With love from Turkey Didem Balcin
One of the stars of the famous series ‘Ertugrul’ and 'Osman' Didem Balcin doesn’t hesitate to strip away the sheen, the glamorous avatar to play roles like 'Selcan Hatun' convincingly. Since the series first came out, our publication has been at the forefront of bringing Pakistani audiences their favourite Turkish stars and getting up close and personal. Latest is Didem, who at the age of 40 and as mum to a two-year-old tells H! Pakistan all about her priorities, why she chooses her personal life over her career, acting future and her love for Pakistani people. Read on…
Pleasure to have you Didem. The Pakistani audience knows you as 'Selcan Hatun' from 'Diriliş: Ertuğrul’ and ‘Kurulus Osman’, could you please tell us a bit about yourself for our readers.
Hello, I am Didem Balçın, I was born on May 18, 1982, in Ankara. My first encounter with acting was when I was barely six-years-old and I took the exams at the Ankara children's radio. My father was a former TRT announcer, and my mother was a housewife, but she was also Miss Turkey in 1975 (smiles). When I entered the Ankara children's theater, the continuation proceeded like this:
I chose acting in the university exam. I came to Istanbul and started acting in a TV series and opened two theaters. Years passed and I partnered with my actor friend Mert Fırat and two other people for my last theater, DasDas. My plays are still going on. I have to say though that the ‘Ertugrul’ series is what I gave most importance to in my acting career and continue to do so. I opened two theaters. Years passed and I partnered with my actor friend Mert Fırat and 2 other people for my last theater, DasDas. My plays are still going on.
While doing this interview, the thing I should say the most is that I was involved in the adventure of Diriliş Ertuğrul and Establishment Osman, and these became one of the projects that I gave the most importance in my life. I continue acting.
Why acting? What prompted you to become an actor?
Basically my interest developed in acting when I was a child. My father, who was an announcer at Ankara Radio, opened the Children's Hour Exams. I felt close to acting afterward. For example, my sister took these exams, but she did not win and many of my friends who were in the children's hour course with me did not act. I realised that it came from within myself.
What do you think makes Turkish TV series so popular in Pakistan? Does Muslim culture have a role to play?
I feel the connection the Pakistani audience felt with 'Ertugrul' has a lot to do with its realness and how it was more like a documentary, stating facts from history and depicting it in a dramatic way.
Usually while watching a TV series, the audience relates to characters but we're talking about a story that happened almost 1200 years ago so the connection is different here. Of course the influence of Islam in it is a big factor for likeness but it also has to do with our relationship as brother countries.
What were some of the first challenges you faced as a new actor in the Turkish entertainment industry?
I don't remember much about the first difficulty. It's a very long road, and we will continue to face many challenges all the time. This applies to all industries, not just acting.
My wish is that whatever challenges I face, I am able to play a positive role in overcoming it.
Having challenges in your way improves you in moving forward and learning.
How do you evaluate the Turkish entertainment industry? Is it thriving, struggling, or on the way to forming a new identity?
Turkish cinema and TV are at a very advanced level - everyday we're thriving and moving towards betterment. Of course the pandemic had a huge impact on the business of cinema and TV but we're on track to overcome that disaster. Even though we're struggling a bit, I believe we're on the right track. My wish is that it will improve and I hope that the digital platforms will not play a role of an obstacle.
How do you give life to TV series/movie characters?
Every actor has their own method of working and preparing for a role, so do I. Approaching every genre from comedy to drama is different. It's an adventure that begins when I first receive the script and moves forward with who my co-actor and director is and how much support I get from them. Because communication with the team you're working with is important. I try to bring a piece of Didem to every role I play.
What is your acting style?
I have no specific style or management. Sometimes I prefer inside-out acting depending on the role, and other times I prefer outside-in acting. I love comedy, I also love drama.
I take inspiration from real life people and instances and try to bring that into my acting.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?
My biggest hobby for the last two years is spending time with my son AliCan. No other hobby can replace this
- I love playing, talking and doing activities with him. The moment I feel the most relaxed is when I am at home doing nothing. I love reading, since we can't read when we are very busy, I do so whenever I get the opportunity. But my son is my biggest hobby.
Do you ever feel the pressure of being famous? Has it ever happened to you?
I don't feel the pressure. It's nice to be known, but the kind of fame I have does not affect my life. I can live my life without it, perhaps it comes from a place of feeling loved and appreciated by the people I am surrounded with. It certainly has a positive effect on my life.
You played the role of ‘Selcan Hatun’ in the TV series 'Osman' and 'Diriliş: Ertuğrul.' How did you approach that character and make sure you made it unique?
It all depends on the script, Mehmet Bozdağ wrote it very well with his team, and Aslı Zeynep Bozdağ who is also a very good friend of mine, made sure to highlight the female characters. The environment created by Metin Günay and my partners, especially Engin Altan, and then my co-actors in 'Kurum Osman', made the whole experience very exciting. 'Selcan Hatun' was a bad character for the first two years then it was changed, something that can happen to all of us in normal life. We can make mistakes without thinking and then choose to learn from them and continue living in another direction. That's why
'Sercan' felt very real to me. I got along very well with her and I was very happy to play her, and it turned out great.
How do you manage to make a career in the eyes of the public and the family? What is the key to achieving balance?
A career in the family is a very good question. I care more about spending time in the family. I guess that's my priority. The only thing I care about in my career is to wish I hadn't done it after doing it. There is a life that I pay attention to in the family and I don't want to upset that system by making something else my priority.
What are some of your future projects?
Things are still in the process but, and I may have a project for digital coming out and the rest will be a surprise. (Smiles)
Would you like to work in Pakistani TV series and films if given the opportunity?
The important thing for me is how much I like the role and the script. Place or country don't matter - I'm an actor, but the great love of the Pakistani people impressed me and made me very happy. I love them so much. If an offer comes, I would like to play with great excitement. (Smiles)
Have you ever visited or are you planning to visit Pakistan?
No, I haven't visited yet, but I've made a lot of moves to do so. We had several brand projects, one of them was for Maria B. I send my love to them from here as well.
Do you have a message for our Pakistani viewers?
May they continue to follow us. (Smiles). Your love is so beautiful and you have shown your immense love to us. I hope to meet you all as soon as possible.
INTERVIEW: SUNDUS UNSAR RAJA @SUBLIMERANTR
PHOTOGRAPHY: HAKAN AKMAN @hakanakman._
STYLING: IRMAK OZDEMIR
MAKEUP: ERKAN ULUC @erkanuluc
PROJECT MANAGER & COORDINATOR: GOKSEN SEL @goksensl
MANAGEMENT: ICON TALENT @icontalentofficial