Artists are highly sensitive people. An artist is prone to feel things more deeply and be affected by them more intensely than perhaps an average person would. They rely on their sensitivity to be able to create art that has the ability to emotionally move. Actors, especially, use their sensitivity to get into the skin of the character they are playing to be able to portray the character’s emotions and complex personality just the way it is intended to.
However, actors are not just artists. In our Pakistani entertainment industry, acting is as much as a job as it is an artistic endeavor. Not all actors have the time or even the inclination to immerse themselves to the point of it taking over their life. That being said, there are times when an actor comes across as a character that ends up staying with them long after the cameras stop rolling and the project finishes airing.
Kashf was that character for Hira Mani.
A special experience
Critics and audiences alike have been nothing but praises for Hira Mani as and in Kashf. Drama serial Kashf was a project that seemed risky by the standards of a typical mainstream drama. A story revolving around a young woman who is able to see glimpses of the future in her dreams and how this ability of hers affects her life, it is not a subject that a mainstream Pakistani drama airing on the primetime slot would go for. But Hira went for it. And then she went on to own it.
Her performance in the drama is being lauded as her career’s best yet. And as Hira reflects back on her journey as Kashf, she reveals what Kashf gave her was more than praise and recognition as an actor. It changed her in a way that no other project of hers has done so.
“I have played many characters in these five years. I went on-set, donned the look of the character, played the part, and then signed another project and repeated the process for it. The characters ended when the dramas ended. They never stayed with me beyond the set. But Kashf…she stays with me. I am unable to let go of her.”
Kashf was a drama that dealt with the subject of a worshiper’s connection with The Creator and how a single person is quite insignificant in this vast universe created by The Almighty. And Hira’s way of talking about her experience in the drama reflects the deep impact Kashf has left on her.
“I don’t know when this will end, I don’t know what my own end is,” says Hira on being unable to let go of the character. “All I know is that Kashf has me completely within her grasp. This character has brought me peace and stability. It has made me aware of the knowledge that everything that happens, happens per Allah’s will. Without His will, nothing we ever want can happen.”
For Hira, the effect Kashf has left on her is akin to how a person feels after coming back home from a spiritual pilgrimage. She, Hira Mani, finds herself reprimanding her own actions at times because they are not the things that Kashf Bibi, the character, would do.
“I catch myself when I am about to gossip about someone or when I am about to say something I shouldn’t. I immediately reprimand myself by thinking that Kashf Bibi wouldn’t ever do such things. This is how I have been living with, this is how Kashf has stayed within me.”
Hira Mani’s journey as an actor continues. Her next project already shows her in a very different avatar than the one she had in Kashf. But Kashf for her will always remain special. And Hira gave the reason in her own words.
“Usually I end up altering the characters that I play on-screen. Kashf is the only character that ended up changing me.”