Rabia Butt opens up about playing the prostitute Nargis on “Pehli Si Muhabbat”

“This character represents a part of our society which is always ignored, so it was important for me to portray her authentically”

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal

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Rabia Butt has slowly evolved in to a household name as she has astonished fans with her performance as the outspoken and fearless prostitute Nargis on the drama “Pehli Si Muhabbat”. Sitting down with BBC Urdu, she was asked about whether she did initially have any fears before picking up a character who was a prostitute, and fear the backlash, but Rabia said that she was happy to receive the role:

“I did consider the risks that were coming along with playing a character like Nargis because she was a prostitute. But she comes from a specific part of our society which has existed for a long time and people try to ignore or overlook their existence, but that doesn’t cause them to fade away. And then also becoming the step mother to an adult woman, which made it quite risky for me in every possible way. But I still decided to play her character.”

On coming to the experience of working with professional actors on set for the first time like Maya Ali, Sheheryar Munawar and HSY, she said that she was quite taken aback because they were all professionals:

“I was taken aback since I was working with professional people for the first time. This cast also included HSY with whom I had worked before as a fashion model, but unfortunately we did not have a lot of scenes together so we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together.”


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On the positive responses Rabia had received from audiences who were watching the show, the actress said that she doesn’t let fame or praises go to her head and tries to remain humble and grounded more often:

“I don’t take the praise to my head, in fact I am quite clueless even when I receive some positive praises from fans who love my performance on the show. I am a big believer that when God gives you a reward for the hard work you are doing, then you must remain humble and grounded and work hard to ensure that you keep reaping the benefits for all the work you are doing.”

Rabia was also asked about the constant stereotype models faced in the entertainment industry was that they were not good actors, but Rabia said that she often does feel that this common notion was true, but she had deeply dwelled in to Nargis’ character on set so she didn’t feel like it was difficult to adapt to the character:

“I often think that this is true that models cannot become actors because mostly on set, I wasn’t performing a role to perfect a scene but to quickly get over it so I could go home. But the script was written so beautifully and some of the dialogue’s spoken by Nargis resonated with me so deeply because I felt the same way, so I did not face any difficulty in adapting to her character.”

When coming to social media trolls and Rabia being known for being blunt and outspoken on Instagram to respond back to trolls, the actress and model said that she believes that the tongue is powerful than the sword and it does have more effect than physical abuse:

“Of course I believe that everyone has the right to speak their minds, but no one has the right to insult anyone. I also have the choice to ignore the comments, but I don’t want to. It doesn’t mean that I keep responding to every mean comment I receive, but there are some that are quite shocking to me so I do respond back to them. For instance, this uncle said to me that watching my pictures on Instagram was ruining his roza. So I said to him ” Listen, if you think that looking at my pictures is the reason why you cannot keep a roza then you definitely need a medical operation. Because there is not only something abnormal about your body, but also your faith. This is also something that I love about Nargis, and how boldly she sets people right who dare to underestimate her. Like in the scene when Faizullah yells at her to quiet down, she says: ‘Awwaz neechay kar kay baat karo, Faizullah. Mujh jaisi aurat tab bhi uunch awaz nahi sunti jab khareed kay layi ho. Aur tumhari jholi mein tou bin mol a giri hun mein.’ (Control your voice when you’re talking to me, Faizullah! A woman like me will not tolerate abuse even with someone who buys me for my time. And you didn’t even spend a single coin on me and brought me here so don’t think I would listen to this abuse.)”

You can watch the complete interview below:


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