Lollywood's undisputed queen Reema is a star because she is more than just a good actress. From 'Bulandi' to now, the fifteen years she spent in front of those harsh camera lights have made her wiser, more confident and enlightened. Today she certainly knows what to adopt and what to drop. With the passage of time she gained finesse as she matured in every facet of life, that is, dress, language and norms of the society. Not as impetuous and impulsive as Meera, but more interesting than Saima, the perennial coy ice maiden, Reema bade a resolute farewell to Lollywood when Gujjjar films took over and started planning an alternative career. Nowadays she is busy with commercials and directing her own venture 'Koi Tujh Sa Kahan' starring herself, Moammar Rana, Babrak Shah, Nadeem and Irfan Khosat. The shooting is complete and post production work is under progress in India. Instep catches up with the actress who spread her wings and managed to fly.
Why did you step away from acting?
I didn't step away. Actually there were hardly any films being made and slim number of movies left no scope for heroines. When Ghunda Tax was super hit, a number of offers reached my doorstep but I refused. I actually refunded advances taken from Sangeeta and Pervaiz Rana because they had no innovation in their subjects and were doing the typical badmash formula films. Vulgarity and ghundagardi is the only choice of producers and directors in Lollywood and it is not possible for me to picturise such behooda scenes.
Do you think you are still popular in Pakistan?
Why not? I have been doing mega budget commercials, not any other heroine. This is prime proof of my popularity. Major commercials are always made with popular stars. Take the example of one softdrink company (Pepsi) that always did commercials with cricketers and singers. But when they did a survey for recognizable people nearly 78% people from all over Pakistan voted for me. So they picked me up.
So still feel like a numero uno?
That's such an old story now. See when only a single heroine (Saima) is being cast and the others are sitting at home, which fool that will claim that she is the best? Being number one is only possible when a number of stars work in a number of films.
So you decided to be a director?
Actually I was planning on directing a film for a long time that could be a healthy addition for Lollywood in this slump era. My aim is to give a message and entertainment to our people, which was prevalent in the past films when people would go to the cinemas to watch them. Secondly, I want to play the type of roles that will be remembered for long time. That's why I have used latest equipment and techniques in my film 'Koi Tujh Sa Kahan'. I am proud that this is first Pakistani film that is being shoot on 4.53 camera which never been used before. Furthermore computerized imaging is also being used. Above all this is first Pakistani film, which is being released with major companies' sponsorship, I am trend settler in this regard.
What positive changes you see after completing direction course in the States?
A lot. I started observing the industry as a critic and I realized there were a number of flaws found in formula direction. Then it was very helpful to know about film's marketing. Just making a film isn't enough, postproduction is equally important. I know that newcomers should have ample knowledge of filmmaking.
Why not hire any director like Syed Noor, Rauf Khalid or Sangeeta etc? Do you think they are incapable to handle your mega project of 'Koi Tujh Sa Kahan'?
There is no doubt of their talent, but Syed Noor has a problem. He doesn't like to direct any film without Saima whether or not she fits that role or not. Rauf Khalid's own project failed and there are problems with Sangeeta. I think I have enough potential to handle this project. You will see the results.
Initially, you planned to shoot your film in London but later switched to Malaysia. Why the change?
I had visa problems for my technicians. And if I have to hire foreign technicians they are very expensive. So according to my script I thought Malaysia a good alternative.
Reports are that you have acquired knowledge of direction from abroad. How much improvement you see now?
Mostly I have learnt out of my experience but it was necessary to acquire more knowledge. To work as an artist is quite easy job but as director you have to be involved with all departments. It is a full time job. As a director I spent a lot of time on lyrics, music, location, costumes etc. During my three months stay in America I availed this opportunity and learnt latest trends in Make up, Publicity, Marketing language course, release of film. Besides that I attended some fashion shows to familarise myself with what's hip these days.
Why did you take up the marketing and direction course when half of the project of your film was completed? Why not before time?
Simply that I didn't get time. At that time I was working in a TV serial and foreign tours were another hindrance. When I got time I signed up for the course.
Being woman what sort of challenges you faced during your career?
Frankly speaking I got a lot of confidence and respect from my technicians and colleagues. Being a woman was never a problem. I believe that if you are skilled in your respected field, your gender is a non-issue.
Will you follow Sangeeta's footsteps in vulgarity and commercialism?
Not at all. This is the right time for the right decision. I must take commercialism's aspect into consideration but nudity can't work in Pakistan.
Recently you participated in the Zee Cine Award. What was the experience like?
Wonderful. I am jubilant about it. The show was marvelous in the way that I was declared to be a country cousin of Aishwarya's and Shahrukh had praiseworthy words for me.
Will you act in Hindi films?
A number of directors have approached, but I am waiting for the right time and the right role.
What fo you think about Meera's works bold scenes in Indian 'Nazar'?
Until the film is not released one has no right to pass judgment. It would only be fair enough to give comments of merits and demerits on film after watching. I don't want to criticize her because she herself knows what is right and what is wrong for her life and career.
Pakistan Film industry is now passing through its worst era. Who is responsible of this disaster?
Everyone. Producers, Directors, and Artists. Being artists I think we should boycott third rated movies centered around ghundagardi and vulgarity. I once tried to gather the artists on single platform but they passed derogatory remarks and refused to cooperate.
Any suggestions for its uplift?
Rather criticizing or slandering others we all should re-assess our work. We must be sincere with our profession and above all look for fresh talent constantly and let it grow.