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“We should ban terrorists instead of artists.”

Indian actress Sara Khan, who is gearing up to star in an upcoming Pakistani drama serial, talks to Instep about her cross-border experience, and her love for Pakistani food

“We should ban terrorists instead of artists.”

Indian actress Sara Khan, who is gearing up to star in an upcoming Pakistani drama serial, talks to Instep about her cross-border experience, her love for Pakistani food and why artists are beyond borders.

For the Pakistani audience addicted to never-ending Indian soaps, Sara Khan is a familiar face. The Muslim-Indian actress rose to fame with her appearance in the most controversial reality show of India, Bigg Boss in season 4 (which also featured our very own Veena Malik) and hasn’t looked back since then.

As an actor, Khan has swiftly become a fan favorite with television hits like Bidaai, Ram Milaye Jodi and Susral Simar Ka and has also explored the world of Bollywood with the film, Midsummer Midnight Mumbai.

Last seen essaying a supporting role in the Vidya Balan-Emraan Hashimi starrer Hamari Adhuri Kahaani, the ebullient 25-year-old (who also ventured into production earlier this year), has completed the shooting for her first Pakistani serial, Bekhudi. Cast opposite Noor Hassan (Humsafar fame), the serial is produced by Sana Shahnwaz of Mann Mayal.

“When I first entered Pakistan, I was very scared. But I soon realized that there is no difference in both the media industries at all,” Khan told Instep in an extensive telephonic conversation. “It was an amazing experience, working with everybody; I made some great friends and I am actually in love with Pakistani food.”

Chullu Kebabs happen to be her favorite dish; director Aabis Raza of Nazoo fame introduced Sara to them. “I’ve been craving to have some ever since I’ve come back to Mumbai (laughs).”

Not only did Khan enjoy Pakistani cuisine, but she also happens to share great on and off-screen camaraderie with her co-star, Noor. Speaking about how she first met the young heartthrob, Khan stated, “Noor has become one of my best friends. I first met him at the Karachi airport where I forgot my iPad and I had nobody to contact since our director was travelling. It was very awkward, but he was kind enough to help me get it back. There’s been no looking back ever since.”

Given the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan, post Uri attack, Khan’s parents were extremely concerned and rightfully so, but soon found out that their daughter was in good hands.

“My family was very concerned when the whole instability started off, but I showed them around on FaceTime and they knew that I was safe and being well looked after,” she shared while praising her colleagues for “going out of the way to make me feel at home.”

Rather than suppressing artists, Khan believes that both nations must try in fumigating terrorists. “We should ban terrorists instead of artists. I do not support this at all. It is Pakistani actors’ talent and destiny that makes them stand out.”

The actress also feels the government(s) should solve disputes by engaging in dialogue since it is the only way forward. “I’ve seen the people and the interiors of both countries and it’s truly not the way it’s being portrayed. We need to calm down and speak,” she observes. “Nobody wants war. Whatever it is and whoever is escalating it so much simply needs to resolve it by dialogue.”

Despite having starred in Geo’s Eid telefilm Tujh Se Hee Rabta, Bekhudi happens to be Khan’s first experience shooting in Pakistan in the major cities: Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

“The serial that I’ve done, to an extent, deals with karma. Your past can come back and haunt you and above all, it’s a message for people who don’t realize what they’re doing with life,” Khan reveals while spilling some beans about her forthcoming serial for us. “I play the character of an ambitious young girl, who is very passionate about education, but goes through something in life and faces the consequences.”

Though Khan mainly took up the serial because of the script and her character, she also happens to be an admirer of Urdu language and wants to widen her horizon.

“I always wanted to do something different from Indian television. My nani [maternal grandmother] happens to be a fan of Pakistani serials and followed them religiously on Zindagi channel. She wanted to see me in a Pakistani serial, so when I was offered Bekhudi, how could I have declined?” says the star.

Having received other offers from Pakistan (in film and television), Khan will make her selection very soon. While Bekhudi will air on a local entertainment channel this fall, Khan has already  signed up for a mysterious project (on this side of the border) with her newfound best friend, Noor. And, her future, on both sides of the border, definitely holds promise.

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