Love Letters To Icons: Samina Peerzada

There are countless female icons that have coloured our history and left a lasting impression on us with their talent, charisma and presence. Every week, Ammaar – known on Instagram as ammaavocado – will be sharing his letter of love and admiration to some of these inspiring women. This week it’s to the timeless and ever beautiful, Samina Peerzada. 

Pyaari Jiya,

Usually when I write these letters, I refer to the legends by their first name only, because I have only known them through stories and articles online.

For your letter, I decided to use your beautiful nickname Jiya. A name that so eloquently caters to who you are. My mother always says this when she watches your shows, or when we both watch rewind together. She says your tenderness is so evident that anyone could give you their heart, and never ask for it again.

And I think that too, there is a closure in sharing things with someone who accepts them and doesn’t despise them, and I think you teach us how to do that. It’s different with you, Jiya. Our relationship. I never see you as an actor, I see you as someone who shows us the love we deserve.

In crafting this letter, I have failed to find any part of your life that was not graceful and appreciated. Not a part in your life where everyone could not see your heart shine in gratitude for what you had and what you were giving. There were no rumours of your arrogance, hate or any derogatory manner that you ever showcased in the humid caverns of the internet.

Jiya, I will not talk about your flawless acting career, mainly because I may not be able to articulate the ways in which you brought characters to us, and made us believe that we owed them our heart. But I will say that if you gather the tears of those you convinced into crying for an agony that was only written in a script, you would have your own ocean to swim in.

But today, I don’t want to talk about your acting, Instead, I want to talk about you. And the moment I fell in love with you.

Jiya, perhaps for someone watching an actor act means that they act even when the cameras are off. Perhaps the screen hides what an actor or an actress is dealing with beyond their character. And perhaps that’s the art of acting to make the characters grief, your grief. To make their anxious heart, your restless and nervous heart.

I have seen the faces of those who have hid their heart behind cameras and know that sometimes it’s hard to recognise your own pain.

When someone realises they are in love with someone onscreen, in a movie or television show, the ending is usually happy. There is a small glimpse at some interior tension, but it is of the romantic flavour — a person enjoying their brief agony before the inevitable romance commences is a sacrifice most actors make but none speak of. They say pain is a requirement of art, nothing could be further from the truth, Jiya. I believe love is vital, essential, and perhaps the one thing left in this wretched landscape that could save us all for a little bit longer than we deserve. I love my friends even when I don’t tell them enough. I have crawled from the wreckage of enough heartbreak to know who will still be standing when I emerge and who won’t, and I hold those still standing close to me.

I believe you do too, Aapa. And that’s why I love you. I love you for making a lens for us to see the parts of an actor that aren’t presented to us. On your show, Rewind, I see the actresses talk of the ways they failed in the faces of those they loved but found new loved ones as the journey continued. In your industry, there is so much grief to be consumed, but very little to be shared. But you shared it with us, Jiya. You made us realize what it takes to be an actress — I say actress, because I believe that the struggle is greater for women. I came to believe that after swallowing the grief of Qandeel Baloch. The landscape is not the same for everyone of course. But in my profession, grief is celebrated, it is relished and fed to those who wish writing upon themselves.

On your show, Rewind, as you were interviewing Mahira. You mentioned a story about your eldest daughter Anum. You spoke about how you would work everyday, and how your career was flourishing because of the hustle you were putting in. You told us that one day, as you were leaving for work, Anum said “Mama na jain.” to which you replied, “Jaana to parega beta” and then you saw her crying, and asked her to not cry, and Anum gathered her breath and said, “Kya karun mama, ansu ruk he nai rahay” And I can feel the way your heart must have shrunk a little in that moment.

Jiya, I believe that there is no greater sacrifice than to compromise your love. And I admire you for that, I admire you for all that you did for everyone who came after you to become an actress.

Happy Birthday, Jiya. I wish you years upon years of healthy and empathetic living. I wish you a joy that cannot be taken nor be shared. I wish you to stay with us, because part of loving someone means to imagine a world without them, and I have, and I could only see pain. 

Love,

Ammaar.

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