One might recall Hareem Farooq as Osman Khalid Butt’s elderly mother Arjumand in the hit TV serial Dayar-e-Dil, but there are many more avatars to this budding star. After proving her acting prowess through television, theatre and films appearances, Hareem is now venturing into film production with Reham Khan’s upcoming film Janaan.
Considering this, it is no wonder Hareem has come to be known for her unconventional professional choices. In an exclusive tête-à-tête with The Express Tribune, the multitalented star from Islamabad elaborates upon the reasons behind her colourful career. “I always wanted to start from theatre because it builds a good foundation,” she says of her early days as an actor. “Then I thought I would do films and also make my own because there weren’t any good ones coming out then.” According to Hareem, the moment she decided that she has to make her own films came while shooting for her debut movie Siyaah, alongside Imran Kazmi. “I realised that we will have to make films so our industry grows and more people come into it. Aisay kaam nahi chal sakta (Things cannot work out this way).”
This led Hareem to Janaan, which will be her first undertaking as a film producer. The ambitious youngster is helming other projects as well, such as the upcoming Parchee. “It’s a comedy film which I am producing and also acting in. With Parchee, we want to introduce new faces to the industry,” she shares.
As far as acting goes, fans can expect two projects from her this year: Dobara Phir Se and a TV serial titled Sanam. Of the former, Hareem says, “I have learnt a lot from Mehreen [Jabbar] and the foreign crew we shot with. Considering I just started my own production, it was great to see how professional they are and I want to incorporate that in my work too.” Hareem goes on to admit that she was overjoyed when she was approached for Dobara Phir Se. “I said yes immediately! It has a very fresh feel and is not your typical, boy-meets-girl love story.”
Fortunately, a challenging storyline is no match for the 26-year-old who seemed surprisingly comfortable playing an elderly woman on national television. “It was a challenge and a lot of people told me not to take up the role,” she confesses. “However, I believe if you want to change the industry, you have to work towards it. If I do the same role for 10 years, it wouldn’t matter. As long as you are an actor, you can be anyone so why restrict yourself?”
For Hareem, experimenting is important, lest she get stereotyped. “If it’s a girl who is pretty, people make her cry and she becomes our heroine,” she explains. “During shooting, however, I told the team I would not cry anymore because that’s not how women are and that bothers me. The women I have been around are very strong and that’s why I do all kinds of characters, from leads to antagonists, young and old. I am even playing a bipolar girl.”
Despite being the brand ambassador for a leading cosmetics company, Hareem believes glamour comes from the persona an actor is able to pull off on screen. “The characters have to be written well and then, I can add the glamour,” she claims. “But it’s hard pulling off glamour with decency in Pakistan. When you want people to fall in love with you, it’s not just about looking a certain way.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.