After Hours: Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman

Published: January 10, 2018
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Setting many firsts for the Pakistani film industry including the fact that the entire movie was shot in 32 days and there are 14 theatre actors debuting through this project, Parchi is expected to revolutionise film-making in Pakistan. Lead actors Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman share what the audience can expect from this movie and how their characters have helped them evolve as actors

What did you think of Parchi’s script when you first read it?

Hareem: I was part of the whole development process of the script. When I first read it, I thought it was a very different concept and we had to make it work.

Ali: When I was reading Parchi’s script for the first time, I laughed hysterically and I was completely immersed in it with a smile on my face throughout. I just knew that I had to do this movie as soon as I read the script, and I am happy that I got the opportunity to do such an amazing film.

How would you describe your character in the film?

Hareem:  My character is a street smart girl called Eman. She might be bad-ass, but she also has a feminine side to her. She might be hard on the surface, but she really cares about people, and is a softie at heart.

Ali:  My character’s name is Bash – he is a con-man who has grown up on the streets so he is very street-smart. He knows what he wants, he is selfish, plays by his own rules, and does not have much regard for other people. But at the same time, he has a nice side to him that he doesn’t want people to see. So I would say, it is a very complex, layered, three-dimensional character.

How is Parchi different from other comedies?

Hareem: It is quite different because I haven’t seen similar characters in Pakistani cinema yet. It is a situational comedy which also has not been shown much so far on screen.

Ali:  Parchi is very different from other comedies because it has 14 new faces from theatre. It is a situational comedy and the subject-matter has never been dealt with before. It has a strong female lead and the movie depicts female empowerment; the likes of which Pakistani cinema has not seen before. Hareem is not playing a typical damsel in distress who barely has scenes in the movie and is side-lined. It is very progressive and has an edge over other films as we are showing a strong female character at the forefront.

What can we expect from your characters in the movie?

Hareem: You can expect different characters, laughter, emotions, a bit of drama and action.

Ali:  You can expect a lot of laughter!  You honestly won’t know where time went. You will be thoroughly entertained, and come out of the cinema with a smile, wanting to watch it again for sure.

Parchi is the first film in Pakistan in which the protagonist is a female. How did you prepare for the role?

Hareem: I think every character that you do is a part of your learning process. You need to learn from the mistakes you make in order to make yourself better. For me, every character I play makes me a better actor.

How have your characters strengthened you as actors?

Hareem: When I see myself on-screen, I am very critical about myself and I take notes from relevant people to ensure I can strengthen myself and act even better next time.

Ali: It does strengthen you as an actor because you are in that role all the time. You become aware of things you might not know before, you start thinking in different ways. You start thinking about your character, and this helps you to open up as an actor, and it also leads you to places you never thought you would go. It also depends on how strong the actor is and if he is able to shape the character, so it’s basically a give and take relationship. The character and actor both have to co-exist.

What’s the one trait your character has you wish you had too?

Hareem: One trait I wish I had from my character is how to shoot a gun!

Ali: To be honest, there is no trait in the character that I wish I had!

How has it been working alongside each other?

Hareem: It has been a pleasure and a learning experience because when you have really good actors working with you, you get to learn a lot. I have worked with Ali Rehman before and Osman Khalid Butt is also a very old friend, and even the new actors were a complete delight to work with. Overall, it has been an amazing experience.

Ali: The experience has been phenomenal because we had a great team. I’ve known Hareem for a long time and we have also worked together before so it does become easier to work. You need to have that creative energy when you are working together day and night and Hareem along with the team had that. You need to understand each other and know how the other person works, and let the other person’s creative ideas flow, and tune yourself accordingly. Even the rest of the team had that tuning as we all listened to each other. I believe even the smallest ideas can be huge sometimes so it had always been a creative atmosphere on the sets.

Any memorable moments while shooting the movie?

Hareem: I don’t remember one specific memory as we constantly had a lot of fun on-set, and I cannot handpick one moment that was hilarious. They celebrated my birthday on-set which was a big surprise for me and that is very memorable for me.

Ali: There were too many memorable moments! I don’t think I can sum it up in a few lines.

One thing your fans don’t know about you?

Hareem: One thing my fans don’t know about me is that I am a bathroom singer.

Ali: One fact that my fans do not know about me is that I am an extremely shy person.

A character from any movie you wish you could play?

Hareem: I would love to play Kareena Kapoor’s character from Jab We Met and also Wonder Woman!

Ali: One character that I would really love to play is my childhood super-hero, Superman!

Are there any exciting projects in the pipeline for you?

Hareem: A lot of acting projects coming up in 2018. I have been working on my next film too, but I cannot reveal much at the moment, but there is a lot in store for my fans!

Ali: There are a few exciting projects in the pipeline. I am waiting for it to materialise so that I can share it with everyone.

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