Atiqa Odho Spellbounding as ever

Atiqa Odho is not just a celebrity name that everybody knows of. She is definitely more than that. An entrepreneur, social activist and more importantly a humble and modest person. Her career spans a little over three decades when she started off with modeling and moving on to establish herself as a professional stylist. For her acting came naturally but a tough challenge to manage kids, home and work pressure.

Odho took the challenge head-on and captivated her audience with utter charm and continues to do so. Driven by passion, she ventured into the beauty industry by launching her own cosmetics line by the name of Odho Cosmetics.

Atiqa is known for her beauty, acting finesse and her philanthropic work and causes that she supports.

A determined person by nature, Atiqa Odho plans to continue working fuelled by her drive to achieve more on her journey as a public figure.

Here in an interview with Fashion Collection, she talks about her recent work, her cosmetic’s business and the causes she supports.

Fashion Collection: Let us begin with your latest work ‘Laikin’. What is your character in it and what do you feel about starring with an Indian actor?

Atiqa Odho: Laikin is a typical lower middle class family serial with complicated relationships and a love triangle. The story revolves around my on screen daughter (Played by Sara Khan) and her marital misfortunes. Working with Sara is like working with any other fellow actor. She is easy-going and comfortable around all of us, which is a very good thing.

Fashion Collection: What do you feel about Pakistani actors going to India for acting or modeling?

Atiqa Odho: I believe like all other professionals, actors have a right to work any where in the world and earn a living. If other professionals can get work permits and visas to live and work in foreign countries, why can’t artists work between India and Pakistan? If they are doing a job legally and paying taxes, there should be no issue. It’s unfortunate how some elements in India are behaving with ours and their own actors and should stop politicizing high profile professionals like this to push their own agenda.

Fashion Collection: Going back to your yesteryears when you started with ‘Sitara and Mehrunnisa’, has acting career changed you for better or worse?

Atiqa Odho: I feel more in control of my work and life at this age. When I was a younger woman, I was confused and scared about what would happen to me, my children and our future. Today, I have certain challenges to face still but am definitely in a better place emotionally to deal with things. My craft has grown and molded over the years and I am constantly interested in improving my skill set as an actor. My job gets very exciting day by day. If you love what you do, it only gets better.

Fashion Collection: Sitara and Mehrunnisa is one of the greatest plays in the history of TV. You were one of the lead female characters, how was your experience in that serial?

Atiqa Odho: Sitara Aur Mehrunissa for me was not just a project or TV serial. It was a start of a beautiful journey that I am still enjoying. The people I started my career with in it are like family to me and I am truly blessed to have them in my life. The play became an iconic classic hit. I became an over night household name because of it.

Fashion Collection: You have been blessed with ageless beauty. How important is it for an actor to be beautiful to be successful?

Atiqa Odho: You are being very kind. Aging on screen is perhaps harder to do than in normal life as you see yourself change over the years. Whatever little delay in aging I have managed to pull off is part genetic and part a good, healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, actors do not need youth and beauty to continue to grow and work. We lean on our craft a lot as we age and we tend to get more versatile in role selection and performances.

Fashion Collection: What has been your most challenging role so far?

Atiqa Odho: All my roles have been very exciting and have given me a lot of emotional satisfaction. I’ve deliberately selected very diverse roles so that my audience is not bored and I keep it interesting for myself as well.

Fashion Collection: You have done many negative roles as well, what do you personally prefer – a negative role or a positive one and why?

Atiqa Odho: Every woman I have brought to life on screen has had a story to tell. Drama is a reflection of our overall society. I don’t judge people easily hence don’t consider a character to be negative or positive. People are complicated and interesting. I learn from everyone around me.

Fashion Collection: If you were to choose between Film, TV or Theatre, what would you choose?

Atiqa Odho: I love working on all mediums of communication as they are all so different. An actor must work in all these to build their portfolio and craft. Each one has a different type of performance scale required.

Fashion Collection: What do you feel about the quality of Pakistani films?

Atiqa Odho: I think we have great talent in Pakistan and many potential great filmmakers in the line up. It’s all about how much support they get to make a good movie. We are seeing many subjects come out on our screens, which is a very positive sign as Pakistani cinema is showing its keen to project various topics to bring forth for the audiences to enjoy.

Fashion Collection: What have you learnt about yourself since you became a celebrity?

Atiqa Odho: I may be celebrity to others but to myself, I’m still the same woman that has survived through many life challenges and have succeeded to make some thing of my life. It’s been a tough but productive journey and the celebrity part is just extra baggage. Since I do have a prominent name in Pakistan, I decided very early in my career to use it for more than just my job. I have supported many CSR projects and given back to the people that made me who I am in my own small way. A sense of contribution is important to me. You need to like yourself more than other people. It keeps the balance of things straight.

Fashion Collection: What about your upcoming acting projects?

Atiqa Odho: I have several plays launching this month, some in production and am currently shooting a Syed Noor movie these days. I am also working on two film scripts that I would like to produce next year myself.

Fashion Collection: What is the motto you live by?

Atiqa Odho: Stay strong and everything else shall take care of itself!

Fashion Collection: What has been your biggest success in life so far?

Atiqa Odho: My three beautiful and talented children. I am fortunate to have such good, honest, intelligent, hard working children. The greatest compliment for me is when people praise my children. That to me has been a job well done.

Fashion Collection: What would you call your prized possession?

Atiqa Odho: Same answer as above, my children are not a possession but are my greatest prize for sure. I also have two beautiful grand children to add to the list now mashallah.

Fashion Collection: What do you consider your biggest strength?

Atiqa Odho: Clarity of thought. I am not a confused person. I know what I want and work very hard to achieve it.

Fashion Collection: You have been supporting many social causes. Which social issue needs most attention in Pakistan?

Atiqa Odho: Breast Cancer Awareness. The incident is very high in Pakistan and I am so proud of the work I have managed to do over the last ten years for this cause. Early detection is the key to save lives so getting the message out for women to go get their annual checkups has been my main goal on all public forums.

Fashion Collection: As a Chairperson of ‘FPCCI Standing Committee on Production and Entertainment’, what had been your primary goals and responsibilities?

Atiqa Odho: While I was Chairperson at FPCCI-SCPE last year my main objective was to launch the first national trade conference for the business of entertainment. I believe that this is one way to start dialogue amongst all stakeholders and get serious interest in our content from investors. It is also crucial we keep developing the trade as it has a direct impact on the soft imaging of Pakistan.

Fashion Collection: Tell us something about Atiqa Odho Cosmetics line. Why did you start and how passionate are you about it now?

Atiqa Odho: My cosmetics line is my passion. I started it in 2004 and never thought I would come this far. Today, it stands out as one of the highest viewed online brands of Pakistan. I am very proud of this as in the start, everyone told me I was crazy to want to go into retail. I just wanted to do it as there was a need for good quality products and affordable pricing in our markets. It’s a promise we continue to keep to date.

Fashion Collection: Describe Atiqa Odho in three words.

Atiqa Odho: Determined, Resilient and Adventurous.

Fashion Collection: If you could change three things about yourself, what would they be?

Atiqa Odho: One should learn to be happy with who they are and thank god for the good things in them and work to improve their inner weaknesses.