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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Jaisi Apki Marzi: Mikaal Zulfiqar on Sherry’s Unapologetic Character

Mikaal began by shedding light on the uniqueness of the character Sherry, recognizing the rarity of roles that unapologetically depict toxic traits.

In a recent interview with BBC Urdu, Mikaal Zulfiqar, a renowned Pakistani actor, discussed his groundbreaking portrayal of the character Sherry in the TV serial “Jaise Apki Marzi.” During the conversation, he delved into the intricacies of his character, and the challenges of tackling intense roles, and shared candid thoughts on the dynamics of the Pakistani entertainment industry. Additionally, Mikaal touched upon the issue of India exploiting Pakistani artists.

Mikaal began by shedding light on the uniqueness of the character Sherry, recognizing the rarity of roles that unapologetically depict toxic traits. He credited the scriptwriter for crafting a compelling narrative that deviated from the more conventional female-driven dramas.

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“Toxic individuals seldom acknowledge their toxicity. However, we must credit Sherry for at least being unabashedly true to himself. I would also like to acknowledge the writer for creating such a compelling script. I agreed to portray Sherry because it was a character with depth. Typically, our dramas are led by female characters, where the female protagonist propels the narrative forward. However, in this case, it was the opposite.”

The actor confessed to a degree of selfishness in accepting the role, driven by the belief that Sherry’s complexity would provide an opportunity to showcase his acting prowess. Despite Sherry’s dominating and overpowering demeanor in scenes with Alizeh’s character, Mikaal discovered a space for artistic expression, and the positive reception from the audience validated his decision.

“To be frank, there was nothing admirable about Sherry. In all the scenes, he dominates Alizeh’s character, displaying overpowering traits. It didn’t inspire me in real life. However, as an actor, I saw a lot of room for exploration. You could say I was somewhat selfish in accepting this script because I believed it would allow me to shine. And indeed, I did, which is wonderful.”

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When asked about encountering individuals like Sherry in real life, Mikaal Zulfiqar drew inspiration from society, personal experiences, and interactions with narcissistic personalities. Reflecting on challenging scenes, he emphasized his commitment to maintaining a natural flow in his performance. Mikaal stated, “I tried to keep things natural, and that’s what I’m receiving compliments for as well. I didn’t try to force anything. I could’ve taken pauses, and delivered my dialogues with emphasis on certain words, but I wanted to deliver everything fluently. People are calling it my best performance to date, and I wouldn’t disagree with that.”

The conversation then shifted to the impact of intense characters on an actor. Mikaal acknowledged that the roles an actor plays can leave a lasting mark, prompting him to be selective about the characters he portrays. “Even if you’re acting, you’re still performing an act (real or not) that that character would. I understood this seven years ago, and I became very careful about the kind of characters I play. When I was offered the character that Ahsan Khan plays in ‘Udaari,’ that of a child molester, I rejected it because I didn’t want to play that out. I have daughters of my own.”

Discussing “Jaise Apki Marzi,” Mikaal highlighted the drama’s focus on red flags in relationships. “Jaise Apki Marzi is about the red flags we tend to overlook in relationships earlier on and its consequences later in life. Mostly women can relate to it because they feel their husbands or their ex-husbands were exactly like this. It saddens me. I think if this drama can help people spot these red flags earlier on, it’s served its purpose. And this isn’t just for women, but men too. Women can be toxic as well.”

In a candid revelation, Mikaal addressed his experiences working in India, noting that while he has received positive feedback from Indians, he believes Pakistani artists have been exploited in the Indian entertainment industry. He clarified that his comments weren’t fueled by animosity but a call for a leveled playing field. “I said what I said based on my own experience, and everyone knows the history behind this working relationship. Not just me, but a lot of artists have been exploited in India. Deep down, Indians are great. So much of my feedback I get from Indians, and I have a lot of interaction with them. But some parts of India or some people, especially the Indian establishment, whenever they get the chance, they paint us in a negative light. To be clear, I don’t have any enmity against them, but the playing field needs to be leveled.”

Mikaal concluded by discouraging Pakistani actors from thinking they need to work in India to be successful. “It’s also wrong for Pakistani actors to think that they need to work in India to be superstars.”