Natasha Hussain indulges in reading purely for pleasure. Confessing to be a slow and choosy reader, Natty, as the ace model is known by her friends and all, likes to snug up on the sofa with a nice book and become totally absorbed in the story. And which is why you will not find just any book in her hands — no, the heavy, philosophical stuff is just not for her.
Natty favours love stories and epic romances such as The Far Pavilions, The Thorn Birds, 79 Park Avenue and If Tomorrow Comes. Regretting the fact that she doesn’t get around to do much reading these days, as is the case with everyone else today, Natty says she has been an avid reader since childhood. She has been an Enid Blyton fan and her large collection of Blyton books like the Famous Five, Secret Seven series and others are in a bookshelf in her father’s house.
“I would save my pocket money to buy the books of Enid Blyton and would not stop until I had bought all that were available. These books are still in my father’s house and my daughter has started reading them. Whenever she goes there, she brings back a few to read. It feels nice to see her enjoying what I used to enjoy once.”
Danielle Steel is another favourite writer of this model-cum actress with a 1000-watt smile. “Basically I am a happy person so I like light stuff, the ‘feel good’ kind of books are the ones that I like to pick up rather than those where the serious social and brooding issues of our world are discussed. I have loved basically all of Danielle Steel’s novels, specially The Ring, The Promise and Zoya.”
The interesting part is that Natasha has gone out of her way to watch the movies made on all the books that she has liked, and enjoyed watching most of them. However, she terms The Godfather trilogy as her all-time favourite movies and she considers them to be the best trilogy ever made. “All the parts of The Godfather are mind-boggling! Each one is as remarkable as the other.”
As time is so precious these days, Natty makes sure that she doesn’t waste it on watching silly and trashy movies so the current Pakistani movies are definitely out and so are most Indian ones — except those starring Shah Rukh Khan. You don’t need to be intelligent to guess why. Natty is a big Shah Rukh fan.
But when she is teased about it, she tries to explain, “You see, most of the Indian movies being made these days have a lot of ‘gand’ in it. As I watch movies with my daughter, I avoid the vulgar kind and Shah Rukh’s movies are usually nice and light, so we invariably end up watching them. I am dying to watch his forthcoming movie Don. His movies are basically fun and that’s what you want to see after a tiring day.”
Natasha remembers with nostalgia the classic movies of Nadeem and Waheed Murad that had wonderful stories and were reasonably directed. Aaina and Zindagi are among her favourite Pakistani movies and she was such a big Waheed Murad fan that when he died, she cried a lot and was simply inconsolable. “He was the ultimate dream hero and there has never been anyone like him in Pakistan,” says the model.
When asked if she would be seen in a Pakistani movie, the model who has dabbled with acting on television, was quick to answer in the negative. “I won’t act in a Pakistani film for any amount of money. Well, maybe for ten crores I will think about it.”
Among her favourite actors are Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas and she thinks Sharon Stone is one of the classiest actress of Hollywood. “Uma Thurman is also fabulous and she was amazing in Pulp Fiction, a movie that I enjoyed too.”
Natasha believes that the local television scene has become better because of the competition that has increased with the advent of so many channels. “I think this is really good because now people are getting more opportunities to present their work and, because of the competition, each one is try to come up with something different and better.
“Rahat and Saira Kazmi are classy actors whose plays, such as Perchaiyan, are landmarks of our television scene. They are actors that most people who step into this field take inspiration from.”
It is clear that Natty favours the era of the seventies and eighties as most of the movies and music that she likes belong to that period. Abba and Bee Gees from the seventies are her all-time favourite groups while the early numbers of Madonna are the ones from the eighties that Natty still listens to.
“Dancing Queen is my all-time favourite and I can never get tired of listening to the other hits of Abba. Basically, for me good music is anything that touches the soul and the music of Abba and Bee Gees have that quality. But frankly, this quality can be found in many genres of music so different kinds of music can appeal at the same kind.”