DUBAI: Popular Pakistani film actor Meera was attending the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2017 and expressed an opinion about how more Pakistanis should come and showcase their films in events like so.
“We’re all from Pakistan. We should be united and using such platforms to utilise these events and project our industry and our country,” she told The Express Tribune. “Obviously, when our businesses grow, we get recognised internationally . Look at how Indians project themselves! We can use events like DIFF to project ourselves because it brings a lot of attention to our films.”
The Kasak star started her career when she was just nine years old, in an advertisement directed by Mahmood Sipra. Her first film was in 1995 and she rose to fame quickly after Chief Saab. Meera made her Bollywood debut in 2005’s Nazar, directed by Soni Razdan and written by Mahesh Bhatt.
Meera spoke about how people had judged her during that time, for working in a Bollywood film. The actor also talked about how film star Shaan Shahid is now promoting his film Arth – the story of which is based on a 1982 Mahesh Bhatt film of the same name. “People said I had sold myself to Bollywood but now, everyone is doing Bollywood movies,” she stated.
Bollywood notwithstanding, Meera had trouble in relaunching herself to the level of stardom that she was accustomed to. She spoke with a startling honesty about how she had ‘fallen behind’ in the newer, more social-media oriented culture of films and Lollywood.
“I don’t know if our management was weak but it took me time to learn social media. I don’t understand computers and technology a lot – I’m accustomed to a different way of communicating with the media and the press,” she shared.
Explaining the reasons why she fell behind, Meera added, “It took me long to understand this medium. There was a time when there was no printed paper published without my interview.”
But as time and technology changed, demands of the industry changed. Media today relies heavily not only the performances of film and television stars but also their social media statuses as well.
“I never thought social media was something important; I never gave much attention but I cannot ignore social media and this technology anymore,” Meera admitted. “Directors and agencies would ask me, ‘How many followers do you have? What is your existence on social media?’ I had been living in the perception that if a social media star or I would be standing at a public place, people would come talk to me for autographs but it has changed now. I’m an experienced actress but it has all become about followers. People judge you based on your social media followers.”
The Ishq Khuda star also felt that her team was one that she had worked with since the 90s and it had to grow with her.
However, speaking about the rise of celebrity managers and agencies, Meera said, “Humayun Saeed and Mahira Khan have really worked well in the industry. Their teams in Karachi are really more understanding…their managers, their PR, their system is much better than what I had in Lahore. When I speak to people in Karachi, it feels like I’m speaking to people in Mumbai. I had a much more older team with whom I’d say one thing and it would be ten steps backward. I was based in Lahore so I couldn’t find those good teams in Karachi.”
Meera has also been profoundly active on her social media platforms for quite some time. The actor tweets as @TheMeeraJee and is on Instagram as @meerajeeofficial. However, the starlet confessed she does read the comments and the abuse she gets. “I get hurt when people call me names on social media,” Meera spoke. “I request them not to abuse and make fun of me. I’m here because of my work and I want to work for you people. Why do you want to make me cry? I don’t want you to cry and I don’t want you to feel bad because of me. Why do you want to say things that make me sad?”
But this, of course, doesn’t stop her. Meera insists that none of the hate will deter her. “It just makes me want to do better work and show the world that I will win the social media game as well.” She wants to keep up with the times and stay relevant, “You have to understand the market in the world now. Or else, you will fade.”
So what does the future hold for Miss Meera Jee? “I’ll be doing a film in 2018 and I’m doing a lead role. In this film, we’re all on the same wavelength and I’m strongly committed to it,” she shared. “It will be the best film of my career. It will be a comeback for me of sorts. I passed up a very good Jamal Shah film for this.”
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