LAHORE-Mawra Hocane is a screen goddess who reigns with glamour. Just a few years into the showbiz world, the actress has strong sense of script and commercial viability. With each of her roles being carefully picked, Mawra has become one of the favourite actresses in Pakistan’s film industry. With a string of recent super-hits under her belt, she has successfully earned the tag of versatile actress.

She is currently busy in shooting of Nadeem Beyg’s sequel of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani and Hum TV’s top pick period play Aangan. In conversation with The Nation she talks about her career and success. Following are the excerpts:

You are always a star then why you thought of going back to studies?

I don’t think having a degree or a good academic profile and being an actor or a star, as you said, are mutually exclusive. Education is very important. I have always taken my studies very seriously. I had to take a break when I started shooting for Sanam Teri Kasam but I always knew at some point I will need to get back to college to finish what I started. And I am doing that now. I have something against unfinished business you can say.

Usually it is considered that artistes opt for social sciences or art courses what inspired you to have law degree?

I wanted what I study to challenge me, I initially started medical, then fashion designing and dropped out of them all. Law stimulated me a lot mentally. It’s a lot of growth and perspective. I’m lucky my parents, especially my mother, allowed the process of trial and error for me to eventually figure out which subject I wanted to take up. Law has made me a lot more aware of not just local issues but also global matters. Again, I don’t think just because you’re an artist you must also be inclined to study social sciences. You must always pursue what interests you.

How is this degree going to help you in professional and non-professional life?

Education never goes to waste. If nothing at all, it refines you and makes you a better, more knowledgeable person. It’s an internal process. It’s my own achievement which will help me every day in ways I may not be able to list down today.

Is Aangan different from the projects you have worked in the past? What made you sign it?

Yes it is. I consciously try and choose projects that are different and offer something new to my fans. Having said that, the projects offered to me are almost always those with a strong female lead and in that respect Aangan is not different. As for what made me sign it, I have always wanted to do a period project. For one, it’s interesting to transform yourself fully in line with a certain period in time in history. Aangan in particular is a fascinating tale revolving around the journey of Aaliya - a character that’s very close to my heart. I have had to put in a lot of effort to bring this character alive mainly because she happens to be not just the protagonist of Khadija Mastoor’s novel Aangan but also the narrator of the story. Whatever you will see in the tracks is through her eyes and perspective. I hope you all will also notice the hard work that’s gone into it. I am happy because I had a great pool of actors working with me who made work more enjoyable.

With actors now looking at making a career in the west, do you aspire to explore international cinema?

Not just West, I’d like to explore and work in all kinds of cinema. That goes without saying really. It’s part of an actor’s job description.

You’re one of the most popular personalities on social media? How do you maintain that and always surprise your fans with something new?

While I am very grateful for the huge social media following I have, I think at times it gets some unwanted attention particularly now with everyone trying to compete. Honestly, it’s something that started out as a fun activity which I enjoyed a lot. I don’t do anything specific to maintain it, it’s just that most people don’t realise it’s my body of work that’s led to it and the reason why it continues to grow is also because I haven’t stopped working yet.

Do you feel women are making mark in this male-dominated industry?

Of course! If I talk about just my own projects, Sammi was entirely a female-driven project. Aaliya in Aangan too is a very strong lead character. I think our audience has matured and isn’t interested anymore in the run-of-the-mill stuff. And thankfully, our producers too realise that now and are coming up with projects which portray women the way they need to be. However, I don’t personally think it’s a competition between men and women, it’s all about producing and bringing forward great content.

Would you like to tell us about your upcoming projects?

I have got Aangan coming up and there’s JPNA2. These are the ones that have been announced so I can only talk about these. Rest, you will find out soon. Apart from work, I am looking forward to my graduation which is a milestone for me that’ll be achieved and celebrated this year, by me and my fans.