We don’t know about you, but we for sure are itching to watch Heer Maan Ja this Eid-ul-Azha. With the promotion of the film going on in full swing, we got a hold of the lead duo – yep, Ali Rehman Khan and Hareem Farooq – to answer some questions that are on everyone’s minds.
Judging by the trailer, Heer’s character is pretty quirky with a lot more shades to her, and Farooq would concur. “My character Heer is a girl who has always been empowered by her father, and is very dear to him. She wants to keep everyone happy, and stay happy. But certain circumstances lead her life to take abrupt turns,” she said, giving us more incentive to find out what exactly is going on with her character and Kabir.
We all know how this isn’t the first time Farooq and Khan have paired up for a film, and we just had to know what really is the deal behind them coming together repetitively. “Basically there’s no planning that leads us to work together,” Khan laughed. “It just happens as such, we have been doing other projects.”
“It is very easy to work with Ali, he is very professional that way. During the writing process of Heer Maan Ja, we were trying to figure out who would take upon the role Kabir but we couldn’t think of anyone else who would have done it like him, he’s so good with that,” Farooq added.
Nevertheless, the stakes are definitely high this Eid as three major films are releasing simultaneously. It surely raises the competition, but the Heer Maan Ja cast doesn’t feel that way.
“There is no war between us, we just have three films releasing on the same day. They’re all different films, and whatever caters to the taste of the audience, they will watch that. Whoever wants to watch a romantic drama starring Mahira Khan or Maya Ali, they will opt for Superstar or Parey Hut Love. And if someone’s in the mood for something lighthearted and wants to watch us, they’ll watch our film,” Khan said.
While Farooq put out a really strong case of how films make it big on the basis of the content they offer. “At the end of the day, it’s all about content. You can market and package the whole thing as much as you want, but it all ends at the story. It’s not that if this year’s someone isn’t doing a film then we have a better chance, no. This year, some great films are releasing as they should. There should be such consistency and variety,” she said.
Solid point. And having said that, films these days have been facing a lot of backlash in terms of the inclusion of item numbers. Case in point, Baaji – and everything that followed with Mehwish Hayat’s Gangster Guriya. But once again, Khan and Farooq don’t believe songs as such can be termed as item numbers. “Item number is a Bollywood-associated term. When we think of Bollywood dance numbers, they’re the item number kind,” he said.
“I don’t think I have seen an ‘item number’ in Pakistan, per se. An item number is when you objectify someone. Think about it, do you think we can find item numbers here? We can’t call Sunny Leone here and make her do an item number, the censor board won’t allow it,” Farooq added, stressing upon how the songs in Pakistani films are far from being item numbers.
Speaking of item numbers (or lack thereof now), there is another recurring trend spotted in local films these days. One thing that seems repetitive in all films releasing this Eid is the abundance of cameos. Yep, the trailers of all three films are brimming with familiar faces. So what really makes Heer Maan Ja stand out in this aspect? The cast weighed in.
“There are cameos, certainly. But we haven’t included cameos just for the sake of having star power. They’re playing proper characters that are contributing to the story. I think what we did is important because we usually see their faces and the star value is there, but how are they contributing to the story? In that respect, we have a lot of cameos,” Farooq explained.
In fact, she also went on to reveal her favourite one. “The most major and my favourite has to be Abid Ali sir. I think it’s his first film in new-age cinema after decades. Then we have Zara Sheikh, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Ali Kazmi, Shaz Ali, Aaminah Sheikh – we’ve got a lot of faces in the film which are contributing to the story,” she said.
Moving on, Farooq also expressed how she doesn’t plan on drifting away from doing TV serials anytime soon, as cinema is still in its growing phase.
“The film industry right now is not a sustainable industry, whoever’s participating in cinema is doing it purely out of passion. Be it actors, directors, producers, or anyone. There isn’t a lot of money in the field, nor is the reach as massive as that of TV’s. The name that I’ve gotten, it’s through TV. I’m doing both at the same time because they have a different audience, different reach. The film industry is something that is still developing, so I don’t see a reason not to do TV,” she said.
Lastly, their take on social media and how it causes outrage while contributing to the betterment of society is worth mentioning. “We can’t completely shun social media out, we have to understand the value of social media. The point is to use it wisely, don’t make it your life. It is important to realise its value, but at the same time, not let it overpower you,” said Farooq.
“And never judge a book by its cover, you never know what the other person is facing or going through just by the face value,” Khan added.