Reema is to Lollywood, what Madhuri Dixit is to Bollywood — a queen, a diva and one of Pakistan’s larger-than-life female stars. After getting married in the US in November, she decided to sojourn in Pakistan recently and stopped by Karachi in April. The Express Tribune caught up with the actor to talk about her married life and her upcoming ventures.
What brings you to Karachi?
I have been working on the Lux campaign and have been completely engrossed in its activities. The billboards are already up and the audience will get to see the commercials on the screen very soon.
Have you left the world of Lollywood for a blissful married life?
I have seen the ups and downs of Lollywood. In the 1990s, the hit jori was that of Reema-Shaan. Sadly, after that, there was no real platform for artists to perform.
In 2000, I decided to leave Lollywood in order to work on my own productions. Presently, I am hoping to find an international project and if an opportunity were to present itself, I would gracefully accept. I have my eyes set on winning an Oscar and showing my films in Cannes — that would definitely be a dream come true.
How different is your real life from your reel life and how has marriage changed you?
It’s a completely different experience altogether. This is an arranged match and I agreed on my parent’s insistence. I believe I am the luckiest person on earth to have found such a fine husband.
I am glad that my in-laws are supportive and my better half is very caring. My only concern was to have an educated man as a life partner and that wish was fulfilled. I would have never compromised on my husband’s education; I truly know the value of it. I, myself plan to do my Masters in Journalism in the US. At least then, Pakistanis can say there is one educated actor in Lollywood.
What do you think of Lollywood now? Do you have any future film projects in mind?
Lollywood has given me name and fame. It’s because of this industry that I am respected. Although people in general blame Lollywood, I don’t want to. It’s usually the experience which is either good or bad; it has nothing to do with the industry itself. Bad work is only another experience for one to learn from. Don’t describe an industry in three studios. For me, this industry is on the road to revival and I see it having a very bright future.
The problem with Lollywood is that there is a severe lack of financial resources and no specific rules and regulations are being followed. Just look at the treatment given to Love Mein Ghum, it had absolutely no support from the government or from the cinema owners. I lost a huge sum of money as film-making in Pakistan is practically a no-profit business. Cinema owners marketed a Bollywood film Bodyguard more than a local project. Had Love Mein Ghum been a hit, it would’ve helped me garner support from multinationals to support future Lollywood projects. But sadly, that didn’t happen.
Tell us about your transition, have you blended well into the American society?
I have transitioned really well. Life is a pleasant thing, it depends on how you try and surround yourself with happiness. I went into this married life as a normal girl living a normal life and not like a spoilt superstar. There is a thin line between ego and self-respect. A girl must know the difference between the two and should not intermingle the terminologies. And only then can her life be easy and blissful.
There have been rumours afloat about you expecting a child? Is there any truth to it?
Mein umeed say hoan aur har waqt achi umeed say hoti hoon. (I am hopeful and I have always been hopeful). Quite truthfully, when I heard the rumours, I was both happy and sad. I want my fans to know that I would never hide such pleasant news. Jis nay yeh dua di uskay moun main ghee shakar. My husband and I do plan to start a family next year. For now, I am busy planning on hosting a TV show.
Any message for your fans?
One message that I would like to give to my fans is that it’s very important to focus on your career. But at the same time, one should never focus on someone else’s success and bring someone down out of pure jealousy. Instead, one should always focus on being a better person. There are two paths in life; one takes you towards vice, the other towards virtue — the direction you choose is entirely up to you.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.