Will not tolerate ill-mannered daughter-in-law: Gul e Rana

The role of a mother and mother-in-law is perhaps the most influential on Pakistani TV, having little screentime but adequate impact. So much so, that it can make or break impressions of artists who brave the storm of truly embracing their characters – hint; Atiqa Odho in Humsafar. Based on whether one is a reel-life altruist or absolutely conniving, the audience will love or hate the actors portraying either role, especially with the dearth of grey on our television screens. But while mothers on TV cease to evolve, recent years have seen a new and soon-to-be, real-life mother-in-law embracing these roles unhindered. Having her own understanding of the mostly sinister characters offered to her, Gul e Rana, who’s style has made her a must-have for any project these days, is usually seen playing the vamp, and apparently enjoying it. Her son and Pakistani pop sensation Asim Azhar recently got engaged, too, and one can’t help but wonder whether Rana likes stirring the pot at home as well. Great actors in grave roles Speaking to BBC Urdu, the senior explained why she doesn’t take the consequence of the negative roles she plays too seriously, and urged her viewers to do the same. "I don’t think anyone should take negative characters too seriously. I disagree with people who form preconceived notions about actors based on the characters they play. If you disagree with a character, speak against the character, stop character assassinating actors who’re only doing their jobs and judging from your reaction, doing it well.” Presenting the examples of famous villains like Mustafa Qureshi and action hero Sultan Rahi, she added, "Women would be scared of Mustafa Qureshi because of the kind of angry roles he’d often play, but in reality, he is a very kind man." Rana, who even bronzed her skin at the request of a director for a new play, added that because it was the demand of her character, she did not mind. Rana does not mind changing herself to fit into her characters and feels that is the only way to do justice to them. Expectations from daughter-in-law When asked about what qualities she’d want in her daughter-in-law, Rana said, "She should be a good person." Rana’s soon-to-be daughter-in-law is a budding actor and social media sensation Merub Ali. Asim and Merub announced their engagement on March 20. Asim was previously known to be dating Hania Aamir, whom many also dubbed his fiancé. However, nothing was ever officiated between the two and following their breakup, news of them taking indirect and direct jibes at each other continued to surface. Rana, however, is enjoying her son’s newly solemnized relationship and hopes to keep things that way. She admitted that in many households, daughters-in-law are only treated like domestic labour and she does not condone such practices. What she does condemn, albeit, is disrespect. “Yes, one thing I cannot tolerate is badtameezi (disrespect). And only abusing someone isn’t disrespect, disrespect has many forms and I have told Asim that I will tolerate neither.” Sternly, Rana added, “I do not wish for people I will be on family-terms with to have such a quality. I don’t wish for them to be glorifying such demeanour either. Yes, many people today consider it a quality, that 'she does not allow anyone else to talk’. It’s repulsive." Relationship with son Rana went on to recall the time when people would introduce Azhar as ‘Gul e Rana's son’. Now, she is called ‘Asim Azhar’s mother’ and takes pride in it. “I remember there was a time many would introduce Asim as my son but I went to this set recently and heard someone say ‘look, Asim Azhar's mother is here!’ The director told them ‘No, Gul e Rana is her identity.’ But I went to him and said ‘I’m in love with my new identity’.” Rana lamented that despite having a very good relationship with her son, she rarely gets to spend aa much time with him as she’d like. “Asim is often asleep when I leave for work and busy with his work once I’m back so we rarely get to sit around and chat. But Asim makes time for me, no matter how busy he is, he always comes back from work and visits my room." ‘The one who came before me is my senior’ Rana does not consider herself to be a veteran either, suggested that she hasn’t spent as much time in the entertainment industry as most of actors her age. And while she has her reasons, it is a known fact that older actors are rarely roped in or granted opportunities reserved for artists who came in as youngsters and grew old in the media guild. "The one who came before me is my senior, even if he is younger than I am," she said, humbly. “Actors like Bushra Ansari and Behroze Sabzwari have made television what it is today and I respect them a lot,” she added. "When I find myself in their line, I see them from afar. Even when I have to work with them, I still have a sense of who they are and who I am. So even if I get to do the same thing as them, I do it with love." When asked how she feels about being called a “natural”, Rana laughed and said, "To be honest, the first time I worked on the set, I didn't know where the camera was. That's why I didn't become camera conscious. My unawareness became a blessing for me. So, people thought I’m a natural.” However, Rana insisted that "one should do their job with honest, whether one is a make-up artist, an actor or a cook.” Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below. 

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