Two-time winner of the Lux Style Award for Best Model, dusky beauty Rabia Butt is now gearing up for the big screen. After stints in commercials and music videos, Rabia is set to star in Farooq Mengal’s debut film Hijrat.
“Good things come to those who wait for the right time and opportunity,” says the model. “I accept a project when it seems right to me. I did have an idea that this might happen at some point, but I was not hunting for a role in a big film.”
Rabia says the director is convinced she will mesmerise the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
Hijrat, which marks Mengal’s directorial debut in Lollywood, is said to be a romantic drama that is placed in the backdrop of the Afghan War, where millions were rendered homeless. Rabia plays an Indian doctor named Jia, who works for rehabilitation centres set up for IDPs. She is happy that she’s debuting in the industry with a lead role. “The passion is fiery and we [the team of Hijrat] are determined to captivate the audience. No stones are being left unturned; now the success of the film depends on fate,” says the model-turned-actor. “Things solidified once I was ready to switch from the fashion industry to the mesmerising silver screen and the director was convinced that I would dazzle the audience,” she adds.
Rabia admits that Hijrat is one of the most demanding projects she has been a part of. “All this hard work is a demand of my role, but I am sure it will pay off. I am really excited about all the upcoming projects in the industry and foresee a sparkling revival of Lollywood.”
She is optimistic about the Pakistani film industry’s future. “You know Lollywood is no more. I don’t know what I should call this rebirth [of cinema] yet, but it seems good things are in the making,” she says.
Mengal, a well-known name in the Pakistani television industry, has gone all out to make his film debut with a perfect mix of fresh faces and seasoned actors. Apart from Rabia, the film stars model Asad Zaman and actors Noman Ejaz, Ayub Khoso and Wiam Dahmani.
“The first spell has been shot — what an enlightening experience it has been!” exclaims Rabia. “The silver screen is hungry for blood and sweat — it demands serious hard work, which means there was no slacking at all on our part.”
Still a novice in acting, Rabia says she will not make hasty decisions in her acting career and will focus more on improving her craft. She adds that she’s being offered projects for acting and modelling, but tries to refrain from being easily impressed.
When asked if she will take up offers from India, she says, “I will not bend over backwards to earn a role in Bollywood. I am staying true to my ideology and my craft. If things are meant to be in my favour, I will be handed whatever I deserve on a silver platter.”
When asked why he chose Rabia, Mengal says that the unusual love story will show her in a different light. “I felt Rabia was perfect for the role and after auditioning her, it was clear in my mind that she suits the character well,” he adds.
The director also expressed that he was committed to promoting new talent and that Zaman, who plays the lead role opposite Butt, was also making his debut. “We [film-makers] have to promote new talent in the industry. I think the two [Rabia and Zaman] will have strong on-screen chemistry and give powerful performances in the film.”
The film, which is touted as a big-budget project, is expected to release between October and November, adding to the array of Pakistani films slated for this year. The teaser will be out this Eid.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2013.