Studio lights and the camera transform Aisha Khan into a glamourous, doe-eyed, full lipped woman with a sensuous vulnerability comparable to screen goddesses like Madhubala, Marilyn Monroe, and the late Tahira Naqvi who reigned yesteryear PTV.
She is also very different from the regular TV starlets and a lot of people understandably ask her what she is doing in showbiz. Initially, she worked with PTV directors and found them very professional. “They made me feel comfortable and secure. After my first play went on air, I got offers from all over and I felt like such a star. But then I went back to Canada for what I really wanted to do…to study architecture and interior designing. While I was there I heard that my projects had won awards.”
On her return from Canada, she was again flooded with offers. “I thought nobody gives you a second chance, especially with so many girls around!”
She has done three popular serials, Man-o-Salwa, Maane Na Ye Dil and Khamoshiyan. “My role in Khamoshiyan was a real challenge. I really had to think out-of-the-box for it.” In it Aisha plays a psychotic woman who is “loud, obnoxious, extremely possessive and I can’t relate to any of those things. I am a laidback sort of a person as far relationships go. While she is dependent I am the exact opposite.”
But the project closest to Aisha’s heart is Maane Na Ye Dil. “We all believed in it from day one. You know how you read a script and know that this is going to be it? Right from the beginning to the end all of the actors were a part of each dialogue, each episode, what the next twist can be, how we can end this. I had never worked with Faisal Rehman before and it was a dream come true. He is perfect as Shaheer. Deepti is very strongheaded and is very much her character; Qureshi is a hopeless romantic and that’s what he plays. There was a lot of me in Kiran, but I can’t exactly say that Roshni is also me.”
In Zeba Bakhtiar’s Mehmaan, Aisha was flaunted in the promos but had limited frames in the serial. “I had never done a gaon ki larki or something even remotely as unglamourous. Zeba saw my Pathan roots and convinced me to do three episodes. Sometimes things don’t turn out as you expect. I will to be more careful while choosing projects in future. I don’t want to do the overly dramatic, ronay dhonay walay roles. I want to stand out in an offbeat manner and make sure that I look natural.”
While she enjoys working with Faisal Rehman, Noman Ijaz and Sania Saeed, Aisha says she would love to work with Nadia Jamil, and Mehreen Jabbar as well. “All the roles that I have ever wanted to do I have. Now I want to do some glamourous ones and I would love to do a Khuda Kay Liye. There is so much noise about Indian films but I am not pushed. I would probably do an art film…the thumka latka jhatka is just not me. In romantic films a halka phulka thing is okay but pure hardcore commercial film…I don’t think so.”
“Loud, obnoxious, extremely possessive... I can’t relate to any of those things. I am a laidback person as far as relationships go. While my character is dependent, I am the exact opposite,” says Aisha Khan
Aisha almost never appears in talk shows or events as she says she doesn’t want to be in anything that she doesn’t want to be a part of. “There are people out there who have done nothing but are on television talk shows from different TV channels repeating themselves over and over again.”
For Aisha acting has become a responsibility. “It is what makes me work harder. When you first get in you don’t think that you’re ever going to make it. Recently I went through a bad phase. They say you get depressed when you are at the highest point in your career. Once you’re there and take a breather, you look back and realise that in your determination to get there you lost a lot on the way. People say horrible things and when they can’t criticise your work, they criticise you. They talk rubbish, get jealous, conspire…and at some point it does bog you down. I confront professional jealousies all the time, not just women but the men, too. In the end you are left wondering if there is really anybody whom you can trust. It is best to quit when you are at your peak. Because in showbiz, downfall comes as fast as the rise.”
Aisha plays outright modest when it comes to her good looks. “What beauty? There is none. It is just genes, having a Punjabi dad and a Pathan mom worked for me.”
Marriage is definitely on the cards. “I am a very homely desi person. I am not looking for marriage but if it happens, it will. I think you should go through a handful of relationships so you know what you want and what you’re looking for. But there should only be one marriage and try and make it work.”
So what’s next? Aisha’s eyes twinkle as she smiles, “Just watch out for me.”
First reaction to fame: What the hell is happening?!
Idea of a perfect evening out: The typical…flowers, candlelit dinner, maybe a movie.
What kind of people can you relate to the most: Secure people.
Ultimate role you would like to play: None, really.
Biggest challenge in life so far: Trying to sugar-coat everything I say. I’m very blunt.
Are you superstitious about luck/karma/horoscope: Yes.
Who would you like to be on a desert island with: Imran Khan
Favourite way to chill out: Popcorn, movie, friends, my couch.
Favourite clothes to hang out in: Jeans and a T-shirt.
What does money mean to you: Little more shopping.
How would you rate yourself as an actress on a scale of 1 to 10: 8ish.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years: Somewhere around here, not necessarily acting, maybe directing, married with one kid at least!
All time favourite film: Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
All time favourite music: Anything by U2
All time favourite food: Pasta, biryani.
Your man should smell of: Doesn’t matter. But better always smell good.
A present you can’t say no to: Diamonds!
What puts you in a bad mood: Poor personal hygiene, being stingy.
One thing you really like about yourself: Hardworking, focused.