Bushra Ansari says there are two things in life that have made her last in showbiz — her appearance which makes her evergreen and the interesting characters she plays on screen.
Her reason for doing things only once is because “repetition does not create the same impact.” And that is why she has not repeated the character of Bijli or her hilarious parody of singer Salma Agha, an extremely popular impersonation.
Bushra’s versatility is a powerful ingredient in her never-ending popularity, and activities such as producing, compering and writing for television are now as much a part of her life as acting. “Change is necessary, that is why I left Loose Talk after 11 episodes,” she says.
Bushra Ansari began her career more than three decades ago and she met TV producer Iqbal Ansari when she was doing Kaliyan, a programme for children from Islamabad. He became a source of encouragement for her after their marriage. But with their two daughters born in a household which breathed media, their lack of interest in showbiz comes as a real surprise, “Our daughters have inherited our talents but are not interested in acting,” the accomplished actress says ruefully.
Her getting into writing was due to a chance meeting with a woman she met some 12 years ago. “Her story was interesting and I decided to write about her,” says Bushra. The result was Neeli Dhoop, in which a widow remarries after some years and her son-in-law reacts adversely to it. “I have written 70 plays so far.”
Given the choice, Bushra is unable to choose between singing, writing or acting as her first love. “I have done jingles, I’ve walked the ramp as a model, I have acted and sung songs. I can do anything,” she says smugly.
In the beginning, her parents didn’t allow her to sing on TV, but she was given permission to perform on radio. Fateh Ali Khan, Amanat Ali’s brother, would teach her ragas at the station, and being a quick learner she would perform well. She has recently written a serial in which she will play the role of a singer. Ansari says it will be a refreshing change for her.
Bushra’s recent serial Dolly ki Baraat, which she co-wrote, was a huge hit with the viewers. Even serious-minded people took out time to watch it. “It was popular because we had a good team such as Javed Sheikh, Saba Hameed, Salman Ahmed and young artists who were excellent. A good team works wonders along with good directors, and we were lucky to have Marina Khan and Nadeem Baig in the director’s seat.”It was a sequel to Aazar ki Aayegi Baraat which was aired last year. Dolly ki Baraat’s most popular character, Saima Chaudhry, was played by Bushra who did comedy after a very long time, “It had the highest ratings in all the channel plays, and the character is one of the most successful in my career.”
From yesterday’s Bijli to Dolly today, it has been an enjoyable and fulfilling journey for Bushra. The years have groomed her into becoming one of the finest actors. She acknowledges that luck has given her good characters which she has enriched with her talent.
Bushra emphasises that she enjoys doing all sorts of characters — serious, comical or anything that suits and/or challenges her. “I don’t need the money. I hate sitcoms and that’s why I have never done them because they are so unreal, with recorded laughter in the background. Aangan Terha did not have laughter and it was extremely popular,” she says.
Her memorable plays are all from PTV which include Ab Mera Intezar Kar by Noorul Huda Shah and directed by Iqbal Ansari, the long play Zara Si Aurat directed by Sultana Siddiqi and Raat Gaye by Bano Qudsia, directed by Mohammad Nisar Hussain. “They were all well-written and had depth,” she adds.
Bushra’s comic impersonations do not in any way portray the real her, “There is nothing comic in life, there are too many ups and downs. Life changes with time: I had a good life when I was in my father’s home with an expressive and loving family. Married life is so different, with so many responsibilities.”
Bushra Ansari may have suffered life’s ups and downs just as much as everyone else, but her spunk and cheerfulness have helped her through the years, giving her renewed energy just when she needed it most. Her contentment is quite obvious.