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Reema Khan gets back in the director’s chair

The iconic star talks to Instep about her ambition to direct another film, starring in TV serials and doing roles that suit her personality.

Reema Khan gets back in the director’s chair

Having enjoyed a quiet marital life with Dr. Shahab Tariq in the USA for some time, Reema Khan made a worthwhile comeback to the scene last year, with two memorable performances including one at the prestigious Lux Style Awards.

The comeback, however, was limited to public appearances but has now concretized as Reema plans to return to cinema and TV.

“I can’t dance in saris, swaying by the wind anymore,” she begins as we discuss her return. “Even if I’m offered something like that, I won’t. I will only take up a role if it is content-driven and gives me room to perform (something like Halle Berry’s Kidnap). It has to be something that suits one’s personality, which is why I’m trying to do most of that behind the camera.”

Having directed two films, Reema is now looking to direct her third film and the scripting process is underway.

“Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar is writing the script of my next film. He’s very busy with his own film right now but I’m adamant to bring back my original team from my first film because when I didn’t with my last film (Love Mein Ghum), I had to pay the price. From my own experience, I know that Khalil is a very competent writer and there are some delays from his end but as soon as he gets back to me, I’ll immediately begin shooting.”

Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar, in addition to writing Reema’s first film (Koi Tujh Sa Kahan) also wrote the script for 2017’s biggest hit, Punjab Nahi Jaungi and TV serials like Sadqay Tumhare and Pyarey Afzal.

As for the lack of success of Koi Tujh Sa Kahan, Reema takes responsibility for it. “I blame myself because the second-half was rewritten thrice and I shouldn’t have gone on-floors until I was satisfied with it,” she explains. “Which is why I felt the script, post-interval, was very weak and didn’t gather the response it could have. But I always look at it as a learning experience; you only grow when you’ve made mistakes.”

Since Reema’s debut many moons ago, a lot has changed and the actress/director is well-aware of how things have evolved.

“While one cannot deny cinema’s power and the fact that everybody aspires to be on the silver screen, television has its importance too. We have so many channels today. Most of them are also going global by being on satellite. People became popular overnight and consequently are noticed by Indian filmmakers, where there’s no drought of talent either.”

This is why Reema has decided to agree to television assignments that are better suited to her evolution as an actor. In fact, she has begun shoot for a female-centric drama serial called Ghum Hai Zindagi Tera Shukriya alongside Babar Ali. She’s also looking at two more serials that will be helmed by Faysal Qureshi’s Connect Studios and MD Productions for the year ahead. That said, what the star doesn’t agree with is the overlapping of the narrative between the two mediums.

“Every medium has its own importance, but every medium also has its own requirements. Your presence, your dialogue delivery and expressions, your physique… everything must be different. The two can’t have the same content either,” notes Reema. “What we’ve done is that we’ve taken the small screen subjects to the big screen, which is why our films don’t captivate the audience or make lasting impression. We don’t have institutes, but we do have seniors and instead of making fun of them, we must learn from them.”

Reema tells Instep that her untitled film will be along the lines of Koi Tujh Sa Kahan and will be an intense romantic story that revolves around a married couple with elements of glamour and a social message.

As for casting, after two consecutive feature films with Moammar Rana, she is looking at actors she hasn’t directed before.

“Somebody who suits my script you know. Since there are two men in the film, like always, I will try to give somebody new a chance, but some of the names on my list include actors such as Humayun Saeed, Babar Ali, Shaan and Fawad Khan,” Reema Khan lists actors she hopes to direct. “I think all of them will be able to do justice to the part I’m looking at them for, so I’ll see whether I cast a new actor for the other role or cast one of them for that only. It will all come down to their availability and my budget.”

It’s interesting how Reema is considering Shaan Shahid as a male lead despite an unpleasant experience during Love Mein Ghum. Her Bulandi co-star was roped in to essay the protagonist alongside Khan, however, he didn’t turn up in Baku, Azerbaijan when the sets had already been put up and the first leg of the shooting had to begin. Reema chose not to wait further and flew in Moammar Rana instead for the part.

“Shaan excused himself and later apologized also, and I cleaned my heart. We all have our ups and downs, and we all learn from life.”

She adds: “When I went to Lahore last year, Shaan and his wife, and Neelo Aunty hosted me at their place. In such a small industry, there’s no room for egos. We must collectively work together for each other and for our country.”

As for whether we will get to see Reema taking the female lead in her own film, chances are unlikely.

“After both my films, what I’ve realized is that when you’re the director and producer you should never act because you cannot do justice to it,” she says on the matter conclusively. “All that tension on your face is evident on-camera.”

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Reema with industry stalwarts including Shaan Shahid, Babra Shareef, Meera, Faisal Rehman and others.

 

Ahmed Sarym

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