Maria Wasti today, stands in the list of the most talented actresses of Pakistan. What makes her different from any other actress is her, versatility and charisma. She is still remembered as Bano Qudsia's 'Kallo' solely due to her acting talent. Born in Tanzania, she is the niece of Rizwan Wasti and Tahira Wasti. However, Wasti's parents wanted her to become a doctor; but, as they say, destiny mends ways and today Maria has established herself as one of the most successful female actors. Maria's transformation from a girl-next-door to one of the most beautiful and gorgeous actress is magical.
In a candid chat with HIP! Maria gets personal about her journey so far. Read on
HIP: You spent your early days in Tanzania before moving to Pakistan. How was your childhood like?
Maria Wasti: We lived in East Africa and travelled to many countries; explored many safaris and beaches. My childhood was like a Safari, Africa is a very raw continent, unlike Europe or America. I have great memories of my childhood living there and studying; it was a lot of fun.
HIP: Your parent wanted you to become a doctor and you aspired to be an actor. How did you convince them?
MW: At that time we only had a choice of becoming a doctor or engineer; you never know what life will throw at you. I come from a family that had doctors and actors both. Life happened to me and I chose acting as a career, although there wasn’t any pressure by my parents on what to do and what not to do.
HIP: Did the Wasti connection help you fetch work?
MW: I am very proud of my aunt and uncle were well known and well-respected people in the business. In fact my mother did a couple of plays for some time; otherwise, I didn’t feel the need of using any connections as such. You do get the first chance but ultimately one has to prove his/her mettle.
HIP: Two decades and more… yet portraying the lead protagonist in each project. What’s the magic?
MW: As an actor working over a period of time with many directors and senior co-actors’ I discovered that one should evoke the emotions of the audiences. I do my job with complete honesty, and that’s the magic if people actually relate to you and your character.
HIP: I fell age doesn’t scare you. What’s the formula of Ageing Backward?
MW: Thank you for the compliment! Age is not complex for me; I accept whatever life brings to me. I feel one should find ways to be happy, content and do the best of their capabilities. On the contrary, the phenomena of worrying about your age actually age you more.
HIP: Do you remember the first shot you ever gave? How have you changed over the years?
MW: I remember the play, not the scene; it was a special telefilm ‘Sarah Aur Ammara’ from PTV Lahore directed by Bakhtiar Ahmed. Resham was my costar; I wasn’t aware of the technicalities; we use to work with three cameras within the studio. I just did whatever directions I got. Over a period of time, I got well versed with my footwork, lighting, dialogue delivery, and camera angles. I learned the craft experiencing it on sets; with time it became my second nature. My work gave me the opportunity to travel a lot that boosted my confidence and gave me exposure. I am essentially the same person but with experience, it has enhanced me in many ways.
HIP: When you look back, are there any regrets, anything you would have done differently?
MW: I don’t carry any regrets in life. A decision at a given moment of time, age, circumstances or experience is always correct. If it fails, you can’t carry the burden of it your entire life. In life things aren’t black in white, it’s all grey. I don’t stress out on any regret over a longer period of time in fact mistakes help in making better decisions and discover the various shades of your personality.
HIP: How difficult or easy it has been to stay relevant even now?
MW: Times have changed; the pace has increased, you can’t be stagnant and have to keep moving with the world and changing ideas. For instance, if someone gives me logic to change my point of view on a particular thing and its convincing, I’ll change. I am open to new ideas and try to pick work that is closer to my idea of working.
HIP: You gave everything to your profession. Is that’s why you didn’t get time for your personal life?
MW: No! I haven’t dedicated my life to just work. It’s just one part of my life; I have a fulfilling personal life. My needs are different from someone else’s; I am content and not missing out on anything.
HIP: Why are you still single? What are the advantages of being single?
MW: If I am single I shouldn’t be singled out. (Laughs) Single life is great when you are with someone that too is great. Gone are the days when men and women both spent their life’s being unhappy in the relationship. If you are unhappy, you make people around you unhappy. I’ll stay single until I find somebody I want to be with.
HIP: Some of your Instagram posts suggests that the Keto diet is the reason behind your perfect physique?
MW: Yes I did a ketogenic diet with wellness 360. I did it in a proper way with a nutritionist and a panel of people whom I had to report daily. Due to my work schedule, I can’t afford to do crash diets or eat just salads. I lost around 16 to 17 pounds. Every person is different; so one must choose diets keeping their body mechanism in mind.
HIP: You’ve worked with PTV in the past. How are things different now? Is the job getting easier or harder?
MW: I was a part of the last batch which skimmed through PTV dramas subsequently we had NTM and then private productions. Yes, it was very different; as of now with many channels sprouting, there’s work for everyone. I’ve moved with a positive attitude and change is always good. It’s just that you have to seek your own balance. It’s great to see new people with formal training are joining the field and that’s great.
HIP: What do you look in a script for? As of now are you sure, which script would work and which won't?
MW: Script is the backbone of any project. I make sure while choosing a script that the story must be gripping; how important is my role to the premises and how well it is placed. It’s about the value of my character rather than having more scenes. The screenplay, director, actors, and the production value is secondary.
HIP: When you select a drama, does TRP’s become a parameter?
MW: I have never selected a project on this account; TRP is secondary for me. If the audience relates to my character; TRP’s will follow automatically.
HIP: You have stayed away from films. Don’t you have the lure of money?
MW: I featured in Mehreen Jabbar’s film ‘Ramchand Pakistani’ in 2008. As of now, I won’t pick up anything just to be visible on the screen; it should be interesting, substantial and intriguing. I have done major characters for so many years; if something meaningful comes my way I’ll surely consider. As far as the lure of money is concerned television offers more money than films. Having said that, our film industry is still progressing; I am sure it will be a profitable business for everyone in the near future.
HIP: The outlook towards women has also changed. Does it give you a sense of accomplishment that you have achieved what you set out for?
MW: Yes! It’s amazing to see the changed outlook towards women. Earlier it was a taboo to even address such issues. It’s difficult in the age of social media to brush things under the carpet. I won’t say that women are in a much better position but still, our deepest problems are being registered and discussed in order to solve them. The perceptions are changing that a son is superlative to a daughter and that’s amazing.
HIP: On a happier note, what are you looking forward to 2019? What are your upcoming projects? What is something you are willing to share with your readers that they might not know about you?
MW: I am doing a game show with Bol and a couple of other things in the pipeline. I plan to work less and travel more and take more time off to be with my friends, my pets, read books and watch films. I also plan to grow a garden with plants, herbs, and vegetables. It’s a long list of all the things I haven’t been able to do.