Rabia Butt’s ‘Hijrat’ to the big screen

Published: July 18, 2013
Rabia says the director is convinced she will mesmerise the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Rabia says the director is convinced she will mesmerise the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


Two-time winner of the Lux Style Award for Best Model, dusky beauty Rabia Butt is now gearing up for the big screen. After stints in commercials and music videos, Rabia is set to star in Farooq Mengal’s debut film Hijrat.

“Good things come to those who wait for the right time and opportunity,” says the model. “I accept a project when it seems right to me. I did have an idea that this might happen at some point, but I was not hunting for a role in a big film.”

Rabia says the director is convinced she will mesmerise the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Hijrat, which marks Mengal’s directorial debut in Lollywood, is said to be a romantic drama that is placed in the backdrop of the Afghan War, where millions were rendered homeless. Rabia plays an Indian doctor named Jia, who works for rehabilitation centres set up for IDPs. She is happy that she’s debuting in the industry with a lead role. “The passion is fiery and we [the team of Hijrat] are determined to captivate the audience. No stones are being left unturned; now the success of the film depends on fate,” says the model-turned-actor. “Things solidified once I was ready to switch from the fashion industry to the mesmerising silver screen and the director was convinced that I would dazzle the audience,” she adds.

Rabia admits that Hijrat is one of the most demanding projects she has been a part of. “All this hard work is a demand of my role, but I am sure it will pay off. I am really excited about all the upcoming projects in the industry and foresee a sparkling revival of Lollywood.”

She is optimistic about the Pakistani film industry’s future. “You know Lollywood is no more. I don’t know what I should call this rebirth [of cinema] yet, but it seems good things are in the making,” she says.

Mengal, a well-known name in the Pakistani television industry, has gone all out to make his film debut with a perfect mix of fresh faces and seasoned actors. Apart from Rabia, the film stars model Asad Zaman and actors Noman Ejaz, Ayub Khoso and Wiam Dahmani.

“The first spell has been shot — what an enlightening experience it has been!” exclaims Rabia. “The silver screen is hungry for blood and sweat — it demands serious hard work, which means there was no slacking at all on our part.”

Still a novice in acting, Rabia says she will not make hasty decisions in her acting career and will focus more on improving her craft. She adds that she’s being offered projects for acting and modelling, but tries to refrain from being easily impressed.

When asked if she will take up offers from India, she says, “I will not bend over backwards to earn a role in Bollywood. I am staying true to my ideology and my craft. If things are meant to be in my favour, I will be handed whatever I deserve on a silver platter.”

When asked why he chose Rabia, Mengal says that the unusual love story will show her in a different light. “I felt Rabia was perfect for the role and after auditioning her, it was clear in my mind that she suits the character well,” he adds.

The director also expressed that he was committed to promoting new talent and that Zaman, who plays the lead role opposite Butt, was also making his debut. “We [film-makers] have to promote new talent in the industry. I think the two [Rabia and Zaman] will have strong on-screen chemistry and give powerful performances in the film.”

The film, which is touted as a big-budget project, is expected to release between October and November, adding to the array of Pakistani films slated for this year. The teaser will be out this Eid.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • azmat khan
    Jul 18, 2013 - 9:23PM

    Rabia you have glamor.You have talent.Best of luck.We want a flourishing film industry.


  • WB
    Jul 18, 2013 - 10:49PM

    Another flop in the makingRecommend

  • Jul 18, 2013 - 11:09PM

    REALLY REALLY hope it actually comes out.


  • uet
    Jul 19, 2013 - 12:23AM

    Nobody is Interested in Afghani misery anymore, bring something more Pakistani.


  • Sridhar
    Jul 19, 2013 - 4:09PM

    A standard statement from Pakistani actors nowadays is “i won’t bend backwards to go to Bollywood”
    What the heck! As if Bollywood is waiting with bated breaths when Rabia “whatever” will come and join them!
    Eventually, when there is a chance, every pakistani actor (rare exceptions) jump at the prospect of working in Bollywood.


  • Tahir
    Jul 19, 2013 - 8:32PM

    @uet: are you a statistician? do you have personal access to Nielsen ratings? off course your are not. so when you say “nobody” is interested in Afghani misery you mean nobody YOU know who has interest in that which cannot be more than 300 people for anyone at anyone in a given point in their lives. with the US retreating from Afghanistan this fall the focus on Afghanistan and its issues including the refugees displaced by war remain at an all time high. do tune in to world news occasionally.Recommend

  • Tahir
    Jul 19, 2013 - 8:37PM

    “Rabia plays an Indian doctor named Jia, who works for rehabilitation centres set up for IDPs.”

    It’s actually a refugee camp set up close to the border to provide shelter for Afghans displaced by the war in their country.

    Excellent right up though!


  • Tahir
    Jul 19, 2013 - 8:53PM

    @Sridhar: strange commentary indeed. First, you misquote the speaker and then you slay her for a statement she never made.

    This is what you cite as Rabia having said, ““i won’t bend backwards to go to Bollywood” And this is what she actually said, “I will not bend over backwards to earn a role in Bollywood.”

    I don’t have the time or inclination to tutor you on the importance of understanding meaning from the syntax of a sentence but even to a novice it would be obvious that “to go to Bollywood” and “to earn a role in Bollywood” cannot mean the same thing.

    A good education has its advantages. never undermine them.


  • long Y. Liu
    Jul 20, 2013 - 3:35AM

    The Afghan situation is important as it is a statement on the human condition and refugees world-wide…It is of geo-political significance and not something that is limited in scope to what certain sectors of local audiences see as common entertainment.

    The entire ‘Hijrat Team” must be highlighted & recognized for their collective work and dedication… Asad Zaman under Mengal’s insightful direction is of Afghan decent and this film is his first splash on the silver screen and he along with Rabia Butt, Noman Ejaz, Ayub Khoso, Wiam Dahmani & all the other players must shine & be recognized equally to make any film a major success!!

    Best wishes to Team Hijrat and may they put Pakistan on the Awards map internationally with a lasting impact that will change hearts & minds globally towards a path of greater empathy in a seemingly indifferent world.


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