In the realm of dramatic narratives, “Fareb,” brought to life by HUM TV, stands as a riveting tale that delves into the tangled web of human emotions, power dynamics, and the corrosive effects of envy. At the heart of this drama is the character of Shehnaz, who transforms the conventional notions of heroism and villainy, plunging us into a world where shades of gray dominate. The story’s focal point revolves around her, an anti-hero who embodies a desire for control and power. Her complexities drive her to commit malicious deeds, which unfold against a backdrop of a dysfunctional life.
In conversation with the remarkable actress behind the flawless portrayal of Shehnaz, the maestro of drama industry, Maria Wasti, we delve deep into the profundity of the character. We asked her about the adoption of the character and the efforts it took to get into the shoes of Shehnaz. She answered,
“The main reason behind saying yes to the project was the direction being in the safe hands of Mohsin Talat, a director who understand the characters and helps you deliver it with precision.” She further added, “I did my research about the most prominent trait of the anti-hero, narcissism, and learnt about the behavioral attributes of such humans who are driven to do certain things, be it good or bad, and have their own reasons behind doing it.”
We also asked Maria about the challenges she has to face while being on the journey of faultlessly playing Shehnaz. To which she added,
“It is a demanding role in comparison to others, she have to sustain a look and poise throughout, which is quite challenging in the scorching heat of Karachi and her hectic schedule. Another challenge being, that other actors and characters understanding their own characters and that of the others to give out the exact outcome demanded from the scene. Because it’s the collective responses of the characters that make the whole experience comprehensive.”
As the drama vividly portrays Shehnaz’s insatiable thirst for attention and dominion over the household, her ambitions devoid of limits. Through the character of Shehnaz, the narrative reflects the dark underbelly of human nature, exploring the destructive impact of unchecked desires and manipulative tendencies. We asked Maria about the difference in playing an antagonist and a virtuous protagonist, to which she replied that,
“ It all comes down to the situations behind the character doing certain things and making certain decisions. There is always a root cause behind even an antagonist to follow the path that they do, same goes for Shehnaz, which makes her not entirely a villain but an anti-hero.”
She also added that, “We can see that situations are not always black and white, most of the time they are multiple shades and layers of gray, which also aligns with the character of Shehnaz.” On set, she added, “They always discuss the connection between the scenes and actions of Shehnaz, for example if there is a scene where she slaps someone, they will establish the scenario which drove her to do that action, and the consequences that followed.”
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In the end, we asked Maria about how she thinks audience can, and will be relating to Shehnaz in future? To which she brilliantly added,
“ There is a stark ‘Human Element’ that connects us all, like if a king is hungry or a beggar is hungry, both when given the opportunity of having food will devour it instantly, so there’s this insatiable feeling of discontentment in humans which will pull the audience towards understanding Shehnaz’s character more and to understand what drove her to do the things that she did, because at the end of the day reality is gray anyway.”
The character of Shehnaz serves as a mirror, prompting contemplation about the extent to which personal desires can blind us and Maria has done a remarkable job playing the character by understanding and getting deep into the skin of it. “Fareb” emerges not just as a drama but as a thought-provoking exploration of human psychology, ambition, and the lengths to which one can go in the quest of control. As viewers, we are left with an invitation to delve into our own desires and emotions, pondering the thin line that separates heroism from villainy in the tapestry of life.