Hania Aamir is all set to return to TV with the drama serial Anaa.
We tie up a time to meet up at the same eatery we did two years ago, when she had newly entered the industry and was viewed as a promising young actor. Now, she has a clearer vision for her career but her ambitious plans has changed who she is. Coincidentally, it's raining just as it did when I had first interviewed her, and she remembers, she knows she’s grown, and how.
Hania bid 2018 adieu by Pakistan’s second highest grossing film Parwaaz Hay Junoon added to her repertoire; she says it’s been a “rollercoaster ride, I’ve met some good people, started off with some new friendships, lost some, rekindled some.”
Yet professionally, the highlight was undoubtedly her cinematic ode to the Pakistan Air Force, helmed by Haseeb Hasan, and co-starring Hamza Ali Abbasi and Ahad Raza Mir. Did she expect the massive response?
“I did,” she says rather bluntly with a laugh. “We’d just put in so much effort into it that even my mother knew, she told me not to worry because our hard work would pay off. For the past two years, we’d been shooting, and travelling, I knew I’d at least be recognised.
"I will say that when I watched it the first time, I was very confused, like I’ve said before, it was the first film I’d done which was riding on my shoulders and I wasn’t sure, but then the response made me realise that it was a good movie, and it was doing well. I had aunties come up to me, telling me they’ve watched the film thrice with their families, and I knew it had happened.”
About her one takeaway from the commercial success of the film, she responds, "I think it just proved to me that what I believed in was correct, hard work is what takes you forward and nothing else matters, because at the time, I had no PR [stunts], it was just the film and me being me, that was it."
Having struggled with being her own person in times where even her manager objected to how outspoken and cheery she was, the success of Parwaaz Hay Junoon helped Aamir continue being comfortable in her own skin. “It just made it stronger for me; I’m the same person. I am much more confident in my acting now, when I was shooting Anaa, the way I faced the camera had changed, but as a person, I’ve just become more humble and thankful,” she adds.
Her next offering is Momina Duraid Productions’ Anaa by Shahzad Kashmiri of Yakeen Ka Safar-fame. Apart from Hania, the upcoming serial revolving around regal, nawab households, comprises of a budding, young cast, including the likes of Shahzad Sheikh, Usman Mukhtar, Naimal Khanwar and debutant Areeba Alvi, and appealed to Aamir for its original and unconventional script.
“Anaa is something very relatable for most people. It's not a damsel-in-distress type character, there is no saas-bahu drama, it wasn’t a love-story, it’s just messed up,” she reveals.
“When I’d read my character... there’s so much that’s going on and you always have a shield. In dramas, it’s usually all about being overtly expressive, but my character in Anaa was real, and a lot like me because of what’s she’s told about herself and how she’s a rebel.”
Not only does Aamir take the female lead, she will also made her singing foray with the OST of Anaa, composed by by Sahir Ali Bagga. “I was always interested in singing, I sung in school and my Mom really wanted me to sing. So out of the blue, I went to the production team and casually told them I’ll sing the OST,” she recalls of what made her switch gears and step into an alien territory.
“The next thing I knew, they called me and asked me to record something because Bagga wanted to give it a listen. My Mom sat me down, I sent over some songs and in a few hours, I was told that he liked them and I was given the lyrics to prepare for the next day,” she continued, ecstatically, with sparkle in her eyes. “I just don’t want to regret anything at the end, I feel like if I know I have the potential to do something, if I am getting an opportunity that people don’t as easily, I would want to explore that. In fact, I want to explore all my talents, I’d like to paint, I’ll probably go buy a piano; do whatever I want to do.”
She also feels that she’s now comprehended how the industry functions, something she initially had trouble figuring out. She knows whom to keep her distances from and yet almost always come across as forthcoming, not only to industry insiders, but also her fans, who interrupt us a couple of times for pictures and Hania happily obliges. Known for being friendly, Aamir also lands herself in customary controversies every now and then.
Most recently, the rumor mills have been abuzz that she’s seeing heartthrob musician-actor, Asim Azhar.
The two will be sharing space in Ahson Talish’s rom-com telefilm soon, but they’ve been spotted hanging out off-sets as well. Hania, however, puts a rest to the speculation and clarified, “Rarely do you find like-minded people in the industry, why should you not chill with them? We [Asim and I] are hanging out, and we will take selfies, it doesn’t have to be anything more,” she maintained, responding to the hearsay.
“Every single time I take a picture with a guy, it’s just blown out of proportion. Asim sings and I like to sing, so we get along and we’re much grounded people. I think people are just used to [scandalizing]; I personally wouldn’t do that to anyone, but if it makes them happy, so be it.”
As for the movies, she does very much prefer the silver screen over television and is well on her way to signing onto her next cinematic endeavor.
“To be very honest, there were no good films coming my way [which is why I selected a TV project], but I would always prefer doing a film, it’s a lot more enjoyable. There is most probably a film coming out this year, and it’s the complete opposite to what I did in Parwaaz, its comedy and romance, and I’m really excited about that,” she concludes without spilling any further details, hoping to continue aiming for the stars.