LAHORE: Yesteryear actors usually let go of themselves after marriage but Reema Khan — whose son is over a year old now — still looks as gorgeous as ever.
While it takes a lot to get there, Reema certainly has reached a point in her career where she is respected for her contribution to Pakistani cinema.
Rather aptly, she has recently been made the face of a leading cosmetics brand. “I am all real, contrary to what people believe, it is possible to eat well, take care of yourself and still look good,” she tells The Express Tribune. “When I do get some work done, I will not keep it under the wraps.”
Reema’s last film Love Mein Ghum came out in 2011 and its box office performance shattered her. “My heart was so broken that only a doctor could fix it,” she quips, referring to her marriage with a US-based medical practitioner.
However, since then, offers have not stopped coming her way. “There is a certain time and place for everything and the work that you do should be easily digestible for people. However, it’s an odd phenomenon in our society because where I live now, the older you get the more respect you get in your field and the industry customises roles for you.”
In this light, she speaks of Kajol, who recently made a comeback with Shah Rukh Khan in Dilwale.
“Every society has its own approach. In ours, we aren’t able to give our stars the respect they deserve. That’s probably because everyone doesn’t know the struggle we go through,” shares Reema. “Pakistan doesn’t have less work but there’s a reason our artists prefer to work in Bollywood, even though they have to struggle … whether its Ali Zafar, Adnan Sami, Atif Aslam or Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.”
Of her own experiences in India, she elaborates, “I got offers between 2000 and 2014 from all the big names such as Yash Raj, Yash Johar, Venus Company and Bharat Shah but I didn’t accept them because the sad reality is that we can watch Bollywood women in various roles but if our women go there and do the same roles, they won’t be respected.” Disclosing that she knows the kind of projects to stay away from in order to survive in Pakistan, she mentions, “All actors that I saw exploring roles there whether it was Salma Agha, Zeba Bakhtiar, Meera or Veena Malik … no one gave them the kind of roles that would solidify their careers there. You have to balance growing old in this industry in such a way that you don’t face criticism.”
When asked whether she will be interested in doing roles that challenge societal constructs about women, she adds, “I have been thinking about doing such films but this has been tricky throughout my career. Whether it was Nikah, Zewar or Long Da Lashkara, my roles didn’t get that level of appreciation. People didn’t accept me in ghareeb or negative roles because they would say I don’t look the part.” On a similar note, she does not want to dabble in roles that she has done in the past either. “I’ve done enough of that,” she says, rather flatly. “Nikah 2 was also offered to me but now I am a wife, a mother and a role model so I have to take wise decisions.”
She remembers the year 2000 as the turning point when she rejected most of the films being offered to her. “The standard of films being offered to me was not what I wanted for myself so I returned the advance payment to all the top directors in Punjabi cinema, including Sangeeta, Masood Butt and Pervaiz Rana.”
Reema is currently taking up her further studies in the US and also hosting a talk show for which she is interviewing personalities, such as Anwar Maqsood, Ali Zafar and Humayun Saeed.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2016.