The Secret Word: Kiran Malik’s Star Knows No Bounds!

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You’ve seen her face represent an array of clothing brands. You’ve styled your statement outfit courtesy Style Berri. You’ve seen her alongside Farhan Saeed on his hit music video “Maula” playing the gorgeous woman beside him. But what you’re about to see is her gracing the big screen in her role as Meher, the Memsaab in the upcoming Indie movie, “Pinky Memsaab” releasing nationwide on the 7th of December. She is a full time HR consultant based in Dubai. She is a highly acclaimed model. She is a connoisseur of style and fashion. She’s also a mother. Her name is Kiran Malik. A woman who wears different hats and discovers new talents. And yes, she does have the same hours in the day as all of us!

In a time where women empowerment is growing in popularity, one considers it a privilege to be able to know a woman who has remained fearless in chasing after her dreams. Modeling began as a hobby for her, which then turned into a job. Off the camera, she was working for corporations such as JP Morgan and ASOS. With each passing year, Kiran’s determination grew stronger, and with that opened doors to fruitful ventures such as Style Berri – her online clothing business. Along with managing that, she works as a full time HR consultant and is a mother to a beautiful girl, Imaan.

Kiran’s story is one that proves to all of us that it’s never too late to discover a new talent. We mustn’t be afraid to take chances, and that we must be open minded and positive in the face of uncertainty. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her as she discussed her journey to modeling and acting, as well as revealing what we should expect from her upcoming film “Pinky Memsaab” and much more!

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1. What made you want to dive into the field of acting? Did you have any fears? 
That’s an interesting question. I never thought I’d act because I felt I lacked the confidence and skill. But when Shaan Shahid saw me and said he saw an actor inside of me, I never looked back. I fell in love with it and wanted to do more. He’s the one who got me in and I give him full credit!

2. Can you reveal one of your favorite moments from shooting Pinky Memsaab? 
I really enjoyed the time I spent in Islamabad with these two brilliant actors who play my parents in the film. They’re stage actors and I learned so much from them. I used to be very close to my father, so the scenes I did with the actor who played my father were very close to my heart. There’s a scene where I’m having a discussion with my dad, and it felt like I was sitting in my own lounge having it with my Abba who passed away four years ago. The scene was very emotional, and the director came and saw I had tears in my eyes. She immediately decided to role it and we shot two uncut scenes back to back. It was just one of those unforgettable moments from the lines I spoke to the atmosphere. It made me miss my father.

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3. You assume different professions – would you say that lifestyle of juggling different things has shaped you into the person you are today? 
When you assume different professions, you get to learn time management. You get to know how to prioritize your work and how much time you have to dedicate to each of the professions. But you have to keep a balance as well. What I’ve learned from juggling all these responsibilities is to manage your time well and prioritize.

4. What are some of the places you like to escape to? 
I would say I’m very old school. One of my favorite places where I’ll go and grab some me time would be Paris any other day. I just love the city, I love the people and I love the food! It just makes me happy. London is a second home to me so it’s always amazing to go back. Lahore makes me feel like home when I’m there and it’s always a good time with friends and family. My new favorite place is Vienna. I think I’m totally in love with it!

5. Who are you hoping to inspire? 
I don’t know about inspiring people. My goal is to convey messages through my acting skills. If I can do that, I guess I can inspire people. I guess I want them to learn and relate to the work I do.

6. What was your first impression of your character, Meher? 
When I read the character for the first time, it reminded me of every socialite in Dubai. That’s exactly what Meher is. But she is also someone who is very content and strong, which every girl is as well. It’s a story of a very strong and professional girl who sometimes has to do things to please other people, and hence lose track of her own profession.

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7. What was it about the script that made you want to be apart of the film? 
The script was very simple and the film is very simple. There aren’t too many highs and lows, and that’s what Pinky Memsaab is. When I read the script, I actually felt like small little things that we do in their life relate to having a maid. Whenever I go to my mothers house in Lahore, I’ll hear something small about my long term maid Rizwana who’s like a sister to us. So when I read the script, I felt that someone is finally capturing the things that we hear – such as maids having issues and there’s a Dubai socialite mixed in because it’s a Dubai story. There’s a lot of sociatal relatability in this script. What you see is not what you get. Everyone looks very pretty and prim but inside they have a lot of difficulties in their life. So that’s what made me like this script. It was also a plus point for me because most of the shooting was going to be in Dubai!

8. Your character is a Dubai based socialite who’s also a writer – how did you manage to play such a juxtaposed role? 
It was a tad bit difficult! As a socialite myself, I’m always networking because of the work I do so the socialite part was a little easier to play because it ties into my life in many ways. Yet it was also difficult in its own way because you have to persuade the audience that you can combine both your on and off screen identity. To play a writer was very interesting, and I had workshops with Shazia, the director to help prepare me. What made it easier to transition into character were the incredible theater actors I was working with. They made me feel very comfortable and helped me in the whole process of Meher.

9. The film “Pinky Memsaab” is about self discovery – would you say Meher and the film taught you anything? 
Pinky Memsaab taught me the importance of relationships. Sometimes you have to be very selfish for yourself which girls normally don’t do. They let go of themselves when they get married and they do things the way their other half wants. Meher taught me to be selfish and do what you think is right for you.

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10. Since your character is a fashionista as well, who was in charge of your styling and wardrobe? Did you have a say in how you were styled? 
Styling in the whole film was 85% done by myself. Shazia, the director wanted me to style myself my way. She wanted Meher to possess my true style, so that made my life very easy. I’ve used half my closet so when my close friends see the film, they’ll definitely spot a few familiar items! I had a say in not just my style but the style of whoever was present for the shoot. I like everyone to look nice and I do give my opinion freely and honestly. There were a few times where the director intervened for what she thought would suit the scene better. But other than that, yes I had a say in how I was styled!

11. What was the energy like on set?
The energy on the set was always nice! Sometimes it used to be stressful, because the actors were new and concerned about timings and since the movie is a low budget film, there was lots to stress on. Whenever we would have a long shoot, I’d always try and sprinkle some positivity so I’d bring donuts in and we’d all chit chat. I gained some valuable friendships with the DOP on set along with a South Indian man who was in charge of sound and recording.

12. What would you want audiences to take away from this film? 
I would want them to take away the same lesson I’ve learned from the film, and that is to be a bit selfish. Do things your own way. Your relationships are important but so are you. You only get one life and you should live it for you.

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13. Do you believe Pakistani cinema should produce more Indie films? Why? 
I believe and I have a big hope that after Pinky Memsaab, Indie films will be more promoted and produced. People are slowly grasping the fact that you don’t have to have a big budget film with a glittering cast. You can have small films with new actors who deserve a chance. If the subject is nice and if it has a meaningful message the film will do well. But I have a feeling that Pakistani cinema will give a space to Indie films.

14. On top of being an actress, you’re also a highly acclaimed model, owner of Style Berri, full time HR consultant and mother –  how did you manage your time while shooting? 
I just try to manage to give my time to every single thing and balance it out. When my daughter’s school work is piling up, I try not to schedule anything during those days so that my full attention is focused on her. For example, her exam was yesterday and I had to attend the Masala Awards. So I sat with her while my hair was getting done for a few hours to go over her school material with her and do homework. And then I was off and had a wonderful time. So yes it’s about managing your time well. With shooting for the film,  Shazia the director was super kind to me in terms of catering to my time schedule. I had taken annual leave so it was all factored into the shooting schedule. The same can be said for Shaan Shahid when it came to shooting Zarrar. I’ve been blessed with two amazing and understanding experiences with these two directors!

15. What can we expect from this film? 
Don’t expect that it’s a big budget film with lots of songs and stuff. It’s a very raw film where you see relationships that you can relate to. We’re just trying to portray them in our small budget film and I hope we can convey just how important those relationships are in your life.

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16. What other projects are you working on? 
Currently I’m working on Zarrar with Shaan Shahid. That’s the project that’s in the loop right now!

17. There’s a quote from the movie “Some things are beautiful from a distance, but when you go close, it isn’t what it seems” – do you agree with that? 
I totally agree with this! For example you’re sitting in a fancy sports car and you don’t feel 100% comfortable. Life looks very pretty and hush hush like Meher’s life from the outside, but who really knows what’s going on inside?

18. Which song from the movie’s soundtrack is your favorite? 
It would have to be Jogia!

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