Tooba Siddiqui opens up about plays Romana on Khuda Aur Mohabbat

The actress shared her experience on developing the character of Romana on Khuda And Mohabbat and her future director and scriptwriting ambitions!

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal

Sub-Editor
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Tooba Siddiqui was a guest on the show “Fuchsia Magazine” where she opened up about her experience of worknig as Romana on the show “Khuda Aur Mohabbat” and how she developed the character fo a courtesan, which was something she had never played before.

The actress recalled how she had signed on the role, and the initial challenges she faced in developing the character such as the difficult Urdu dialogue she had to speak:

“The director, sir Wajahat had approached me for this role. He said to me that he knew how choosy I was in picking up projects, but for this role he could not see anyone else playing her other than me. So when I¬† picked up the script, I was instantly drawn to her character even though she doesn’t play a central role in the series. But in the past the most important thing to me was how much weightage does a character have on the series, even though she might be in there for one or two episodes. So this was a character I decided to pick up.”

 

On developing her character for the show, Tooba said that she and the director had long discussions over her mannerisms, costume, makeup etc. One of the biggest difficulties  she had encountered had been the dialogues of he character, since she spoke in long, difficult Urdu for which Tooba said she had to properly take classes in order to recite them perfectly:

“I had long discussions with Wajahat over how my character should appear on the series like her manner of talking, behavior, makeup, costume etc. The one challenge it presented to me was the difficult Urdu dialogue she spoke in scenes, like she sometimes quotes poets like Ghalib or Mirza and I had to start cramming the lines even though I didn’t understand them at all! This became a joke between me and the director on set because when I would say a couple of lines in a scene, he would ask me if I had understood what they meant at all, and I would refuse. As well as for Romana’s costumes, I had contacted a friend of mine with whom I shared mine and the director’s vision about her dresses, so she made them for me.”

Other than this, Tooba Siddiqui opened up about her directorial debuts and revealed that she had a series coming out soon for which she had penned the script and it was to be directed by Sarmad Khoosat. Opening up about why she chose to take this direction, Tooba said that she was frustrated with the poor character development offered to women in dramas in Pakistan:

“In the past few years, the kind of roles I was offered in shows and films had frustrated me to a greater extent. I think that we are a progressive country, we have women with rich lives since they work as doctors, lawyers, musicians etc. We don’t need to stick to drawing room drama’s and as actors this was frustrating me a lot! The kind of roles also written for women did not flesh out beyond the “good vs evil woman”. Like if I am a good woman, I will never change out of this role for the next hundred episodes even though I am abused and beaten by my husband. Or if I am a bad woman, my character won’t flesh out or change from this role in the next hundred episodes.”

Tooba revealed that after she had finished shooting “Khuda Aur Mohabbat” and then lockdown had commenced, she had kept coming up with ideas and initially had friends in the industry with whom she would discuss ideas. She then decided to sit down and pen a script on her own:

“I had always had the desire to become a director or a script writer. I have friends in the industry with whom I would share idea’s and then I would consistently write them down in a book. Then during lockdown after I had finished shooting Khuda Aur Mohabbat, I had sat down and penned a script in two days. I’m not familiar with technology so I worked along with Hamza Kazi. Then my friend Erum binte Shahid who is a producer helped me pitch it to channels.’

When she was asked about how she made sure to take measures to ensue that her script does not become the familiar content that Pakistani dramas are currently producing, Tooba said that the production house that had greenlighted her script had promised not to interfere in the shoot by censoring any material, which she said had made a lot of difference:

“What I feel is that there are a lot of writers in Pakistan who do want to produce scripts that are not only about family drama’s. But the problem is that too many people interefere into the content by removing or adding material, that originally the script which solely represented the vision of the director, then loses that sight and flops completely. But the channel that had given us the greenlight had promised us that they won’t interfere with our material. And I am also very happy that Sarmad Khoosat had agreed to direct the script because I think he is an amazing director, and can turn this into something incredible.”

You can watch the complete video below: