From her debut as a supporting actor in ‘Thakan’ to becoming a recipient of three Lux Style Awards, Yumna Zaidi is currently one of the top performers in Pakistan. Her choice in selecting roles has always been sophisticated and stems away from the traditional stories in mainstream dramas. ‘Pyar Ke Sadqay’ and ‘Parizaad’ are examples that have received commendable reviews, and Yumna has played a significant part in them.
HUM TV’s special ‘Bakhtawar’ is a similar tale that touches upon the struggles of women in a male dominant world: a narrative that is quite controversial for the masses to digest. Yumna stars as the leading character, an independent young woman who is compelled to find work and build herself a better life. The highlight of this show is how the girl named Bakhtawar transforms herself into a man to achieve this goal.
About Becoming Bakhtu
In an interview conducted by Maliha Rehman, the ‘Sinf-e-Aahan’ star talked about the struggles of taking up this demanding role, barefaced and in the costume of a man. Taking the mike, Yumna said, “It was a challenge to prepare for my role. Without makeup and baggy clothes, and having that tiny wig to look boyish, a girl like me or any actress in Pakistan would feel the same.”
She further emphasized the process of becoming a man in the series, “My body was packed with different layers to hide my body, hair packed to look more like a man.”
Yumna lamented about not being able to look pretty in this role but also spoke about the physical transformation the actor was required to complete for the two contrasting characters. She said, “It was a physical challenge, but it also required more. I had to learn to change my voice, as there was less time between the shoots to change my character from Bakhtawar to Bakhtu.”
The Script Selection
The Ruswaiyaan actor also talked about her selection of scripts, as she’s known to choose narratives that are deviant from the norm. On being asked about her decisions, she answered, “When I got the script, I was super excited, so I picked it as a challenge.”
Yumna then reflected on Bahktawar and why it turned out to be such a vital role. “In this world, regardless of its advances, women are still facing such injustice. No matter how powerful she is, or the time, women continue to face incidents that make you see the grim reality,” she added.
She concluded her statement by praising her choice. “I have taken a story of a woman and her stand and struggle in life, which is something I am proud of and satisfied with.”
She further added: “I walked on the roads and felt the difference”
In the interview, Yumna recalled the biggest learning curve of her life while filming for the drama. During her shoots, the starlet was required to walk on roads freely with a hidden camera to capture her surroundings, giving it a more realistic picture.
Yumna explained, “We had to shoot raw in markets with a hidden camera, so I had to walk on the roads and I felt the difference. I had a team, with bouncers and still felt uncomfortable. In the same market, when I was in a male’s get-up, I walked so comfortably, and I kept thinking about the women who walk on these roads. It was just a shoot, and I was fully protected, but not these women who go here every day.”
She expressed that this realisation of “privilege” and having “slightly more protected lives” has changed her whole outlook on life, making her more grateful for everything she has been blessed with, including security. Dressing up from Bakhtawar to Bakhtu was not only a physical journey for the actor but also a mental one that has taught the actor numerous life-long lessons.