Only one out of ten dramas are actually worth watching: Rubina Ashraf

Veteran actor Rubina Ashraf, who recently ventured into the world of direction with Ruswai made an appearance on Time Out with Ahsan Khan along with her daughter, actor Minna Tariq. The duo discussed acting, the golden days of television, as well as the disappointing state the industry finds itself in today.

Speaking about the fresh talent in the TV industry, Rubina shared, “Whenever people ask me about my opinion on the youngsters in the industry, I always say that we are blessed. They’re such an asset and are doing such great work.”

Minna, who recently debuted in her mother’s directorial project Ruswai, explained that she has benefited a lot from her mother being an experienced member of the industry. The actor said, “You get to learn a lot and get to know the difference between right and wrong. I’ve learned everything from my mother, but I feel that the one thing that stands out amongst them is patience.”

Elaborating on how Rubina instilled the quality of speaking up when faced with a problem in the young actor, she shared, “She’s always taught me to speak up if I feel that something is wrong. That helps a lot now. If I go on set and I feel that something isn’t right, I try to correct things wherever I can, because when you speak up, you actually end up fixing things. Until you don’t say something, things will continue the way they have been. At first, I wouldn’t speak up, but my mother told me to go and talk to my producers and directors. When I started to do that, things started to automatically fall into place.”

For Rubina, while there is no dearth of quality actors, the lack of quality scripts has left the TV industry in a disappointing state. “There’s so much that is lacking [on television]. We were the people who put television on the map at a time when everyone was interested in making films only,” she reflected. The actor added, “We earned a name for ourselves all over the world with the plays Ashfaq Sahab, Bano Apa and Mustansar Hussain Tarar wrote. So many big names and the direction of the time with shows like Ankahi and Tanhaiyaan. We did such great work, and when compared to that we are nowhere near where we should have been.”

On the lack of good shows, the veteran actor asserted, “There should have been a level of perfection which just isn’t there. There are still great dramas being made, but that’s only one out of ten. You pick one drama because you have to watch at least one thing.”

When asked by the host whether the lack of finesse can be blamed on privatisation of television, Rubina responded, “This happens. When quantity increases, quality usually goes down. But that should have been an issue in the first five years. Things should have picked up the pace by now.”

On the difficult situation actors find themselves in, she added further, “It doesn’t feel good to say this, because we are also to blame for this in some way or the other. Everyone associated with this field is responsible somehow. And it’s not their fault. An actor will be offered ten scripts and they’ll refuse the first nine due to quality issues but they’ll settle on the tenth because they have a family to feed and a living to make. So, the situation is a bit heartbreaking. We really need to work on our scripts.”

Speaking about the lack of focus on character development, the Pas e Aaina actor shared, “When I watch dramas of today, I see the hero, I know he’s the hero, but I have no idea why he is the hero. There’s no background. When I did Ruswai, I made sure the professions are very in your face. You can tell that it is a doctor or an air hostess. I made sure to include uniforms so that people can tell that these are people from real life.”

On what led her to the world of television, Minna explained that her move towards acting was never forced. She revealed, “I didn’t always want to be an actor and my mother didn’t really push me towards it either. I wanted to try something different and I would always see my mother go to work and I would be fascinated by what she does, so I gave it a shot. Then things just fell into place in a very organic manner, and I started acting.”

On the fact that Minna uses her father’s name as her surname, while her mother uses her maiden name, the young actor shared that the difference leads to some hilarious queries every now and then. “People tend to think that Tariq and Ashraf are different husbands of my mother,” she shared, adding, “They’d ask me who my father is. So, I‘d have to clarify that my mother uses her father’s name and I use my father’s name as a surname. Now I’ve changed my Instagram name to Minna Rubina Tariq to clear any confusion that people might have.”

Reflecting on how she did not change her name after marriage, Rubina said, “I was already famous as Rubina Ashraf, and I’d seen people change their names and then have to change them back eventually. I didn’t want to go through that so I stuck with my father’s name. I was lucky because my husband also didn’t have issues with that.”

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