Q&A with Shahnaz Rizwan on BBC Three’s Juice

Q&A with Shahnaz Rizwan on BBC Three's Juice

Q&A with Shahnaz Rizwan on BBC Three’s Juice

What can you tell us about your character Farida?

Farida is a larger-than-life matriarch with big dreams. She can be impulsive, insulting and dramatic, which makes her a very enjoyable character to play.

What did you think when you first read the script?

I was very excited. It was a great opportunity to perform a totally different role than I have ever played.

Did you have any input into the writing process?

Not initially. But Mawaan was very good at working with my ideas during rehearsals and he would often amend the script to suit my voice and acting choices. It is lovely when the process is so collaborative and open.

What was it like working with your two sons?

It was like a dream to start our day early morning sitting in a row in the same make-up trailer. At the same time, it was very nostalgic working with them as after performing with my dad, sixty years ago, I was working with my children in such a professional manner.

Have you worked together before?

When they were children, I staged many local plays and community functions. Performing together was always a part of our life and a creative way to cope with difficult times.

When Mawaan was a teenager he picked up a camera and started making YouTube videos and short films. He made me wear terrible costumes and wigs and told me to act in the videos. I would often just insult him on camera. People on the internet loved it! I had a very busy life and worked many jobs but I did it because I wanted him to stay busy in creative activities and develop his talents. Never could I have imagined he would be writing and starring in his own BBC series. It was emotional to watch our journey come full circle. I am so proud of him and thankful that the terrible YouTube videos paid off.

How would you best describe Farida’s relationship with her family?

Like many people, Farida wants to be seen. She struggles with her family because she believes they are not recognising her for all her talents and hard work. She has made many sacrifices to get her family where they are. She’s a star and she needs everyone to know – whether it’s her children or her acting students.

Behind her dominating attitude is a soft heart. She does love her children, she just doesn’t want to give them the pleasure of knowing that.

Do you have a favourite episode or scene from the series?

Yes, there are many scenes in almost every episode but if I have to pick only one in particular… In episode 3 when Farida and Jamma are watching Guy’s choir performance Farida makes a small emotional confession. It’s a very quick exchange but for a character like Farida, you can see how hard it is for her to be vulnerable. You’ll have to watch it to find out what I mean.

Any funny moments from the set?

I am very good at making realistic sound effects like a dog barking and a crying baby. During rehearsals, the directors Behnam and Gideon heard me bark and became obsessed. Sometimes after an emotional take, I would bark loudly and everyone would start laughing. A dog is very useful for morale on set.

How would you best describe the series?

It is a rollercoaster of vivid visuals, hilarious comedy and relatably flawed characters. It looks at the complexities of romantic relationships, the consequences of a broken family, and how a helpless mum fails to make a happy family in spite of all her hard work and sacrifices. And finally, how the course of a family’s history is changed. We had a lot of fun immersing ourselves in the world of Juice, and the audience will too. It is unforgettable.

BBC Three

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