Chalawa was exciting and a learning experience for me: Navin Waqar

by Asif Ali
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Bold, beautiful, and headstrong; Navin Waqar is no less than an empress in the realm of entertainment.

There is always a fire in her eyes, a passion that she then translates into her craft and creates magic on screen. Sharply observing her career trajectory, we deduced that the starlet is a firm believer of quality over quantity. She will probably sign projects very seldom but deliver them all with aplomb.

Despite the fact she will remain famous for her antagonist avatar in Humsafar, Navin has made sure she rises from the shadow of that vampy role and prove she is beyond Sara.

She proved that she can make us laugh as Annie, inspire us as Emaan in Hum TV’s Mol, and now is pumped up to spook us all out with her mysterious character in Chalawa.

This drama is unlike the rest that Navin signed up for. In fact, with horror and thriller as its genre, all eyes are on Chalawa at the moment. Expectations are high from the story’s execution and the entire cast. After all, directors and writers rarely touch upon this genre. But that doesn’t mean there is a low demand for horror stories in Pakistan’s television industry. Amidst love triangles and saas-bahu brawls, we surely need dramas that can be a breath of fresh air on our screens.

Will Chalawa be able to fill the missing gap? We asked Navin Waqar what made her chose this drama. Hopeful that the audience will be gripped by it, here’s all that the starlet revealed to us in a heart-to-heart.

What made you choose Chalawa?

Chalawa isn’t your typical love triangle with characters whose single aim in life is to get married. This was a challenge for a lot of reasons and a risk as well because this genre is not touched upon as much.

The story is different; the treatment is something that stands out. I always look to experiment and take a chance and that’s what I loved about Chalawa. I picked it because it’s nothing like what’s running on television at the moment.

Was it a challenge for you while playing spooky scenes? How did you prepare for them?

The first thing I realized was that I have never actually screamed out of fear on screen before so that was a challenge. Being afraid without overdoing it with the expressions. I’m a huge horror buff so I’ve seen pretty much every movie out there which helped me prepare accordingly for Chalawa.

I have never delved into this genre before so it was exciting and a learning experience for me at the same time. Luckily I had the visionary duo of directors cheering on me.

Would you explain your role as a mother in the plot?

Mahnoor is a character who has lost the love of her life and now her entire life revolves around her daughter Sawera. She is a level-headed, pragmatic, and strong woman who finds herself fighting forces that were unimaginable, inexplicable.

We see her determination and strength shine through once the story progresses. It’s a story about sacrifice, the love between a mother and daughter, and how power corrupts even the best of us.

So how would you describe what is coming up next in Chalawa without spoiling too much?

The story has just begun so there is so much in store. The audience will get to know the history of the family, the real reason why this entity latches itself onto Sawera.

There are major shocking twists and turns because this isn’t just horror but is a mystery thriller as well. This isn’t a story of an ordinary family. It will keep you hooked I promise.

Horror is a rare genre in Pakistan’s entertainment industry. Those who even try it often fail in executing it to its best. Do you think Chalawa will be able to make a mark on-screens?

Because we’ve hardly touched upon this genre, every attempt is going to be a stepping stone. It’s going to be a learning experience for the directors and actors. I’m not saying that Chalawa is perfect regarding its execution but I hope it leaves a mark because of its story and the hard work that has gone into it.

I’ve been very lucky to have worked with Shamoon Abbasi and Najaf Bilgrami because they have done horror and thrillers before. This wasn’t an easy project but what resulted is the collective effort of the entire team and I sincerely hope people will give this a chance so that it can pave way for future projects in this genre.

For a drama so serious, any hilarious memory from the sets?

Many! I was very lucky to be working with such wonderful people. Najaf has a great sense of humor and so do Naveed Raza and Ali Ansari. I had a spectacular time with Naveed shooting this one particular scene where I had to physically attack him. He had to fall repeatedly but he kept missing the mark and we couldn’t stop laughing.

Share with us any paranormal experience from your real life?

I’ve experienced a few things that chilled me to the bone. When I was little I was told my grandparents’ house was haunted. As a child, I didn’t understand what that meant but strange things used to happen in that house. Like I would hear someone calling me but no one would be around. Or hearing constant banging on the doors but the rooms would be empty. Things would go missing and then magically reappear. I guess that’s  why I’m not easily rattled by the unseen.

What is Navin aiming to explore next?

I have just finished a short film for the web and I am going to be shooting a web series soon which touches upon highly sensitive social issues and is an action thriller. I’m always looking for something different, subjects that people normally wouldn’t choose.

I aim to show our audience that there is more to life than wanting to marry your cousins. There are a thousand stories that can perhaps encourage people to give new ideas a chance.

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