Six questions in an exclusive interview with Sanam Baloch

  1. What was your motivation to play this role?

Ever since I heard about Marium and her plane crash, I was into her story. I have always been critical of how women are perceived in our society. They are thought to be weak and emotionally unstable and whatnot. Then I came across Marium Mukhtiyar, an Air Force pilot, being trained for hardcore fighter jet flying. Where most of the men dare not tread, there is this ‘weak and emotionally unstable’ woman saying ‘Look at me. I am a woman and I can do this’. Isn’t this incredible? She proved my point right that women are as capable as anyone at anything. So I was hooked to her story even before I was offered this telefilm.

  1. What are the lessons you learnt from Marium’s life?

Resolve. Courage. The courage to stand up, look into the eyes of fear and say, “Don’t come back to me, I am over you”. And this is all we need to do wonders in life.

  1. What do you love about her character?

Her focus. When I met her family and friends, I realized she was an extremely focused individual. She set a goal for herself and she got there. She was a perfectionist.

  1. What should viewers expect from this film?

A moving story of a remarkable girl. A self-driven individual who saw life and death differently. She lived wonderfully and she died a martyr. Who wouldn’t want to watch such a story?

  1. How did you prepare for the role (ie physical training etc.)?

I still haven’t been able to decipher my method of acting. It just happens there and then. Maybe I want to be in the moment while it is being done. So for this character, my approach was the same, to get into her head. I asked myself a lot of questions about Marium. What motivated her, what did she feel bad about, how would she cry and smile and love and all. And it helped me a lot while doing the scenes. I made up a sketch of the basic character and then allowed myself to react to situations the character experienced. Since people have seen her talk. They know her. And I never played a real-life character before. So I had to be extra careful of everything. For example, I saw her wearing a specific wristwatch. I knew people wouldn’t notice such detail but I made sure I wear such a watch too. It had to be less of myself and more of her. And it was challenging. I loved doing all the physical training. I loved sports while I was young and that made things easier for me. And you know what the instructors were impressed and they even asked me to join Air Force hahaha.

  1. While filming this movie do you feel like you were impacted personally from the story?

Please describe. The first thing that struck me, apart from the story, was the tough training that our forces go through. One has to be extremely tough both mentally and physically to survive. We shot a lot of scenes at the Risalpur Academy and I got to see their routine up close and I must say I was impressed. Hats off to all the cadets. I jumped off a 36 feet tall structure, I flew a trainer plane, Mashaaq, marched while holding a really heavy gun, ran and did awkward exercises and all this has made me stronger. Marium Mukhtiyar ne maut ka dar khatam kar diya hai. Thank you Marium, my friend. Do you have any message for the audience about this movie? All the mothers and fathers and men and women and girls and boys, basically all the Pakistanis, do watch this telefilm. And allow your daughters and sisters and wives to pursue their dreams. They will make you proud. Ye Marium ki nahin, Pakistan ki Beti ki Kahani hai. See you on the 6th of September.

Ek Thi Marium

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