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Marriage isn’t just about living together: Nadia Afgan | The Express Tribune

Nadia Afgan is no alien to the TV screen and has found that rare combination of critical acclaim and commercial success that every artist longs for. In a recent interview, Afgan bared her soul to the world. 

The host set the stage by highlighting her character Shamim’s complex nature in her famous drama serial Kabuli Pulao. “Sometimes Shamim enrages us, sometimes we feel for her,” the host noted, reflecting the dichotomy that made Shamim a character that kept viewers hooked.

Afgan started by acknowledging that this interview was her first in two years since the hit dramas Parizaad and Suno Chanda. She shared that for the past three to four months, her presence had become ubiquitous on television screens, with various projects airing simultaneously. 

While she confessed not to be an avid drama watcher herself, messages of appreciation for her character Shahana in Suno Chanda inundated her inbox. “A fan from India confessed that the drama was unknown to them, but now their entire family was hooked, a testament to the universal appeal of Nadia’s artistry,” recalled Afgan.

The conversation took an interesting turn when she reflected on how Kashif, a well-known director, reached out to her, piquing her interest with the promise of an exciting role. However, the initial character offered wasn’t Shamim, but her older sister. It was the script, written by the esteemed Zafar Miraj, and the project’s Lahore backdrop, in addition to Kashif’s involvement, that lured Nadia to the project. Two days later, Kashif called again, offering her the role of Shamim. 

“Shamim is someone who is capable of love, betrayal, and a genuine desire to see others happy, which she I feel is the embodiment of true love” said Afgan. Kashif’s storytelling prowess and character discussions with the cast played a pivotal role in fleshing out the complexities of Shamim and her relationships.

Nadia spoke about her initial apprehension about working with Ehtisham. It was Kashif who facilitated their in-depth discussions, an exercise that allowed them to delve deeper into Shamim’s character. Shamim’s love triangle with Haji and Ilyas in the drama intrigued the audience, stirring a mix of emotions. Nadia shared how she received messages from women who empathised with the character’s struggles, as they, too, had faced similar dilemmas when well-intentioned mothers had set the stage for their relationships. 

The chemistry of couples and their ability to accommodate each other’s moods and idiosyncrasies was a recurring theme, a testament to the emotional intricacies explored in the drama. She cited a particular quote that echoed with her: ‘It’s a beautiful experience to feel loved by someone who, in the grand scheme of things, has no obligation to love you.’

Nadia’s skilful portrayal of Shamim also garnered praise from fellow industry peers, including Sarmad and Sania, who used superlatives like “stupendous” to describe her performance. Nadia beamed with pride, acknowledging that her connection with the character was paramount, eclipsing considerations of the cast, director, or fees. She expressed. “When you become the character, It’s not about competition; it’s about doing justice to the role.”

The conversation transitioned to the topic of age differences in marriages. When asked if she believed age was a determinant of marital success, Nadia Afgan firmly asserted that, when respect and love existed between partners, age became an inconsequential factor. With her husband, who is twelve years her junior, Nadia experienced a sense of maturity that transcended mere numbers. She went on to explain that her strong belief in destiny played a crucial role in their union.

Living together 24/7, she spoke of the differences that could arise in daily routines, such as being a day person while her husband was a night owl. However, the foundation of friendship between them made all the difference. They had met through a project and engaged in various social welfare activities together. Her husband’s honest admission of his feelings toward her sparked the journey toward marriage. She quoted her husband, “Marriage is not just about living together, and it’s about growing together.”

A crucial aspect of their relationship was the mutual decision not to interfere in each other’s families, a pact that allowed each partner to maintain their respective connections. Nadia recalled how her in-laws, though religious, accepted their marriage despite the age gap. She expressed frustration at the double standards that prevailed in society regarding such matters, emphasising that individuals should have the freedom to make choices about their lives.

The conversation delved into the sensitive topic of not having children, an area that brought a profound depth to the conversation. Nadia Afgan revealed the emotional toll of experiencing two miscarriages. She said, “No one can understand the depth of this pain unless they have been through it.” 

The pain was not just physical but also societal, as societal pressures compounded the trauma. She was candid about her journey with in vitro fertilization (IVF), which entailed a gruelling process, both mentally and physically. The decision to share her story was motivated by the countless women who reached out to her after she went public with her experience. She encountered stories of immense resilience and hope.

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