She is cheerful, vibrant and full of life. She is an actor, writer, model, stage performer, Radio Jockey and Director Programs at ‘Kuch Khaas’. She has been a part of Islamabad theater and has acted in some plays like ‘The Suicide’, ‘The Producers’ ‘Come Again’, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Some Like It Hot’, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, ‘Moulin Rouge’, and ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, though she is more recognized for ‘Slackistan’. She is a Film Enthusiast too. While talking to The News Tribe (TNT), she was like:
TNT: What’s your biggest regret?
Shahana: I don’t really think I have a massive regret. In general, I regret the times I’ve let people down. I know that it was all a part of my own growth. I was learning and I’ve worked at mending broken bridges but again, I don’t like hurting people and feel terrible about that times that I have. Other than that, I believe every single thing we go through is a stepping stone towards what we’re meant to be. And if you’re happy with what you are, you must’ve done something right.
TNT: What would you like to be known as? Is it an actress, an RJ or anything else?
Shahana:I’d like to be primarily known as an actress, which is something I realize I need to work towards projecting as well. This is because that’s where my real passion lies. Other than that, I want to be known for everything that I do. I’m pretty multi-faceted and I believe that we need to explore every little part of our personalities. So I’d like to have worked in everything that I’m naturally inclined towards be it even if it is RJ-ing, writing, directing, community work, singing, whatever really.
TNT: Being an artist, what are your biggest expectation, desire and wish?
Shahana: The biggest desire for any artist is to get one’s work out in a way that really expresses his or her vision and feelings and hope that it strikes a chord or resonates with people. Artists express universal themes and ideas in ways that we don’t commonly see them. Filmmakers tell stories of people that we relate to irrespective of cultural divide. So I’d like to be able to just create and produce whatever and hope that someone gets it. I think the challenge is actually getting your work out there, that’s my trouble any way. It takes discipline and structure that I’d like to work on achieving. After that, we dwell on reception.
TNT: What kind of people you hate the most and love the most?
Shahana: Hate is such a strong word. I don’t think I truly hate people because I have the terrible knack of seeing things through other perspectives. It’s a natural approach to try and see things through the other side. And when you do that, you become more understanding towards other people’s actions, irrespective of how bad they are. Overall, I dislike people who belittle or demean other people. I don’t like people who are unnecessarily rude. I don’t like people who break my trust. Dealing with people who are overly sensitive is a task but I’d love them nonetheless. That’s pretty standard. I love people who dream and allow not only themselves but others to be all that they can be. I love people who care about other people and really go the extra mile without expectation. Those people are seriously unique.
TNT: How do you define strength of a woman and how can she make use of her strengths?
Shahana: Women are compassionate. We have the capacity to see people in a way that men might take time to understand. We can empathize quicker. And this makes us more understanding. And if you’re more understanding, you’d better be smart, something that women might not be. If you’re smart enough, you’re better equipped to know just how to handle people. That is a strength- the kind that can almost be controlling and manipulative if in the wrong hands. Anyhow, in order to empower one’s self, the cliché is to understand and believe in your own worth. If you know you’re not crazy and that you do stand for something, that you are indeed worth something, stick to that. And use your compassion to be empathetic enough to have your voice heard without causing a conflict. Easily said than done, I know. But I just feel that we can be smarter about the way we project ourselves. There’s always a method to the madness.
TNT: What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Shahana: Perfect happiness? That’s a paradox in itself. Nothing is ever perfect. Yet that is what makes things perfect. It’s funny. To be happy is to be content, to feel accomplished, to be generous, to love and to feel and actually be loved.
TNT: How do you take criticism on your work?
Shahana: My instant reaction is annoyance. But that lasts for literally five seconds before good logic rushes in. Criticism is natural. If you’re going to put yourself out there, you can’t expect to be loved by all. That’s ridiculous. Take criticism in your stride. Listen to the good stuff, filter out the bad stuff. Be intelligent about how you take criticism and how you react to people’s opinions on you. There’s no need to trash anyone that doesn’t necessarily like your work but you mustn’t let it bring you down to a point that makes you hate yourself or the world either. That’s plain immaturity.
TNT: What are some of the obstacles you went through being an artist?
Shahana: First and foremost obstacle was and is always myself. That’s a constant war. But I’m hopefully winning that one. Other obstacles are the generic ones like family concerns, society, working in Pakistan, industry stuff. Honestly, you get past everything if you let and force yourself.
TNT: What’s the biggest disadvantage of success?
Shahana: The need to always trump yourself, which isn’t so bad if you think about it. It eventually makes your journey really organic and inspires you to create more growth through your achievements. But if you’re hard on yourself, like I tend to be, it might get to you. You want to continuously go forward. It’s only natural.
TNT: What is your message to readers?
Shahana: Life is worth the experience. You need to get out and try things you haven’t simply because you never know what will inspire you, what might teach you. Don’t ever hold back when it comes to you and in the same way. Never hold someone else’s back from following through with whatever it is that inspires them. We each have our own paths. People need to be encouraged, not hindered.
Photo by: Fatima Haroon