Meera may have been on a personal and professional roller-coaster, but she seems to have bounced back stronger and steadier. Gutsy and gritty, she continues to have a fiery penchant for the local film scene. As she sets up her production company Meera Films and Media House, she hopes to play her part in lending impetus to the emerging movie industry in Pakistan. As Meera veers towards filmmaking, she’s quick in devising the details of her first film, Oscar, which will be mainly in English and will see her in a lead role.
“I want to promote a soft image of Pakistan and, to this end, I’ve been struggling for many years,” says Meera, as she divulges the name of her production house. “Part of my agenda is to introduce educated and new faces in the film industry. I’ll search for talent from reputed film institutions in the country and my production house will serve as a platform to introduce them,” she adds.
Terming herself as a “prominent personality of the country,” Meera states she has changed her priorities, only to focus more on “constructive and welfare work.” She says, “It’s my aim to show the world that Pakistan is not a terrorist country and offers lucrative filmmaking opportunities. She claims that the coming months will see her produce films that will be at par with those churned out in Hollywood and Bollywood. “I’m planning on producing 10 films under my own banner and am hopeful they will contribute to the revival of the Pakistani film industry,” she states.
For starters, she is set to produce and act in Oscar, a primarily English-based film. She feels she’s ready to work in an English film as she has developed a grip over the language. “By visiting the United States and other foreign countries, I’ve gotten the opportunity to speak in English and am now fluent in and can perform in an English film,” she notes. On which artists she draws inspiration from, she says, “I’m impressed with Angelina Jolie, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Britney Spears, Shamim Ara and Babra Sharif, but I’ve my own style of acting.”
Sharing details about Oscar, Meera says the film is set to go on the floors this July, as its script has been finalised. “My sister Aqsa Rubab, who is a fashion designer, brother Syed Ahsan, and mother Syeda Shafqat Zahra Bukhari are also part of the production process. Besides this, I’m engaging top directors and creative minds for my upcoming projects,” states the actor. But despite Meera’s seemingly promising plans of trying her hand at filmmaking, acting is and will always be her passion. “I know that people are jealous of me, but I don’t care and I’ll work for another 100 years in the film industry if I can and will celebrate my birthday every year.”
With the film Nazar, Meera was among the first contemporary actors to try their hand at Bollywood, but failed to make her mark in the industry. “I couldn’t adjust in Bollywood due to personal reasons. It’s difficult for me to stay away from my family and Pakistan. I feel I made some mistakes but learnt a lot. I believe in struggling and hard work and that’s why I’m successful today,” she holds. She laments that although the film industry is gradually booming, a few actors, directors and producers are indulging in petty politics and have established a group, which she feels isn’t good for the industry. “It’s time that people collectively work towards the prosperity of the film industry. Lahore was the hub of films … the time will come when the city will once again be the centre of film production.”
On the philanthropic front, Meera is in the process of collecting funds for the hospital she’s building in Sialkot but is saddened by the response she has received. “I’m disappointed with the people, especially those from the film industry. I began this project with the aim of ensuring patients’ welfare and, although there are barriers, I’ll continue with my struggle and soon, this hospital will be a source of health for the underprivileged in the county,” she says.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2015.