CONVERSING CRICKET & CAMERAS WITH SHOAIB MALIK & HANIA AAMIR
When Shoaib Malik, the 40 years’ young athlete walks onto the cricket ground he carries w i t h h i m n o t j u s t h i s o w n expectations but those of his over 220 million countrymen. Like the other greats of the cricketing world, he is a talismanic presence in his national team, willing them, on to victory, more than often. If he’s feeling the pressure, he isn’t letting it show – his calm demeanour is his strength and he has proved with this recent T20 World Cup that there’s so much more cricket and passion for this game left in him that can c a r r y h i m t o m a n y m o r e tournaments like these, making his country proud. Hania and Shoaib are both sweethearts of their respective fields and their chemistry, courtesy their amazing friendship is crackling – HELLO!’s cover shoot of this month is certainly enough proof of that. We talk about everything, from acting, cricket fever, future plans and a lot more in this interview from both Shoaib and Hania. Read on...
Hello Shoaib. Pleasure to have you again and this time on our cover. You’re super busy for the on-going World Cup. Tell us how does it feel to be back on the team for T20I World Cup. Was it a surprise when you were selected or you saw it coming?
I am always available for National duty whenever I am needed and it is an honour to represent our country at the world stage – of course the team had been announced and I was a little disheartened to not see my name but I was very happy when I was called a few days later and as excited to play this world cup as I was when I was called for my first.
This could potentially be your last World Cup playing for the team Green and you have your fair share of ups and down throughout your cricketing career. What do you want to be your biggest takeaway from this tournament and want people to remember you as?
No one knows what lies in the future but I still feel fit enough to be competing at the highest level in my sport. What I’d like people to remember me for is my dedication to play for Pakistan and to always help cricket and young cricketers in the country with my services.
‘No one knows what lies in the future but I still feel fit enough to be competing at the highest level in my sport’ - Shoaib
You’re a veteran all-rounder and you have given so many moments to Pakistani cricket fans to cherish, is there a particular moment you hold the dearest in your career?
By God’s grace, I’ve had a very long career and have had many amazing moments that I cherish and hold very close to my heart, but the most special memory is probably winning the 2009 world T20 final at the Lord’s in England. It was a team effort and I remember batting with Shahid Afridi till the end.
You along with your wife tennis star Sania, are known to be a power-couple but often in trouble for choosing your respective sides especially during Pakistan vs India matches. How do you settle this at home? Do you ever get into fights over it?
It really isn’t that dramatic. (Smiles) We are both proud to represent our respective countries and support them as well – we don’t really believe in bringing work home.
You are quite a fit individual and work out regularly. What keeps you so passionate about fitness? Is your family as motivated as you are about working out?
Fitness is a part of who I am and a very important part of my life. My family, is pretty health conscious too – my father was an athlete, so is my brother and of course my wife. Fitness and health is an integral part of our lives and it really makes us who we are.
You’re known for your calm demeanor but there must be something that makes you upset as well. What is it that puts Shoaib Malik off?
I am a pretty calm person and extremely patient generally but when I don’t get enough sleep I do lose my patience sometimes.
‘Owing to decades of Sas-Bahu narratives, I believe the audience has been conditioned to consuming only a specific kind of content. Even when someone attempts to produce something that is a little out of the box, it doesn’t get the appreciation’ - Hania
We see you slowly testing the waters in the entertainment industry. How did you decide to make that transition and whose work in the acting world inspires you the most?
I am not really testing the waters so to say but I do like doing different things when I have time and the opportunity. I think Humayun Saeed and Adnan Siddiqui are guys with great talent and I do admire them and their acting – they also happen to be great friends of mine.
When are we seeing you making your debut in acting? Are you about to surprise the world now with your acting skills?
I guess never say never right. (Smiles)
How was it working with Hania in this shoot after Peshawar Zalmi’s anthem? What was the most challenging as well most fun part of working with her?
It was fun once again to work with Hania, as everyone knows she’s an amazing actor and made it very easy and flawless to shoot together.
Describe yourself in three words
Witty, patient, stubborn
Who do you admire the most?
What do you think your spirit animal would be and why?
Cheetah, because I am calm and fast
What is your favourite movie quote?
Jaa Simran, jee le apni zindagi (my wife tells me all the time)
What’s on your Netflix que?
Who is your favourite Pakistani player from the current lot?
Best Pakistani captain of all time?
What fashion trend do you justnot get?
Your greatest achievement?
Playing for Pakistan in four different decades
‘The most special memory is probably winning the 2009 world T20 final at the Lord’s in England. It was a team effort and I remember batting with Shahid Afridi till the end’ -Shoaib
Hello Hania! Thank you for gracing H! Pakistan’s cover once again and this time with the amazing Shoaib Malik. Tell us how was it working with him and is there a cute/funny moment from set you’d like to share with us?
Shoaib is an absolute gentleman, the whole team was very well acquainted, on top of that we were shooting at a very unusual yet interesting location, which made the entire experience quite wholesome and fun. I’m actually very happy with the way it turned out!
Everyone seems to be a cricket fan right now with world cup happening and Pakistan doing exceptionally well. Are you also in tuned with the game and follow it? Who’s your favourite player?
Yes, of course. I am a huge cricket fan, probably because of my mom as she really enjoys watching it too. I’ve been following the World Cup and it makes me very proud to see how exceptionally well the team has been performing. My favourite player would be our captain, Babar Azam.
You’re one of the ver y few actresses who never shies away from voicing her opinions but overtime we have seen you being careful about what you want to speak about. Is it a conscious decision or you think it gets tiring constantly having to explain yourself?
Not at all, I am just very focused on my work at the moment thus don’t have the time to post on social media too often. I feel more comfortable keeping my life private, that being said, if there is something that I am passionate about or something that I need to raise my voice against, I defiantly will still do that; I am never going to shy away from voicing my opinions.
You have an amazing quality of doing roles and swinging from girl-next-door to nailing unusual characters with nuances of greytones. Which one you enjoy doing more and tell us about a character that felt closest to your real self?
It has to be 'Rumi' from Ishqiya. I love how she is so sincere and truthful in all her relationships. She leads from the heart, she’s gentle yet straightforward, she is the kind of person who would offer love and affection ever so freely yet wouldn’t shy away from telling one off if they’ve hurt her. In some way I relate to 'Rumi' quite a lot, I think.
Your character selection and which dramas you pick is very particular; what do you look for in a character/drama when selecting a script? Is it just the story or it matters who you’re working with?
A bit of everything actually; the script, the director, the sort of character that I have to portray. If a project speaks to me in terms of creativity, I go for it.
One can easily tell that how engrossed you’re in a character that you play on-screen but does that come with a challenge of snapping out of it when you’re done? Or you can easily switch back to being Hania? Do intense characters ever take a toll on you?
No, I wouldn’t say they take a toll on me. I rehearse for my scenes which makes it easier for me to get into character while filming. Working with good costars and a fine director actually helps a lot in terms of creating a suitable environment for an actor to truly exercise their craft to the best of their abilities.
‘I am a huge cricket fan, probably because of my mom as she really enjoys watching it too. I’ve been following the world cup and it makes me very proud to see how exceptionally well the team has been performing’ - Hania
Many senior actors and even writers have shown their reservation on kind of content being made today. What’s your take on it and do you think Pakistani drama industry needs to revamp and perhaps come up with better storylines?
Owing to decades of Sas-Bahu narratives, I believe the audience h a s b e e n c o n d i t i o n e d t o consuming only a specific kind of content. Even when someone attempts to produce something that is a little out of the box, it doesn’t get the appreciation that it would’ve gotten had it been an uncomplicated love story or a SasBahu chronicle. Laal Kabootar, Cake and Motorcycle Girl were real game changers; I personally am looking forward to seeing more of such content make its way into the mainstream media and hopefully w i d e n o u r s p e c t r u m o f entertainment.
We’re majorly missing going to cinemas and your upcoming movie Parde Mein Rehne Do with Ali Rehman seems like a ray of hope in bringing back the joy of going to movie theatres. Tell us a bit about the movie; when will we see it and about your character in it.
Parde Main Rehne Do is written by Mohsin Ali, I keep praising him whenever I am asked about the film because I truly admire how incredibly well written the script is. The story revolves around a social stigma which doesn’t really get discussed as much as it should. Mohsin has written it with such consideration and care, that it was one of the main reasons why I took the project. Even though it is sensitive, he has added well-placed hints of humour that keep the vibe light and amusing. My character is a catalyst in highlighting the taboo. She is driven, her heart is in the right place, she is intelligent, she has a good sense of humour and she is going to break a lot of stereotypes. I am very excited for everyone to watch it
‘I feel more comfortable keeping my life private, that being said, if there is something that I am passionate about or something that I need to raise my voice against, I defiantly will still do that; I am never going to shy away from voicing my opinions’ - Hania
In celebration of some of your memorable on-screen personas, we’ve picked four characters you’ve brought to life, on screen, share a piece of advice that would alter their fate in your respective dramas/movie:
Sanam in Dil Ruba
Learn from your mistakes and don’t take good people for granted
Rubmi in Ishqiya
Rumi is a sweetheart I don’t thinks she needs any advice; she’s got it all figured out
Daneen in Anaa
Put yourself first, don’t allow your life to revolve around a man
Sania in Parwaaz Hai Junoon
Sania is a very beautiful character, I don’t think she needs any advice either. She is perfect the way she was
Most genuine person in Pakistan’s entertainment industry?
Your boyfriend leaves his phone unlocked. What’s the first thing you spy on?
An overused hashtag you’d never use?
I’d still use it
A millennial you’d like to swap life with for a day?
Millie Bobbi Brown
The weirdest thing you’ve ever asked Google?
Where am I?
What is one question you hate answering in your interviews?
Nothing specific but I don’t like when people get really nosy and personal
A hashtag to describe your current state of mind?
INTERVIEW: SUNDUS UNSAR RAJA
PHOTOGRAPHY: SHAHBAZ SHAZI
STYLING (SHOAIB): SAJID’S SALON
STYLING (HANIA): FAHAD HUSSAYN FOR REFILE
HAIR & MAKEUP: BABAR ZAHEER
COORDINATION & MANAGEMENT (SHOAIB): ARSALANSHAH
H COORDINATION (HANIA): MINT PR