Wajeeha Tahir is very selective in her acting projects, which has resulted in her small but admirable body of work. This actress entered the Pakistani drama industry in the late 1990’s with the sitcom Teen Bata Teen. She then continued to appear in both comic and serious dramas, in most of which she acted along with her husband Ali Tahir, such as Monsoon, Junoon Mein Jitni Bhi Guzri and Ghuroor. Her other memorable works include Shashkil, Pataal, Do Chaar Baras Ki Baat Nahi, Pooray Chand Ki Raat and Sitara, the last one being a part of a series which she produced herself. After having produced this series titled Taj Classics which went on air on HUM TV, Wajeeha Tahir left showbiz to give time and attention to her daughter and to bring her up on her own. Now that she has planned to make a comeback after more than a decade, I interviewed her to ask what she has in store for the viewers.
When artists make comeback, they usually go for new things to make themselves more visible. Asif Raza Meer went into production. Nadia Khan chose vlogging. Do you wish to exhibit some other talents of yours besides acting?
I will be thrilled enough to focus on acting, but if I were to branch off into the areas of showbiz that I would feel passionate about exploring, then it would be as a producer. The whole process of putting together a project from its initial developing stage to the actual project requires an immense amount of organizing which excites me and which I see myself as being good at.
If you get a chance to produce a sitcom for the modern times, what are the things you will focus on?
If and when I produce a sitcom, I would want to focus on a couple of things. I would have all new and fresh group of actors and a witty scriptwriter to name a few. I would also take some practical steps which would facilitate a comfortable and healthy working environment.
Still from 'Koi Tou Ho'
Adeel and Mira Hashmi are Faiz’s descendants whose poetry is based on serious subject matters. Mandana Zaidi is a family member of Nayyara Noor whose solemnity is still popular. You and Ali Tahir belong to the family of Imtiaz Ali Taj whose most famous play Anarkali had a tragic end. But when all of you came together, you produced extremely hilarious and humorous pieces like Teen Bata Teen and Shashlik. Why is that so?
Coming up with comedy seemed like the most natural thing to do as it serves an equal and powerful message across the viewers and is just as satisfying for us as actors too. Whereas Anarkali, Taj Sahib’s masterpiece is concerned, it is only one of his writings and he has also penned down one of the most hilarious characters in Literature, Chachha Chakkan.
You attained an MA degree in English Literature from Kinnaird College. Has your education in Literature helped you form a better understanding of your characters?
It was because of my education that I got the opportunity to read some of the brilliant writers and that in itself expands the horizon of recognizing, understanding and impacting the emotional lives of people. It also introduced me to the concept of ‘reading between the lines’. So, I do feel that it is an added benefit.
Still from 'Pooray Chand Ki Raat'.
You love to read and readers often turn into writers. Have you ever thought of moving towards writing?
I do love to read but haven’t thought of moving towards writing yet.
How easy or difficult is it to snap out from influential characters; ‘Beenish’, ‘Chunni’ and ‘Sitara’ in your case?
It was no big deal in the case of characters like ‘Beenish’ and ‘Chunni’ but playing ‘Sitara’ was different. I felt the pain, the frustration and the social pressure which she experienced in the story and snapping out did require tons of effort.
Still From 'Sitara'
Being an actor and a female one, how has the society treated you?
Being a female actress gave me the opportunity to reach out to people, and I was blessed with an astounding amount of love, respect and appreciation from their side. I appreciate it and hold it very close to my heart, and am truly grateful for so much support and admiration.
Still from 'Junoon Mein Jitni Bhi Guzri'
Wajeeha Tahir’s versatility is evident from the fact that she has often worked simultaneously in different genres. While Teen Bata Teen, the highly popular sitcom was on air, Wajeeha was also doing her serious drama serial, Monsoon along. Similarly, she not only became the ‘Sitara’ of Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj, but also the ‘Goongi Joru’ penned by him who wouldn’t stop speaking after her disability is treated.
Consistency, honesty and truthfulness to herself are the characteristics of Wajeeha, who cannot be easily swept off her feet and forced to do something that she does not want to. She is a woman who gives time to one thing at a time, and puts her heart and soul into it. The reason why I interviewed her for the second time is because she is a person who listens to the questions carefully, takes time to reflect on them and then responds with rich answers which benefit the interviewer as well. Focus, attention and organization are the things one can learn from Wajeeha Tahir .