On turning 40, working with Shaan and Pinky Memsaab: In conversation with Kiran Malik

Kiran Malik, the fashion model turned actress, is all set to make her silver screen debut with Pinky Memsaab in December, 2018 while her other movie – Zarrar – against Shaan Shahid is expected to hit cinemas in 2019. Aside from her stellar professional accomplishments, Kiran Malik’s candid nature has us all captivated. She is just the right amount of blunt, doesn’t hide her age and isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. Galaxy Lollywood’s Momin Ali Munshi recently went to meet her for a candid conversation. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Pinky Memsaab is coming out in December and Zarrar isn’t due for another few months even though the latter was supposed to be your first film to hit the cinemas. How do you feel about it?

I think critics would like me more in this film because it’s more acting oriented and more raw since it is an indie film. Even though both the characters are totally different from each other, my acting skills would be seen more in this film than in Zarrar.

You’are an entrepreneur and have your own website. You’re also an HR consultant, where does acting fit in all of this?

I never thought I’d ever act. Although, I have always been connected extensively to the media. So some three years back, Bilal Ashraf called to tell that Shaan was in the city and asked if I wanted to meet him. I said yes, obviously. We met him at a cafe where another dear friend of mine was also present. I had a massive ‘Shaan’ moment. I chatted with him for a little bit. In the evening, I got a call that told me that Shaan wanted to talk to me. He asked if I wanted to be in a movie. I told him that I had never acted before in my life. Shaan said that I was already an actress from what he could tell. And that’s how I joined Zarrar, there wasn’t even an audition. Shaan has made me who I am. I’ll always take his name first.

When you were announced as a lead for Zarrar, it got a lot of people talking. Did you have to face any criticism or questions from the industry? 

Yes, I did. I heard things like ‘Tum kese?’ or ‘Ye kyun?’ from people who I am sure we all know. My answer would always be ‘ye tou ap Shaan se pochain.’ He actually had someone in mind for Zarrar but then I came along and he said he didn’t want to audition anyone else. The thing is he wanted a new face. He prepared me well before we started shooting. He gave me a lot of acting workshops for the first two weeks, went through the lines with me and only then we started shooting.

Shaan is notorious for making himself the center of attention in his movies. Did you feel like you were sidelined in the film in any way?

When I signed the film, a lot of my friends told me to tread carefully since Shaan is known to be old school. However, contrary to the popular belief, he isn’t old school at all. He has zero ego and has a great sense of humor. He, in fact, gave me an extra background song because he thought we needed more of me in the movie. We went to Turkey to shoot it. I am in the movie through and through so I didn’t feel sidelined in any way.

 You’re in your 30’s, was it difficult to start this late?

I am not in my 30’s. I am turning 40 soon.

I am glad you said it out loud yourself, it is a norm in the industry to hide your age. 

Both of my characters are very mature, mujhe wese hee bacha nahi ban’na. A lot of people told me that I should’ve joined earlier but it’s just that I had never thought about acting before. Zarrar came along, I thoroughly enjoyed acting in it so I signed Pinky Memsaab too. I firmly believe that my age would not get me work, my talents and skills would. I was recently approached by a big firm in Karachi, they said that they wanted me to meet a producer but advised me to not reveal my true age. I told them that I would never do that.

Is Zarrar a commercial film? 

Zarrar is a very much commercial film but it is a great action film. In fact, it has redefined action films. It’s coming out on Eid-ul-Adha of 2019. It’s written and directed by Shaan.

The film is produced by Adnan Butt and there was this whole facebook thread with some nasty comments I came across. What was that all about?

I did a song with Farhan Saeed and Adnan left some not so nice comments on it. I called Shaan and told him that I was going to actually reply to him. I mean I get it that everyone has their opinion but there is a way to say it. He didn’t even respect the fact that I was working with him. I just blocked him and told him that I’d rather not have a chat with him. We are not kids anymore and waisay meri un se koi khas bani bhi nahi kabhi.

How did Pinky Memsaab come to you?

The lady Shazia who made this film is friends with a friend of mine. She found out about me through my friend. I had to audition for it because the lady is really hardcore when it comes to work. Everything worked out for me; it was great money and the location suited me too.

I think drama/indie films like Cake and Motorcycle Girl and now even Pinky Memsaab would be better suited for Netflix instead of cinemas, would you agree?

Honestly, Shazia doesn’t even want it to be screened in the cinemas. She just wants it to be screened at film festivals. I get it that people like to see more jhatkay matkay wali films but it is about time that the cinema undergoes a change. We need more acceptance for the indie films in Pakistani cinemas. I am a little nervous about the audience reaction but that’s how it is.

How difficult was it for you to act with theater actors in Pinky Memsaab?

It was super difficult but I learnt a lot from all the other actors in the film. I was very nervous when I joined the team because I had only done one commercial film by that time but fortunately, I had some great sessions with my fellow actors which made things easier for me.

After Pinky Memsaab, what is next for Kiran Malik?

There are a few things in the pipeline but nothing is signed yet. I just want people to see me first and then I’ll think about what I have to do next. Shaan and I might be doing something together. I have a daughter and a husband so that’s my priority. I want to enjoy my work and not just run after money.

Towards the end, Kiran Malik urged the viewers to go watch Pinky Memsaab because if they want to experience ‘real cinema.’ Here’s wishing Kiran Malik all the success.