sarwat gilani

Sarwat Gilani is currently basking in the glory of her feature film Joyland, which is gaining tremendous Oscar buzz. If art isn’t confined to political boundaries, the walls of hate can crumble and fall. Actor Sarwat Gilani, one of the biggest names of the Pakistani film and television industry, says artistes across the borders must look for ways to collaborate beyond the geopolitics of the two nations because art, “just like love”, is universal. Sarwat, currently basking in the glory of her feature film Joyland which is gaining tremendous Oscar buzz, speaks from experience. The actor has starred in two Zindagi Original shows, noir anthology series Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam and the acclaimed Churails, the last two streaming on ZEE5. Also Read |Fawad Khan on The Legend of Maula Jatt’s India release getting cancelled: ‘Things are a bit heated still…’ Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam, in fact, recently won Gold at Promax India awards 2022 and Asian Academy Creative Awards for best anthology, an honour she received alongside Pakistani actor Sanam Saeed, Indian producer Shailja Kejriwal (Chief Creative Officer – Special Projects, Zee Entertainment) and British-Indian director Meenu Gaur. In an interview with indianexpress.com, Sarwat shares if she ever had apprehensions to star in an Indo-Pak collaboration, why the win was crucial to put a message of unity in the current climate and what is the responsibility of artistes in both the nations.

sarwat gilani

It Was Very Layered to Say the Least… My Character Mehek is Inside me.

and she would live in me forever. She is one of the most beautiful characters I have done. The show was extremely special, and then to work with our Indian friends and team, they are remarkable. Our processes are done amazingly, they make you feel like a certain somebody, they are so forthcoming with their love, appreciation and help… Then to share the names of these two countries together, that is beautiful. It puts that message across that art together with anyone and everyone is going to be beautiful, it is going to win, it has no boundaries, Zindagi has paved a path to bring talents together from across the border: They get to work with us, we get to work with them… That’s the only way forward, you cannot live in your small bubble and say, ‘We are creative.’ You have to expand, have to expose yourself to art, which, just like love, is universal. Was there ever an apprehension how this collaboration would turn out, considering that the two nations have a history of political tension? Never. Half of my family is from India. I grew up with a lot of Indian culture. To feel, ‘Oh as a celebrity it would affect me, people would not look so kindly towards me’– no. Even if they didn’t, it’s ok. At the end of the day, you have worked 18 years for this country, have had the best of the times. It is time to expand and there is no harm in doing that, because you are not degrading anyone by your craft. You are only spreading inclusion, love, narratives and stories that need to be told across the borders. I am also an activist, so a little bit of that also comes from the fact that, ‘Hey I am a woman, I have a mind, a mouth, so let’s talk.’ It is important for us to not confine art in these small boxes, because that’s not where it belongs. It belongs in the thousands of houses that people want to see some glimpses of what life could possibly be.

sarwat gilani

Why do you think people don’t get this, that art can’t and shouldn’t be confined in boxes?

People do get this. Majority of people get it, ki yaar koi masla nahi hai, jeene do logo ko jis tarah jeena chahte hai (There is no problem, let people live the way they want to). But people, who have bigger agendas or bigger purpose, they have this opinion. They are set in such positions where their opinions matter. Out of ten thousand people, there will be 500 who don’t connect with you and that’s fine because not everyone has to agree with you. But it just so happens that they are in a position to say something, and it does matter. What that does is, that marks the death of art… There will always be people who do not agree with this collaboration and maybe feel uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great collaboration. We go to New York, we work with actors over there, we travel and work with international artistes, so why can’t we do it here? What’s the big deal? Keep art out of it. Also Read |Sajal Aly, Kubra Khan slam allegations that actresses being used as ‘honey trap’ by Pakistan army: ‘Morally debased, ugly’ Does it frustrate you sometimes? No, because what is meant to come to me will eventually come to me. That’s the beauty of being this little artiste with a paint brush in this big canvas– of media, social media, communities, skin, colour, languages, accents. Imagine the number of things we are given to play with, it is remarkable. It is what you do with it that matters. To never give up on hope, and to always hope that we will penetrate through this hate that has been done for a very selfish reason at some point. And it will penetrate because you can’t stop heartbeats, you can’t stop people from living.

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