'She is what we want!!!'… Yes, if a popularity poll is conducted on Maria Wasti, the outcome would no doubt confirm that line. In a time when we face a serious drought of talented actors emerging from our showbiz scene Maria is the needle in the haystack. A brilliant off-spring of the industry, she has worked her way up to the razzle-dazzle that surrounds her now. Her illuminated existence now pulls a tremendous fan following and when standing back to take a look, one gets the feeling that it's not just the pull of 'Maria the actress' anymore that's making the difference but an essential ingredient to her success is her gleaming personality as more people learn about 'Maria the person'.Her magnetic performances not only keep you glued to your seat but bespeak volumes on her maturity as an artiste and a person. So how did she get here? And what are her views on some of the industry's hot topics? We try to conclude in her latest interview with telepk.
Maria has always displayed the maneuvering ability of a frontline professional. Never have we heard anybody complaining about her. She is punctual, dedicated and versatile and that's exactly why she excels among her contemporaries. It's not like she arrived into the industry with a bang and had a red carpet rolled out for her, in fact she had to struggle hard and invest her two hundred percent in return for where she stands today. "I believe that whatever is done with sincerity is bound to meet success," she explains, "and sincerity in our profession means delivering your role's requirements to the fullest, becoming the character you are playing. As compared to other professions this one stands as a very demanding field due to the instant feedback and rapid response for the work you do and it can often be quite surprising. The good response of your fans guarantees the stability of your career and the bad refers to your departure to the pavilion with a duck. So generally it's not as easy as is normally perceived."
From the superficial we decide to move to the professional. The first thing that I really want to know is the criteria she uses before selecting a role and if that has changed if she compares with her early career days. "Let me tell you the second part of the question first…" her cheeks bubble up with that chubby smile she is well known for, "one can't ever compare the period of struggling days with the period when one actually becomes successful. 'Cause at the latter period when you really get a foothold or are at the threshold of your career, when your name starts selling like hot cakes, you become very, very selective of what comes your way. Your image becomes your real wealth and you can't agree to take more chances. Whereas the struggling period is where you take what you get and compromise on your artistic preferences. Getting yourself registered in the showbiz world is the only standing criteria you apply. Coming back to the first part of the question, today my priorities are quite well defined as now I have to care for the people who associate high expectations with me and the roles which I select to perform. So this is the point where my responsibilities double and as an artiste I believe this, sans any doubt is very, very important."
For Maria Wasti, life is an experience, something that helps you evolve and sometimes at the end you get to know a total surprise side of your personality. Drama is the replica of life. It's exactly the same, the way life proceeds, grows and ends in real moments. The only difference is the ending that you get to see earlier than real life. "I don't really feel any major difference between the two," Maria explains and continues, "Drama is just another facet of life and you may even deem it as a precise extension of the first. It stems from the experiences that one amasses and helps you learn by putting yourself in the shoes of different characters and how they interact with a range of various other characters. All of my roles teach me a lesson about life and the people, relations and situations we have in it. I have matured in the course of my career quite positively and that is something I thank the Lord for. He helped me get here and fulfill my acting ambitions".
In Economics, growth is equal to the per capita income minus one's spending. But in life, growth is the experience that one amasses during his or her struggling days. It means a rise in your conceiving and perception level, developing the horse sense to look at flops in the eye, and picking up the abilities of a trouble shooter. And Maria stands as a perfect practical precedent in support of this argument. With her spanking new looks that give her that million dollar face, she is now enjoying the real savor of triumph which seems to have become her slave. "Success has never been my aim," she says and continues, "What I have strived for, in my entire showbiz career, is to cultivate a good rapport as an artiste who knows her job. I wanted to see people bracketing me with Roohi Bano, Khalida Riyasat and Uzma Apa. In order to attain that, I have really worked painstakingly and I'm happy that I have not disappointed my fans," she says with satisfaction.
Actors are not exactly known to be the most successful directors or producers. It is quite a tough job, a huge task. It's like keeping all the balls in the air and many say it's not easy to juggle with acting and production together. But for Maria, production is something where she discovers herself with each new take and with every changing frame. "Production has really taught me what I have been ignorant of till now. I hadn't realized the fun of being behind the camera before and if I would have tasted it earlier then definitely you guys would have seen me as a producer so many years ago. It's like nurturing your own baby and with every passing moment the excitement doubles. And when the final product comes, you feel yourself to be the happiest person on the surface of this earth." She opens up excitingly. But how does it feel when your baby slaps you right in front of everyone else, I mean when your project falls flat on the ground? "Obviously it feels bad, but of course nobody can guarantee a hit all the time. But I have realized when the product of a new actor turns flop; things are unnecessarily blown out of proportion. There are other producers who give flops too but when an actor-turned-director or producer gives one, he is professionally lynched. My grouse is why in hell should an artiste's stock take a double beating if his baby fares badly at the box office? Give him a chance to survive. Maybe next time he would come up with something really big. It's all about learning from our mistakes right?" she argues.
Competition always gives room to improvement and that's probably because it is always deemed as a reason of the vertical graph of a subject's growth. In every field without exception we notice some sort of competition going on, so what about this industry? Do the artistes believe in competition? "I don't look at other artistes as my competitors 'cause for me, every time you look at somebody else you lose out on time to perk yourself up. When comparing, one can start feeling insecure for no reason. I look at my job as my job and that's possibly why there's no such thing as competition for me. I believe that all that rational comparison serves is engendering insecurity. This is certainly not the case with me because, in short, I don't compare." Maria's excuses could be right in one way, but aren't awards like the PTV Awards, Pride of Performance, Graduate Awards etc given after comparing performances? Isn't it, in the end, a competition? "I don't think so" she differs. Reading my thoughts a few worry lines erupt on her eye brow and she continues, "An award is basically a source of appreciation - something that is normally given when one is being appreciated by the masses for a certain job well done. I can safely say, separating any bias, that I've never delivered a good performance just to achieve an award. Like I said earlier, my roles help me mature and fulfill my acting ambition. As for those who work to deliver good performances with awards as targets, well they can do their thing and I'll do mine."
"Quality is better than quantity", is an age-old adage but its something that we have to believe in, even today. In Maria's case the things called 'priorities' seem pre-defined. She doesn't want to see her name topping the cast list of every second play that gets on air. "I don't know why people seem interested in having their faces plastered on screens! I have always preferred to refrain from such kind of roles which refuse to give any margin for performance. All my characters in my plays have been radically different. What I really enjoy is to keep the audience guessing about what is going to pop up next. I always choose intense scripts where I find my role an expressive one, with more to do, 'cause the harder it gets, the more of a challenge it becomes. And for me, challenging roles are what nurture a seasoned artist… someone who can portray any role and really grip the audience with a show of emotions on the screen."
Sometimes Maria Wasti feels to be a misfit candidate in an industry where one is supposed to reach out to the big wigs if he or she desires to get a meaty role. "I don't want to reach out to anybody. A talented artiste doesn't need to hard-sell herself to get special favors. Like every other field, groupism is not something that happens on the showbiz scene out of the blue. Here you can easily find many who go by camps or schools." For some people the excuse is to avoid being type cast while others do it for their peace of mind so they don't get cheated by new people mushrooming to the showbiz scene. But for Maria Wasti it's definitely not an excuse as she remains in peace as long as she is admired by her fans. "I have never appreciated to confine myself to certain conventional heroine roles as most of the so called big banners have pre-set rules of production. If I had such intentions, I'd be signing roles with the who's who of the industry. But that has never been a thumb rule for me and neither would it be in future 'cause the substance of a role matters to me the most"