I learn a lot from the young people I work with, says Nimra Bucha

I learn a lot from the young people I work with, says Nimra Bucha

Nimra gets candid about her favourite storytelling medium, what a typical day in her life looks like and future projects
26 Oct, 2017

Nimra Bucha, a Karachi-born theatre, television, radio and film actor, visited Islamabad to perform in 'Mushk', a powerful play that also starred Sania Saeed.

Directed by Kanwal Khoosat and written by Raabiaa Qadir and Seemal Numan, the play drew standing ovations from the Islamabad audience. Dawn caught up with Ms Bucha to talk about her experience of performing in Islamabad and her career as an actor.

Dawn: How was the experience like performing in Islamabad?

Nimra Bucha (NB): The play went really well. We came a week earlier to meet people in the capital. I find that Islamabad is very receptive to new things. Every city is different. we performed 'Mushk' first in Lahore and then brought the play here. We had a full house both nights and the audience was very enthusiastic. It’s interesting how a particular turn of phrase or dialogue draws a response from the audience in one city and something completely different works in another.

Dawn: What got you started in or interested in performing? Do you have a mentor or are you inspired by anyone in particular?

NB: I believe there has to be something in your personality that draws you to this sort of field where you want to get up on stage. I started young, participating in all my school plays. I come from a conservative family which was not very excited about this sort of field – when I was going away to study, I was allegedly going to be a very learned sort of person – but I was drawn to theatre.

I acted in 'Marnay Ke Baad Kya Ho Ga', a play my husband wrote and after we moved abroad, I would come back and perform occasionally. Initially, most of my work was in theatre and radio in London where I did voiceover work. I started television much later in Pakistan.

Poster for Mushk
Poster for Mushk

Having a mentor would have made me a better performer but every time you work with someone new, you learn something. I learn a lot from the young people I work with and Sania and I pick up a lot of things from each other.

Dawn: Of the various media you have worked in – theatre, television, film – which is your favourite and why?

NB: Theatre is my favourite as I love live performances, audience participation and the immediate response.

It is very organic whereas everything else is processed, packaged and then sent out. Theatre keeps you alive as a performer.

Television is harder for me to do because there are so many factors beyond your control.

Dawn: What is a typical day like for you?

NB: Days when I am not working on a project are spent troubleshooting – water, electricity, feeding people, something breaking down. I love walking and I have a dog, a toddler and a son in college. A lot of time is spent with the little one which is a joy.

While I am working, especially in the process of the stage play, the routine is very different. After a performance you have to get a good night’s rest and sometimes it’s difficult to unwind. You’re thinking about lines, rehearsals and you know how your energy ebbs and flows during a day. This does discipline you though.

Dawn: What projects do you have lined up in the future?

NB: We’re going to be in Berlin for 10 months and I’m hoping to work with a theatre company there. I’ve done a lot of festival work so I see myself watching a lot of theatre and working with people working on their projects.

There are a couple of stage scripts that I’m either writing, adapting or collaborating with others over. There are also some interesting voice work opportunities and a couple of serials I’m discussing.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2017