Sanam Baloch as Mariam Mukhtar, Pakistan's first female fighter pilot to embrace martyrdom
Sanam Baloch as Mariam Mukhtar, Pakistan's first female fighter pilot to embrace martyrdom

She's taken her time to return to acting but morning show host Sanam Baloch has bagged a role of a lifetime.

Sanam's signed on to play Mariam Mukhtar in a homage to the fighter pilot, who was Pakistan's first female fighter pilot to die in the line of duty. She plays the role in a tele-film titled Aik Thi Mariam directed by Sarmad Khoosat and produced by Urdu 1. Umera Ahmed has written the film.

"Urdu1 along with Mehreen Jabbar directly approached me for the tele-film," says Sanam to Images. "Although Mehreen Jabbar is not directing it, she owns the project. Also when I came to know Umera has written it, I couldn’t refuse it. It is the role of Marium Mukhtar, a national hero. This project is particularly for myself, my satisfaction as an actor - although it is extremely challenging to live her life and go through the entire process of training but I have to live [the] life of someone incredible."

For the role, Sanam's gone through a fair bit of pilot training.

"Before the shoot, I had spent first two days with the cadets so I can adapt to their environment and body language at the Air Force Academy. I have a couple of Air force people and trainers at the shoot (set), who are helping me out with it. I am trying my best to replicate the way they move about," she shares

Doing justice to the role of a national hero has its challenges for sure, but Sanam credits Sarmad Khoosat for making the job easier for her.

"People often call Sarmad a maestro, and he is indeed one of them. He knows what he wants from the actor and the camera. He’s studious about his work and I think that’s what makes him Sarmad Khoosat, he can bring out best from anyone. It is such a strenuous routine; plus, the weather is horrid, But he’s on his feet through all this time – and that’s what revitalizes our energy as a team. The captain of the ship is the leader of an entire vessel and he knows how to keep that vessel well floating successfully."

The film, Sanam elaborates, takes us through Mariam's life, "from her training days since she joined the Air Force to her last flight of mission when she embraced martyrdom."

As she wraps up this project, Sanam keeps mum about her future ventures, though she says she has "a couple of projects particularly directed towards my fans. Due to the tight schedule back in Karachi with the morning show, it gets pretty hard for me to sign any serial though."

Aik Thi Mariam airs on Defence Day, September 6.