For Mehreen Raheel, it’s Pakistan first

Published: December 24, 2012

The actor says she wants to do work that will represent her country.

LAHORE: 

After several delays, the film Tamanna has quietly finished filming this week. The film, starring Umair Rana, Salman Shahid and Feryal Gauhar has already been featured in film festivals for its catchy soundtrack sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. A less talked about late addition to the cast is the talented actor Mehreen Raheel, who has been given an extended role in the film.

Tamanna is a UK-Pakistani production and is the first full-length Pakistani feature film directed by a British director Steven Moore. The story of the film is about a director who invites a man to his house to play games, but instead, the two characters fight over a woman. The story revolves around love, adultery, robbery and a murder. The film has been shot entirely in Pakistan.

Mehreen has been seen as the face of several brands with the most popular being Ufone and appeared in many television dramas as well. She feels that the film Tamanna is part of a larger project to help develop a Pakistani film industry. This is her second project since the much talked about co-production film, Virsa.

“Since our film industry has been in decline in the recent past, everybody is now working hard to revive it,” she says. “There was a big gap but the film industry never died out.”

Mahreen Raheel

Mehreen believes that the Pakistani film industry is functional mainly for the masses. However, now the directors and producers are focusing on making movies for “the elite or the educated”. “We need some time but we are actually being recognised in the market now,” she adds.

As she grows, Mehreen is more concerned about her craft. Presently, she has two television dramas on air, including a PTV Home production Daag-e-Nadamat and also Hum TV’s Zindagi Gulzar Hai. She dispels the notion that she is being type-cast in younger character roles.

“I am a character actor,” she explains. “If you give me a younger role, I will do a younger role and if you give me an older role, I will do that. People think I am being typecast, but there is a lot of other work I do that should be reviewed also.”

Mehreen feels that she is versatile and is interested in both films and dramas, but that there is no comparison between the two. “It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Film can be a royal experience — it is the ultimate exposure. And if it’s an international film, one is not restricted to being popular only in their country.”

She adds that the new-age film scene is about struggling, coming together and making sacrifices to generate a new environment in our film industry. She acknowledged that talented people are working towards making films, despite the barriers and hang-ups that still exist.

Mahreen Raheel  coat

“We have modern thoughts that we have to execute with stone-age equipment; so it will take some time to be nurtured,” says Mehreen, adding that things need to change for improvement in the industry.

“A lot of film offers are coming my way,” says Raheel. “But if I am going to do something I want to represent my country — that comes first. It has to be something that I am proud of.”

Tamanna

Mehreen plays the role of a young girl in the film and says it is an interesting one. “When we started out, there were limited scenes for me but as they saw my work, the director decided to add more,” she adds.

Joining the film at the tail end of production, Mehreen says that she is excited about the soundtrack. “The soundtrack for my first film was also sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, which was a super-hit,” shares Mehreen, referring to Rahat’s hit song, Mein Tenu Samjhawan.

The young actor feels that this film is different from other films because of the subject it tackles.

“It’s not about a social issue,” she says, adding that there’s enough media coverage on those problems. “We have enough issues being highlighted daily on news channels. [They] touch upon sensitive topics both social and political,” says Mehreen. “It [Tamanna] is a pure entertainer; the story is a murder mystery. It’s about our glory days of cinema.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2012.          

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Adnan Mahmood
    Dec 24, 2012 - 9:19PM

    I concur her. Though many Pakistanis abroad are eager to watch Pakistani movies more frequently.

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  • Erum
    Dec 24, 2012 - 10:13PM

    She needs to be versatile otherwise she must have quit acting. I’m bored of watching her as an annoyed girl in every drama.

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  • Syed Awais
    Dec 24, 2012 - 11:18PM

    For Mehreen Raheel, it’s Pakistan first! (read: I am not getting any worthwhile opportunities abroad)

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  • Dec 25, 2012 - 12:00AM

    She is just another female actor, I dont see anything special about her. Her joint venture was a big fiasco so understandably…Pakistan first.

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  • Bling Bling
    Dec 25, 2012 - 3:58AM

    Though I agree she does similar roles all the time, however, Pakistani dramas keep on revolving around the same stories. I was watching Mohabbat Jaye Bhar Main on HUM and kept thinking that it is exactly like Burns Road ki Nilofar. We can’t entirely blame her for it. No wonder people are choosing to watch Turkish dramas and soaps.

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  • Amir
    Dec 25, 2012 - 1:44PM

    till the time she does’t get any offer !

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  • Sana
    Dec 25, 2012 - 2:30PM

    “When we started out, there were limited scenes for me but as they saw my work, the director decided to add more,” she adds.”

    This reveals how “strong” the script is that it changed after the director noticed her talents. On a side note, this guy Steven Moore was apparently an unknown photographer in the UK but is getting all this glory due to his white-skin in our post-colonial country. Sigh.

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  • Mirza
    Dec 25, 2012 - 3:20PM

    She’s amazing! We need intelligent representation internationally rather than just being Bollywood sidekicks. Good luck Mehreen!

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  • Kainat
    Dec 25, 2012 - 3:35PM

    Good actress.Liked her performance in the drama serial Dastaan.

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  • Umer
    Dec 25, 2012 - 3:52PM

    @Sana: LOL. yes because your HUGE film industry has internationally renowned filmmakers churning out 100 films every year :D Seems like the ‘foreign invasion’ paranoia has hit the (non existent) film scene of Pakistan as well.I bet if Danny Boyle made slum dog millionaire here people like you would be cribbing about a famous director ‘misrepresenting’ the nation. I’m also quite sure that you probably though Ms. Chinoy’s Oscar win meant nothing for Pakistan? On another note, ever worked in film? made a film? no? your ignorance speaks for itself.

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  • nida
    Dec 25, 2012 - 6:48PM

    @sana The unfortunate part isn’t our so called white skin glorifying in Pakistan. It is the cynical attitude of our own people who keep asking for change and dynamism to be injected in the film industry but when something starts all they do is run it down. Grow up and merry christmas…oh wait does that show white skin love too?

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  • nida
    Dec 25, 2012 - 6:53PM

    @sana The unfortunate part isn’t our so called white skin glorifying in Pakistan. It is the cynical attitude of our own people who keep asking for change and dynamism to be injected in the film industry but when something starts all they do is run it down. Grow up and merry christmas…oh wait is that part of white skin glorification too?

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