Malika Zafar rose to fame for playing 'Milli' in the super successful HUM TV drama Udaari which was directed by Ehteshamuddin and penned by Farhat Ishtiaq. Not only did it raise awareness about child abuse, it also broke stereotypes. Malika's character was unusual and empowering in itself; she played a drummer, challenged the norms and believed in equal opportunity for all.
A character this different from the usual automatically makes it to our Hip in Pakistan list, therefore we got in touch with Malika for an exclusive interview.
Here is everything you need to know about the multi-talented Malika Zafar
HIP: Tell us a little about your background?
Malika Zafar: I realised that I loved acting when I took a course in acting during summer school at Harvard. My teacher was brilliant. I was also overwhelmed by the fact that he had been my favourite actor, Meryl Streep’s, teacher at Yale. I then went on to study acting in Mumbai and finally did a one year conservatory program in method acting from the Lee Strasberg Film and Theatre Institute in New York. Since then I have done a number of plays, a couple of short films and a feature film.
HIP: Do you prefer theatre, television or film?
MZ: Theatre most definitely! The other two have their own charm but theatre is where you have the most freedom to experiment and be creative.
HIP: What kind of roles would you like to do in the future?
MZ: I'd like to do roles that challenge the status quo, not surrender to it. Roles that make people question their own beliefs and biases.
HIP: Who is favourite actor and actress from the Pakistani entertainment industry?
MZ: I love Saamiya Mumtaz's effortless acting and Bushra Apa's versatility and vigour. I think Fawad Khan was great in Kapoor and Sons.
HIP: How was the feedback for Udaari? How was your experience acting in such a dynamic series?
MZ: The response was overwhelming. I'm so lucky to have been part of this project because I think it has raised awareness and changed attitudes towards child sexual abuse.
HIP: Your role as “Milli” was not conventional considering the portrayal of women in Pakistani drama industry. Was that a choice or you went through the script closely before the play?
MZ: I loved the character as soon as I was briefed about it and continued to do so once I read the script. Milli was unconventional in several ways; She was a drummer and she challenged class divisions - she had the ability to relate to others as human beings irrespective of their social status.
HIP: What is your beauty and fitness regime?
MZ: Lots of water, gym and trying to eat food that is organic
HIP: Your favourite travel destination for holidays?
MZ: I love being by the seaside. I think Maldives is by far the most spectacular place I have visited
HIP: What is your dream role?
MZ: To play Lady Macbeth in a localised adaptation of Macbeth
HIP: Whats next for you in terms of work?
MZ: I have a couple of projects lined up. You will see me in them soon!
HIP: Tell us more about your journey of learning dance and discovering yourself through this art form?
MZ: I loved dancing ever since I was three years old. At the age of 5, I started learning Bharatnatyam from Mrs Indu Mitha, a leading practitioner of the art and an exceptionally committed teacher. When I’m dancing my mind and body are fully engaged with the present moment. Dance has helped me to develop a reverence for the human body. Dance for me is like meditation with movement.
Best of luck Malika! We at HIP can not wait to see more of your work!