting to do but, my appetite for such roles is satisfied now. So, I am willing to do lighter stuff, more like a biopic or a period drama or maybe fantasy. But, I don’t know if that’s asking for too much.”
Towards the end, she added that although everyone who is going to watch Laal Kabootar will find a connection because it is not far from reality, however, in its essence, the movie does not demand relatability rather it demands that the audience becomes part of the journey. Produced by Hania and Kamil Chima, the film is slated for release on March 22 nationwide.