Arjumand’s hands are full to say the least! Ask her what to expect from her over the next few months and you will be barraged with a seemingly endless listing of plays, films and television appearances that Arjumand has in the pipeline. “As it happens, my next project will be a special appearance in Manto, the upcoming directorial venture of Sarmad Khoosat,” says Arjumand in an interview with The Express Tribune. “I am always open to more film opportunities, so long as there is something substantial in them for me to do,” she adds excitedly. The film — set to release on September 11 — boasts of a stellar cast with Sania Saeed, Saba Qamar, Shamoon Abbasi, Humayun Saeed, Faisal Qureshi, Azfar Mustafa and Mahira Khan sharing screen time.
But just one high profile film is not enough to satiate Arjumand who has already moved on to her next offering. Based in Karachi these days, the acting powerhouse is busy with multiple media projects, including films and theatre plays. “I have been busy working on a project for the international film circuit,” says Arjumand. “It is an extremely fresh and well-penned thesis film written by a Fulbright scholar Sadia Qutbuddin. The plot and theme are women-centric, with excellently thought-out characters and cast. I am very excited about it!” Unsurprisingly, Arjumand is also involved in another English language film for a festival circuit abroad. “I liked the concept and script for much that I hope to develop the film into a full-length Urdu feature so our local audience sometime soon,” she says.
Although few might remember, Arjumand burst into the limelight back in the 90s with her compelling performance in the PTV play Qurut-ul-Ain. Written by Ashfaq Ahmed, the play went on to garner great success and propelled Arjumand towards stardom. “I really enjoyed working in Qurut-ul-Ain and never realised during the just how impactful the play would be,” reminisces Arjumand, fondly. “The audience’s response and memory surprise me to this day! In fact, some viewers might consider it to be my most memorable play till date but I would like to believe that I have yet to achieve more excellence.”
Fast-forward 20 years and Arjumand is still flying home to roost, all set for the release of her next PTV drama serial Aangan Mein Deewar. Shot in the cultural capital of Lahore, the serial depicts the story of a young widow — played by Arjumand — who inherits her husband’s political legacy and ventures into politics. “During her younger days, however, she has worked as a model and actor. How she faces the stifling cultural and social landscape of a feudalistic society is what we have portrayed,” shares Arjumand. “It is great to be a part of something so profound and thought-provoking. It will hopefully encourage our women to step out and play their part in the public sphere.”
With such an expansive career, one would expect Arjumand to have picked favourite medium buther views are quite contrary. The passionate actor remains true to her profession and does not seem to have any preferences, so long as she can act. “In terms of ease, I would say that television is definitely a winner,” she says, when asked which medium she enjoys the most. “But for personal satisfaction I prefer theatre or film, where actors have more time to rehearse and can focus on the plot and process in detail.” According to Arjumand, the immediate feedback received at the end of a live play is extremely gratifying, despite the presence of limited number of audience members. “Television, on the other hand, reaches a wider audience and sometimes, it is truly amazing to hear how much of an impact certain stories have had. Hence, I don’t think it would be fair to compare television and theatre — they are like apples and oranges!”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2015.
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