“I’m a pakki Punjaban in every sense!” – Zara Barring

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“I am a pakki Punjaban in every sense!” – Zara Barring

Name: Zara Barring
Birthday: December 26
Hometown: Vancouver, BC

Life Motto: Reach for the Moon! Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.

How did you get into the industry?  For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted to do is act. When I came of age, I finally expressed this desire to my parents. They were hesitant at first, but eventually gave me the green signal to go to Mumbai and pursue my dreams. While waiting for the right film project to come up, I decided to venture in to television.  I started anchoring for a leading Bollywood entertainment channel and discovered my passion for hosting and presenting. After that, the ball just started rolling and one thing lead to another. I did a Tamil film and also featured in several Punjabi music videos. Last year, I decided to experiment a bit and did a Pakistani telefilm. I also acted in Hindi television serial Razia Sultan.  So yeah…the journey has been quite an eventful one but I’m hungry for more!!

Was it difficult adjusting to a new country and lifestyle? Initially, yes, it was quite difficult because India and Canada are on two opposite sides of the spectrum. My lifestyle in Canada was completely different compared to the Indian way of life, but when you want something bad enough you just suck it up and do what you have to do. I accepted India and everything that came with her with open arms and I can proudly say India reciprocated!! Now I’ve got the best of both worlds…I can adjust anywhere.

Do you see yourself living there permanently? Yes I do see myself living in India but I’ll always have to go back home to Canada every now and then to recharge my batteries. I’ve always felt a connection with India and all my life I’ve felt as if India was calling out to me. This may sound bizarre but it’s the truth…you can ask anybody who has known me since childhood. Ive always wanted to live in India for some strange reason.
At the same time, I  love my homeland, Canada. No matter where I live in the world I can never ever disconnect myself from Canada.The country has given me so much and I’m so grateful that the early years of my life were spent there.  Canada has made me independent and strong but in India is where I discovered my creative and my spiritual side. Zara 3

What was your first major break? My first actual break in to the film industry came in the form of a Tamil film titled Mayakkam Enna. The film starred South sensation Dhanush of Kolaveri Di fame. Being a Punjabi, I knew nothing about the Tamil industry, but still took up the project because it starred Dhanush and was being directed by his brother, renowned director Selvaraghavan. My friends told me they were huge names down South so I thought – why not? By the grace of God, the decision turned out to be a good one. The experience was wonderful and the film became a huge hit. Though my role wasn’t a big one, I got a lot of love and recognition from the Tamil audience. I will always be grateful to the people of Tamil Nadu for being such loyal fans and appreciating the work of this Punjabi kudi!

How did you get into television anchoring and landing the opportunity to host Box Cricket League?  Initially, I had started anchoring just to make some money on the side while waiting for the right acting opportunity to come up but before I knew it,  I started enjoying it and it became a passion. I anchored for many leading Hindi and English language channels. In fact, I even produced and did content writing for a few shows. The credit for Box Cricket League Punjab goes entirely to my friend Gaurav Bhalla who is the writer and creative director of the show. He asked me to come in for an audition and the rest, as they say, is history!

In such a short time you have had the opportunity to do modeling, music videos, films, and television.  What do you like best and what are some upcoming projects?  I enjoy it all equally!! I love my work and feel blessed and grateful that God has given me the opportunity to live out my dreams and pursue my passion. I’ve got a few acting and anchoring projects lined up but will disclose details when the time is right.

Who or what inspires your work? Definitely, my family!! Everything I do, I do keeping them in mind. My parents have made great sacrifices to support my dreams and ambitions. Thinking of them makes me want to work harder and just give it my best. I want to do work that they would be proud of.
Though they love me unconditionally and don’t expect anything from me, I feel I owe it to them to be successful in whatever I do. God willing, I’m sure I’ll get there one day.  Last but not least, I work for all those wonderful people out there who admire, appreciate and support my work.

What is something that not many people know about you? A lot of people don’t know that I’m the nerdiest girl they can ever come across! I love to read. I read anything and everything. I even read the labels on shampoo bottles in the shower!! I’m a total loner and enjoy my own company. The funny thing is, I’m always the life of the party so people find this very hard to believe but I’d rather curl up on the couch with my fuzzy blanket and read a good book or watch a documentary on Investigation Discovery Channel than to go out and party on a Friday night.  Actually there’s a lot more that people don’t know about me – I’m a lover of Urdu shayari, enjoy listening to ghazals and qawalis, I write a lot too; the list goes on and on…Zara2

If you had a chance to travel the world, where would you like to go? Oh there are so many places I’d love to visit. Greece, France, Scotland, Italy…the list goes on and on. I love places that are rich in history and culture so Egypt is my ultimate destination. It has been my childhood dream to visit the Valley of Kings and see the Pyramids of Giza.

Who in the Punjabi entertainment industry inspires you? I’d have to say, Gurdas Maan Saab. He is a man who has achieved global success…there’s not a single Punjabi person out there in the world who does not know who Gurdas Maan is but he is still so humble and down to earth!! It’s unbelievable!  These are the qualities I appreciate and admire in a person. Whether you’re a normal ol’ person or a global icon, your attitude and humility defines who you really are.

What makes you Uber Punjabi? Like a true Punjabi, I’m fearless…I feel if you’re righteous and you’re doing your work with full “imaandaari”, you have nothing to fear.  Above everything, I’m a fighter and I refuse to accept defeat. Living in a city where people sell their soul to the devil without a second thought, I stick to my principles and tell the devil to buzz off! I’m a pakki Punjaban in every sense! Treat me with respect and I’ll hold you in the highest regards, but mess with me and you won’t know what hit you! Due to this attitude of mine, I may have lost out on a lot of work, but I have no regrets. I carry the values and principles my parents gave me like a crown on my head.  Movies come and go, money comes and goes, fame and jawani don’t last forever and at the end of the day all you’re left with is your conscience. If you can look at your face in the mirror and feel a sense of pride, you know you’ve led a good life without any compromises. That’s the life I plan on living and that’s what makes me Uber Punjabi!

Bole so nihaal…Sat Sri Akal!

Interviewed and published by Uber Punjabi

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