A CELESTIAL ENCOUNTER | SAJAL ALI’S HIGH-FLYING ADVENTURE IN DUBAI’S AWE-INSPIRING CITYSCAPE | DRESSED IN MARIYAM D RIZWAN
It is truly a delight to welcome the esteemed and talented Sajal Ali back onto our cover. Since our last conversation, her journey has transcended borders as she gracefully embarked on her international debut, earning resounding acclaim and basking in the glory of resplendent success. We delveinto the depths of her mesmerizing journey, capturing her essence through a captivating photoshoot that came to life amidst the vibrant tapestry of Dubai, in a remarkable collaboration between HELLO! and the esteemed Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism. Today, we are delighted to present an exclusive interview with the phenomenal actress Sajal Ali, accompanied by a captivating photoshoot set against the mesmerizing backdrop of Dubai in stunning creations of Mariyam D Rizwan showcasing a perfect amalgamation of desi and fusion. This collaboration, a first of its kind with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, marks a significant milestone for both Sajal and the Pakistani entertainment industry.
‘I loved shooting everywhere in Dubai but I especially enjoyed shooting at The View. It was lovely to experience the stunning cityscape, the towering buildings in all their glory seemed magnificent’
As we delve into the depths of this interview, we are granted a glimpse into Sajal’s journey, her experiences, and her unwavering passion for her craft. With her international debut this year and her success with ‘Kuch Ankahi’ Sajal has once again not only showcased her exceptional talent but has also become a shining beacon of Pakistani talent on the global stage.
The enchanting city of Dubai serves as the perfect setting for this unparalleled photoshoot, capturing Sajal’s elegance and grace amidst the iconic landmarks and breathtaking landscapes. From the old world charm of Dubai to the serene shores of the Palm Jumeirah, every frame emanates an aura of sophistication and finesse.
‘The characters I’ve played have been those of girls and women who take life’s challenges head on. That’s what I want them to remember: “this too shall pass’
This collaboration with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism not only showcases Sajal’s talent but also highlights the rich cultural exchange between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. By bridging the gap between these two nations, this unique cover story sets a precedent for further collaborations, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s art and heritage.
As we turn the pages of this exquisite interview, we are entranced by Sajal’s profound insights, her artistic vision, and her unwavering dedication to her craft. Her words resonate with authenticity and wisdom, offering a glimpse into the mind of a true artist.
‘It’s important for me to understand what my character is feeling and doing at that time so with each scene I disconnect from myself and picture myself as that character. It’s like a switch in my mind’
In this momentous feature, we celebrate Sajal Ali’s remarkable achievements, her growth as an actor, and
her undeniable influence in the entertainment industry. This collaboration between Sajal, the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, and our Pakistani publication is a testament to the limitless possibilities that lie ahead for the flourishing Pakistani entertainment scene.
So, sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in the captivating world of Sajal Ali as she takes us on an extraordinary journey through her life, her artistry, and her everlasting love for acting.
Pleasure to have you on our cover once again Sajal. Since we last spoke you’ve made your international debut and have had a major success with the drama ‘Kuch Ankahi’. As an actress, how do you navigate the nuances of portraying diverse characters across different genres?
Thank you so much for having me. Acting is something I deeply enjoy and it is part of what makes my work worthwhile! Portraying different characters is a challenge I love taking on and for each I try my best to put myself in their shoes to better understand what they’re going through in the moment for each scene.
‘Who I am in front of the camera is not who I am behind it, when at home I am hanging out with family and friends’
You’re without a doubt one of the biggest Pakistani stars of current times. Tell us how you balance the demands of fame and maintaining a sense of authenticity in your personal and professional life?
Who I am in front of the camera is not who I am behind it, when at home I am hanging out with family and friends. That balance is necessary to stay true to oneself which is why keeping a distance between the ‘reel’ and ‘real’ life is a priority for me.
You’re known for your authenticity and transparency in acting. How do you approach the process of character development and what techniques do you use to fully immerse yourself in each role?
It’s important for me to understand what my character is feeling and doing at that time, so with each scene I disconnect from myself and picture myself as that character. It’s like a switch in my mind.
Do you get attached to any of your characters you play on screen? Can you share any insights into the challenges you face in snapping out of the character once you’re done?
Every character leaves its mark but I take the good from each and move forward, using the experience and investing it into the next. And as for snapping out, I maintain a distance from the character and that helps the process.
‘Navigating its (social media) influence is difficult because it’s become a vital part of our lives while we’re still figuring it all out, but I believe it plays a major role in shaping perceptions’
What impact do you hope your performances have on your audience, and what message do you strive to convey through your work?
I hope they’re able to feel that there is someone out there just like them, that they’re not alone. The characters I’ve played have been those of girls and women who take life’s challenges head on. That’s what I want them to remember: “this too shall pass”.
How do you stay motivated and inspired in an industry that can be both demanding and unpredictable?
What’s in my hands is how I perform and the work that I do, which is why I keep a positive mindset and give my best to everything.
‘When you’re starting out, overnight success sounds like it’s easy to aim for. However, in my experience, the struggle that gets you there teaches a lot of life lessons along the way’
What role do you believe social media plays in shaping the perception of actors and how do you navigate its influence?
Navigating its influence is difficult because it’s become a vital part of our lives while we’re still figuring it all out, but I believe it plays a major role in shaping perceptions. It helps to take time to cross-check information and not be quick to pass judgments.
Can you share any future projects or collaborations that your fans can look forward to?
There is a lot in the works that I’m excited for my fans to see! Will be sharing details soon!
How do you strike a balance between maintaining your artistic integrity and meeting the commercial expectations of the industry?
It is important to understand that every bit of the work I do is an accumulation of the efforts of multiple people. And so when it is a joint effort, the result is similarly a mixture of what everyone has pitched in, not just one person. Keeping that in mind helps me look at the bigger picture.
As an actor who’s been in the industry for over a decade now at such a young age, what advice would you give to aspiring actors who are just starting their journey in the world of entertainment?
When you’re starting out, overnight success sounds like it’s easy to aim for. However, in my experience, the struggle that gets you there teaches a lot of life lessons along the way. Everyone has their own journey but sometimes taking the longer route and having humility helps you stay grounded.
Could you share any memorable experiences from shooting in the breathtaking locations of Dubai for this cover shoot? Which location was your favourite?
I loved shooting everywhere but I especially enjoyed shooting at The View. It was lovely to experience the stunning cityscape, the towering buildings in all their glory seemed magnificent.
INTERVIEW: SUNDUS UNSAR RAJA
WARDROBE: MARIYAM D RIZWAN
PHOTOGRAPHY: SHAHBAZ SHAZI
VIDEOGRAPHY: TALHA YASEEN
STYLING: TABESH KHOJA
HAIRSTYLIST: AWAIS RAZA
MAKEUP ARTIST: MUHAMMAD SALMAN
TALENT MANAGEMENT & COORDINATION: MARIA MAHESAR
JEWELLERY: ALLURE BY MHT
PARTNER: DUBAI’S DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMY AND TOURISM
AGENCY: MEDIA MATTERS COMMUNICATIONS
ON-SET COORDINATION: SAFA ADNAN
LOCATION: THE VIEW AT THE PALM, AL FAHIDI NEIGHBOURHOOD & JUMEIRAH ZABEEL SARAY