Posts Tagged ‘Aliza Vellani’
Aliza Vellani is no stranger within the Canadian entertainment industry.Particularly, the actress is well known for her role as the teenaged character of Layla Siddiqui on CBC’S hit sitcom,Little Mosque on the Prairie.
With Little Mosque having been off the air for nearly 2 years and Aliza continuing to explore pursuits within the Canadian entertainment industry , I thought it’s a great time to connect with the delightful actress.
Particularly we discuss Little Mosque’s impact, her reflections on portraying the character of Layla as well as the series finale and much more! We also discuss the actress’ role on CTV’S Motive in the show’s upcoming second season which is scheduled to debut in summer 2014.
Read through the complete interview with Aliza Vellani below and share your thoughts on it in the comments section.
Abbas Karimjee:How do you think both Little Mosque and specifically the character of Layla will be remembered as?
Aliza Vellani:I think Layla will be remembered as a loveable Muslim teenager. A young girl, who simply goes through the everyday struggles of discovering her own identity. Layla had the added challenge of finding a balance between her family values and the values of the community at large. I think this is something all teenagers can relate to and it makes Layla a charming character to remember.
AK: Little Mosque on the Prairie aimed to dispel stereotypes about Muslims and help bring light to the way in which we are all similar regardless of our cultural or religious differences. To what extent do you think the show was successful in achieving this goal and essentially how do you think it changed how the mainstream society perceives Muslims?
AV:Little Mosque on the Prairie was remarkable as it served to educate its audiences on Islamic culture and practices in a humourous and family friendly setting. In doing so it tried to dispel those stereotypes by using them as a source of laughter. In a wonderful ‘laugh at yourself’ style.
AK:Little Mosque was the first of its kind, in terms of a show which used comedy to showcase Muslims in a positive light. How do you think the fact that CBC dared to feature the show, reflects Canadian culture?
AV:I think it reflects Canadian culture in a very positive light. CBC tackled sensitive and potentially controversial issues in a great way. It demonstrated multiculturalism and acceptance as a work in progress not just in Canada but around the world.
AK:When we last saw Layla in the series finale, she informed her father, Baber [Manoj Sood] that she had decided to pursue acting instead of going to medical school. Although the show is no longer on the air, what was your reaction to Layla’s decision and how do you envision her future?
AV:In many ways, I saw a big part of myself in Layla. It made the ending so special to me because it reflected my own pursuit in life. I like to imagine that Layla still manages to drive her Dad crazy with her choices in life and yet give him memories to cherish. I believe the healthy tug of war between Baber and Layla continues in every loving household as young girls explore their options in life with Daddy on guard.
AK:How has working on Little Mosque impacted both your career and your personal life?
AV:Being on Little Mosque on the Prairie was the most amazing experience. The best training one can get is through experience. I was so lucky that Little Mosque presented itself to me at such a young age. I was also very lucky to be able to work with several seasoned performers. They remain my mentors and I consider them part of my family. I really grew up on that show and it felt like a wonderful chapter in my life ended with the series. Little Mosque on the Prairie gave me more than I ever could have hoped and I will always be grateful for that.
Let us discuss your role on CTV’S Motive.
AK: What character do you portray and how many episodes do you appear in?
AV:I play a doctor named Dr. Gita Ambreen in the eighth episode of Motive’s second season.
AK:Lets discuss how you were appointed to the role of Dr.Ambreen. Were you contacted or did you audition? Could you please walk us through this initial process?
AV:My agent, Emilio Salituro from Muse Artist Management, had contacted me with the audition a couple of days before the taping. Luckily, I was able to audition between classes at SFU.
AK: What can you tell us about Dr.Gita Ambreen? Could you please describe her personality and perhaps how it differs from Layla’s?
AV:Layla was a teenager in the series while Dr. Gita Ambreen is both an adult and a doctor. Dr. Ambreen is a naturally professional character. She follows protocol. On the other hand Layla, was a charming but rebellious teenager.
AK:Portraying a role in a crime series can have a more serious and darker tone than a comedy series such as Little Mosque on the Prairie. What challenges were involved in adjusting to working on a darker, more serious show? Which type of genre do you prefer working in?
AV:A comedy is very light hearted while a crime series is quite serious reflecting high stakes. I loved working in comedy, but being part of a crime genre was new and extremely exciting. It is definitely a genre that I would love to do more of.
AK:Did you have to do research to portray the role of a doctor? If so, could you please walk us through this process?
AV:Much of the dialogue in the scenes was fairly straightforward so there wasn’t much I had to research. Of course an important part in preparing for a scene is making sure you know exactly what you are talking about. I had to make sure I truly understood what I was saying, and knew how Dr. Gita Ambreen contributed to the events that occurred.
AK:Motive is a series where investigators try to look at who committed a murder by looking at what the motive of the crime is and based on that, who may have committed the crime. Without giving too much away, how does your character support the storyline of the episode in which you appear?
AV:Dr. Ambreen plays a small role in furthering the investigation when Detectives Vega and Flynn follow a lead in the case.
AK:Though you only worked on Motive for one episode, are there any favourite memories either onscreen or off screen which you would like to share with viewers?
AV:Working on Motive was a wonderful experience. It was great getting to know the other cast and crew on the show between takes on set. My favourite moments on set seem to occur when the unexpected happens. As I was playing a doctor, I was given a pager to attach to my belt during the scene. As we began to run the scene, my pager goes off in the middle of the scene. It was an unexpected surprise.
Lets discuss your career in general.
AK:You recently completed studying Theatre at the Simon Fraser University. Congratulations! How does it feel and what aspirations do you have for your acting career at this point?
AV:Thanks Abbas! It is such a relief to have completed my university degree but also very scary as I enter yet another new and unknown chapter in my life. As an actor, you are constantly in training to strengthen your skills but this will be the first time I will be pursuing acting without being a fulltime student. I think at this point in my career, anything is possible. I am very excited to put all of my efforts into being an actor and working hard to achieve that goal.
AK: You have led a distinguished career, having developed a fair bit of prominence within the Canadian entertainment industry. What advice do you have for youth who are interested in pursuing a career in acting or in the arts, in general?
AV:Thank you again. That is so kind of you to say Abbas. Hopefully this is just the beginning. It takes so much to pursue your passion and it is something I think everyone should do no matter what the obstacles. In pursuing acting as a career, I think my advice for youth would be to always try and have fun. The reason you pursue your passion is because you want enjoy what you do every day. If you lose that, what’s the point? Never forget to enjoy yourself, even when auditioning. In my mind, auditioning is just as much a part of the job description.
AK:Do you have a message for fans who have been following your career?
AV:I would like to say thank you for all the support I have been given so far, and I hope you will continue to enjoy the work I do in the future. It has been an amazing journey so far and I cannot wait for what lies ahead.
Viewers of Little Mosque on the Prairie should be excited to discover that the fifth season of the sitcom is now available for purchase through CBC’S Online Shop for a current sale price of $25:99[CA]
The fifth season of Little Mosque on the Prairie, which initially aired from January 2011- March 2011 featured Amaar [Zaib Shaikh]and Rayyan’s [Sitara Hewitt]relationship as an engaged couple and the challenges involved in the two’s relationship which was observed in accordance to the Islamic faith,leading up to the much anticipated wedding. Meanwhile Reverend William Thorne[ Brandon Firla] attempts to reform and build positive relationships in the community in various ways, including one of a romantic nature with the town’s librarian, Rose. The season also brought forth special guest appearances by cast members from earlier seasons including Derek McGrath[ Reverend Duncan Magee] , Carlo Rota[ Yasir Hammoudi] and Aliza Vellani[ Layla Siddiqui].
The 2 disc DVD set features all 14 episodes as well as a bonus blooper. Additional features have been listed below, as seen on CBC’S Online Shop.Shipping is typically expected within 3-4 days, however may vary somewhat depending on factors such as location .
- Closed Captioned
- 16:9 Widescreen
- 5.1 Dolby Digital
- Region 0
Will you be purchasing the fifth season of the show? Should you be watching for the first time, which particular story element are you the most excited to see unfold? Share your response in the comments section, below.
In a series finale that lets Little Mosque on the Prairie live up to it’s namesake, Amaar prepares for the grand opening of the new Mosque, while trying to get Baber to end his boycott. Charles returns to Mercy with a plan to win Ann. Sarah reaffirms her Muslim faith; and, with Mercy Anglican burnt to a crisp, Thorne finds an unexpected new home for his congregation.[CBC]
Will all proceed well with the grand opening of the new mosque? What will Amaar do to succeed in getting Baber to end his boycott? What will Charles do to attempt win Ann back and what turn will this relationship take? How does Sarah reaffirming her faith to Islam show how she has explored a full circle herself, from the start of the show?
Will the Anglican community’s new home be the new Mosque?What are your thoughts on how this would be a suitable ending to the show and represent the theme of cross -cultural unity?Will the Muslims and Anglicans continue to live in a strong sense of unity?
Special thanks are extended to the crew and cast for creating this groundbreaking series and for portraying its highly comical and relatable characters, respectively. Thank you very much to all of the cast members of the show for the insightful and entertaining interviews. Thanks to the producers at Westwind Pictures and the CBC for its support for its ongoing endorsement and continued support of this site.
Thank you to the thousands of viewers of the show who have followed the blog’s ongoing coverage of Little Mosque on the Prairie throughout the seasons.I look forward to providing occasional retrospective coverage on this series in the forthcoming years.
This episode marks the series finale of Little Mosque on the Prairie. The shows draws to end after six seasons on CBC.
Aliza Vellani will return as Layla Siddiqui in the finale. In a recent interview with the blog, she mentioned how Layla would continue to increase her independence from Baber.http://abbaskarimjeeweblog.com/2012/04/01/little-mosques-aliza-vellani-chats-about-series-finale/
A recent feature on the National displays certain members in the cast and crew, myself and others discussing the impact the show has had on the perception of Muslims. Take a look at this “.http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/TV_Shows/The_National/1233408557/ID=2218190950
Aliza Vellani has continued to lead a notable career within the Canadian entertainment industry, particularly through her ongoing involvement in CBC’S hit sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie.With the groundbreaking series drawing to a conclusion this week on Monday, April 2 @ 8:30pm eastern standard time on CBC and Aliza making a reappearance in the promising and highly anticipated finale, I thought it was an appropriate time to reconnect with the delightful actress for an interview.
The audio interview is approximately 6 minutes in length and covers Aliza’s response to the show ending this season, her comments on what is to come with Layla reappearing in the finale, the actress’ final message for the show’s faithful viewers and much more.
Click on the link below to listen to the interview and share your thoughts on it afterwards, in the comments section!
Actress, Aliza Vellani has been leading a distinguished career within the Canadian entertainment industry. Having had extensive experience in the arts through acting,dancing, improv and singing, Aliza first brought her talents and experience to television in CBC’s hit sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie as the teenage character of Layla Siddiqui. Aliza has been portraying the role since the show’s initial debut in January 2007.
Today, from 3;00pm -5:00pm eastern standard time[7:00pm-9:00pm GMT] fans can interact with the actress by asking her questions related to Layla’s reappearance this season, anything else related to Aliza’s work on the show as well as the actress’ other related pursuits. Fans are also welcome to share relevant comments with the talented actress. With Little Mosque drawing to an end after six seasons and Layla making an appearance in the show’s series finale on Monday April 2, it’s a great time and way for fans to interact with the actress.
The comments section will open up shortly before the event @ approximately 2:45pm eastern standard time.In order to see Aliza’s responses to the questions and to see what other readers are asking, be sure to refresh the page several times throughout the session.
Questions related to the event can be sent by e-mail @ email@example.com. Live technical support during the event will be available on the blog’s Facebook page.We look forward to hosting this event!
Join us on the blog on Saturday, March 31 from 3:00pm -5:00pm eastern time[7:00pm -9:00pm GMT] to engage in a live chat with Aliza Vellani, who has portayed the teenage character of Layla Siddiqui on Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Fans can interact with the actress by asking her questions related to Layla’s reappearance this season, anything else related to Aliza’s work on the show as well as the actress’ other related pursuits. Fans are also welcome to share relevant comments with the talented actress. With Little Mosque drawing to an end after six seasons and Layla making an appearance in the show’s series finale on Monday, April 2, it’s a great time for fans to interact with the actress.
A post will be created on the blog’s homepage, outlining further details about the event and readers will be able to interact with the actress in the comments section!Will you be joining the chat?Do you have any questions about the event? Let us know in the comments section!
Its been almost a year since we last connected with Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Manoj Sood[ Baber Siddiqui]. With the show approaching the commencement of its sixth and final season this January and Manoj being kind enough to participate in an interview with us,we discuss Baber’s upcoming friendship with Reverend William Thorne[ Brandon Firla], the character’s relationship with his daughter Layla[Aliza Vellani] as she furthers her independence at University as well as some details on Little Mosque’s highly anticipated series finale.
Manoj also reflects on his time on the show,by sharing his insights on how successful it has been in building bridges between the Islamic community and western society, how the show has impacted his professional life, his favorite moments from working on the show and his final message to viewers of the program.
Read through our complete interview with the actor, below!
Abbas Karimjee:Since we last connected,it was announced that Little Mosque on the Prairie would end after its upcoming sixth and final season.What was your reaction about the show coming to an end and what do you think were the factors which led to the decision to cancel the show? Could you please describe the atmosphere which was present on the set of Little Mosque during the final weeks of production?
Manoj Sood: Every show has a specific life span and Little Mosque is no different.Rarely do TV shows last more than 5 or 6 seasons in Canada so to last 6 seasons is a real achievement. The atmosphere on set was like any other season.Filming a TV show is a very busy process and when we are on set we focus on doing the job we are there to do which is to act. We knew well before the season started that it would be the last season so there were no surprises or heavy sentiment. The end was expected.
AK: This season Baber has a new storyline, in terms of becoming best friends with Reverend William Thorne [Brandon Firla] On the outset, the two seem like an odd pair given how Baber is an extremely conservative Muslim while Reverend Thorne is an Anglican leader who is also quite judgmental. Reverend Thorne also previously manipulated Baber, to help ensure that Mercy Mosque was evicted from the Church back in the show’s fourth season.
What was your initial reaction when you learnt of this storyline and could you please give us an idea as to the circumstances which help lead the two to becoming best of friends?
MS:I thought that a lot of humour would come from this unlikely friendship.That is the magic of TV: where very unrealistic situations become real and the result is laughter. The friendship began when Baber was running the Mosque while Amaar was away on his honeymoon.The details will become apparent in the first episode
AK: What are some of the challenges which the two will face with each other during the course of the season?
MS: They will face the challenge of maintaining a friendship in light of the fact they have very different views in terms of their religion and attitudes towards life.Of course these challenges force each of the 2 characters to face their own intolerances and make compromises to accept the differences in each other.
AK: Are there any other plot points regarding the friendship,which you are able to reveal?
MS: One aspect of a friendship is friendly competition.You will see the 2 competing in some very funny ways.
AK: Did portraying Baber’s relationship with Reverend Thorne present some acting challenges, given how the relationship has evolved to a genuinely friendly one as opposed to previous seasons?
MS: Fortunately we have very good writers on Little Mosque.When the writing is good much of the actor’s job is done and the rest is much easier. The challenge of portraying Baber as a friend of Thorne is no different to portraying Baber in any situation: the key is to be truthful to the character and everything will fall into place.
AK: How do you think becoming best of friends with Reverend Thorne, speaks to how Baber has developed over the years? Having played the character since Little Mosque’s inauguration in 2006, how else do you think the character has evolved over the course of the show?
MS: I guess I could dare say that Baber is a bit more tolerant but not too muchÉ.Otherwise he would become boring.Over the years Baber has become gentler yet he is still as ignorant and big-headed than ever.
AK: Last season Baber dealt with some of the challenges of being separated from his daughter, Layla [Aliza Vellani] who attended University elsewhere. Will viewers have the chance to see this relationship further explored in the final season? If so, could you please give us an idea of what is store for Baber’s relationship with Layla, particularly given how it was hinted in last season’s finale that Layla has become romantically involved at university?
MS: Layla is at university and she makes some serious decisions about her future…that’s all I can say about this though.
AK:Could you please give us an idea of what else is in store for Baber this season, as a treasurer/ member of Mercy Mosque?Also, what else is in store for Little Mosque’s final season, in general?
Baber continues to be a key figure and leader in the Mosque and his stubbornness and intolerance continues to raise issues in a very funny way. As for the show in general you will see new relationships develop between the different townspeople, some relationships will change and a few new-comers will show up. I also feel that you will see a more emotional side of Baber this season.
AK: The sixth and final season is all leading up to the series finale. What can viewers expect of the finale, episode itself?How suitable of an ending do you think the finale will be, in terms of how it wraps up the story lines of the characters of Mercy?
MS: The season ends with a bit of pageantry, a surprise for Baber a compromise for Amaar and a few goals being achieved. Sorry I can’t say more
AK: Little Mosque has been such a successful series both internationally as well as in Canada,with the series premiere having earned 2.1 million viewers.What impact do you think the series has had on Canadian culture and how do you think the series represents Canada, given how it is the first of its kind in building bridges between the Islamic community and western society? Also, how successful do you think the show has been in building bridges?
MS: The show has put a friendly face on a religion and group of people who have been tainted by unfortunate international events. I believe the show has done much to breakdown stereotypes. To a degree I believe that thanks to Little Mosque,Muslims are not automatically seen in a negative light as much as they once were.
AK: Has working on Little Mosque impacted both your career and your personal life? How?
MS: I like to think that working consistently on a show for so many seasons has developed and honed my acting skills. It has opened doors to other projects which came to me only because the producer or director knew my work on Little Mosque. I’ve been surprised when my agent tells me that she received an inquiry from a casting director in another country who liked my work on Little Mosque and wants to know if I am available for a new project.
AK: Reflecting on your experiences on the show, what are some of your favourite memories of working on Little Mosque, either on-screen or off-screen in production?
MS: I really enjoyed the Halloween episode in Season 1 and at a comedy award show I, as Baber, sang a lovely spoof of the Johnny Cash song, “Walk the Line”. I had never sung in front of an audience before so it was something I will never forget.
AK :In retrospect, how do you believe Little Mosque and Baber, in particular will be remembered as?
MS: Little Mosque was the first cultural sitcom in Canada that appealed to a broad audience.It will be remembered not only as a Canadian but an international success.It will be remembered as a show that built bridges between different peoples while at the same time making people laugh.I believe that Baber will be remembered as the first fundamental Muslim that people actually liked. He won’t be remembered for his dashing looks or sexy body….unfortunately .
AK: Do you have a final message which you would like to convey to viewers of Little Mosque, with the show having drawn to a close?
MS: I really do appreciate all of you who stayed with the show thorough all of its changes over its six seasons.Thanks so much for watching!!!!
AK: With Little Mosque having drawn to an end, are there any other projects which you have been involved in? Also, what aspirations do you have for the future of your acting career?
MS: Right now I am focusing trying to write and produce my own television show. That is my long-term goal.
AK: What activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
MS: I am a very passionate amateur astronomer and fly fisherman. I spent much of July and August fishing all offer BC with my son. Most of my spare time when I am not at work is spent with my son and our goofy dog named Mowgli.
Actress, Aliza Vellani has been leading a distinguished career.Having had extensive experience in the arts through acting,dancing, improv and singing, Aliza first brought her talents and experience to the entertainment industry in CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie as the teenage character of Layla Siddiqui.
With Aliza being kind enough to participate in a interview with us and Layla’s return to Little Mosque on the Prairie fast approaching we decided to discuss how Aliza relates to the character, the challenges of playing Layla, the actress’ experience as a role model , Aliza’s plans for the future and much more!
1.Your parents immigrated to Vancouver, Canada from Tanga, Tanzania in East Africa. How do you relate to the character of Layla, especially given your family’s ethnic background?
When I first started the show, I was a typical 14-year-old teenager facing challenges with parents who were raised in an Indo East African culture. In addition, there was the generation gap and some peer pressure. In these respects, I related to Layla. However, my parents are more liberal than Layla’s father Baber. As I have gotten older, I have gotten closer with my parents in terms of communicating, understanding and accepting our differences. As a matter of fact, when I look back into my teenage years, I can laugh at some of our events as they were just as comical as Layla’s.
2.What has been the most challenging aspect of playing the role of Layla and how have you coped with this challenge?
Layla faces many challenges in her life, and sometimes has to compromise her wants for values instilled by her dad. As I connected with the character personally, I appreciated the extent of her compromises. Like any teenager she rebelled and tried tricking her dad to have her way. In the end she made the right choices. Layla is a great role model and a fun character. I love playing her.
3. How do you think Layla has developed over the course of the series and how would you like to see her further develop?
She has certainly matured. I would like to see her develop with a personality shaped by her own cheerful charm and individuality. It would be wonderful to see how she interacts in her new environment at the university without her father constantly reminding her to behave according to his expectations. I expect she will balance her life with the basic good values instilled by her father and community.
4.Could you please give us an idea as to the some of the challenges and surprises that are in store for Layla this season on Little Mosque on the Prairie?
This season Layla has returned from her first year at University. Her personality has matured. She is more confident of herself and yet retains that same mischievous charm we love.
5.How many episodes will you appear as Layla this season and in which episode can viewers expect to see you first reprise in the role?
I appear in the last two episodes this season. I am not too sure how much I can reveal about these episodes so lets say you will see Layla’s fun side.
6.Do you experience pressure as a role model, as a result of playing your character and why do you think the character of Layla is so influential?
The one major way Layla and I differ is how strict or conservative our respective cultures are. Layla is good role model and even inspires me to be a role model for others. Layla is a strong, confident character who, like any teenager, just wants to fit in. While Layla is influenced by friends and peer pressure, she manages to stay true to who she is. Layla shows us how to balance between two very different cultures and this has taught me to be a more confident role model as well.
7. What impact do you think Little Mosque on the Prairie has had on Canadian culture and why do you think the series has been such a worldwide success?
Little Mosque is a show that has proved that laughing about controversial matters is effective to both entertain and educate us about relevant issues in our community. I think the comical approach to understanding both the Islamic community and ourselves, within the bigger community, makes the show both thought provoking and entertaining to audiences worldwide.
8.What message would you like to convey to viewers of the series?
Thank you for all the support you have given Little Mosque over the years. For me, it has been a wonderful feeling knowing that people are enjoying something I put my heart into. I am very grateful for this entire experience. Once again, Thank you all very much for your support and encouragement! J
9. Are there any other acting projects you have been working on which you would like to share with the viewers?
For the time being, I have committed my time to University. I do audition and plan on pursuing a career in acting. I would ask the viewers to keep on the lookout in the upcoming future; I’m still in the game! J
10.What activities do you enjoy during your spare time?
I have many hobbies and interests. Like my mom, I have a very keen interest in the arts and have enjoyed many activities such as dancing, singing, painting/sketching, and even writing my own stories. If I had more time I would love to advance my Tae Kwan Do training and even learn to play the guitar. Above all, I enjoy spending time with my friends: watching movies, bowling, girl’s night out, and other fun stuff. Sadly there aren’t enough hours in the day so I try to do these things when I can squeeze the time.