For Maryam Zakaria, becoming an actress has been a 20-year-old dream. In 2011, she sizzled on screen in 100% Love and now she has a lot more on her plate. We find out more about her journey thus far
ow can someone not fall in love with Sweden and its people? Apart from being one of the happiest countries in the world, it’s the home of Volvo, WikiLeaks, Pirate Bay, bestselling books like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ingmar Bergman, Ingrid Bergman, Alfred Nobel and bombshells like Maryam Zakaria.
“I was born in Iran, but I grew up in Sweden. It’s my home,” Maryam says with a glint in her eyes. It’s tough to make out that she is a Persian and the moment she talks, you would want to listen to her without any interruption. Long before Europeans fell in love with Shah Rukh Khan, Maryam Zakaria was tripping on Bollywood films, especially the dances. “In the late ‘80s, I had gone to Tehran to meet my uncle and he had a collection of Bollywood films. The first film I saw was Mithun Chakraborty’s Dance Dance. I didn’t remember this until my mother told me so. Later, I started imitating dance moves while watching Bollywood films in Sweden,” she recalls. Her love for Indian films grew enormously with time and finally she found a guru to take few lessons in Kathak and Kuchipudi. “It’s been my biggest dream to act in Indian films and dance is my passion,” she reveals.
While Maryam was studying in college, she was invited to perform at various events all over Europe and in 2007 she started Sweden’s first Bollywood dance school named Indisk Dans Studio. “We even had our dance group named Chori Chori. I used to go talk about Bollywood films and dance in various Swedish TV channels and now it has caught up in a big way,” she smiles. Then in 2009, she decided to come to India to pursue her passion. “It was initially very tough to adjust because of the culture shock. But I eventually accepted the way of life in India and I am totally in love with this country. Everything is so colourful and people are extremely warm,” she says. After a few commercials, she did an item number in Nagaram, a Tamil film, but it was Diyalo Diyalo, the item number in 100% Love, which brought her to the limelight. Later, she appeared in films like Brahmigadi Katha and was the second lead in Madatha Kaja. “I want to do more item numbers and lead roles. In my next Telugu film, Arjuna, I am playing a police officer and I recently finished shooting for an item song in Naa Ishtam,” she smiles.
It’s been more than two years since Maryam came to India and we wonder why she didn’t dance in more item numbers after 100% Love. “I rejected a lot of offers. I am very particular about what I wear and what the lyrics mean. I don’t like double entendre,” she reveals. All this for an item song? “I am not here for money or fame but to follow my dreams. Dancing is my passion and everything I do should come from my heart,” she clarifies. Fair enough. So what’s the craziest thing she has done so far? “While shooting for the item number in Nagaram, I had fractured my ribs and believe me that was the most painful thing I had to go through in my life. I didn’t want to cancel the shoot, so I went to a doctor who gave an injection to block the nerves near my ribs,” she recalls.
She’ll soon be seen in Saif Ali Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer Agent Vinod. “My first project in Telugu was a big hit and now I am making my debut in a big project in Hindi. I guess this is my destiny,” she says. Any unfulfilled dreams? “I hope I get an award someday for Best Actress,” she says.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.