THE revival of Pakistani cinema continues with this week’s big Eid release Bin Roye, which stars Mahira Khan, Armeena Rana Khan and Humayun Saeed.
The romantic drama has been shot in a number of countries and taken two years to complete. I caught up with lead star Armeena recently to find out more about the interesting looking film.
Tell us about your character in Bin Roye?
I play the role of Saman in the film. She is a beautiful and gentle girl whom Irtiza simply can’t help but fall in love with. I would describe her as angelic. She is a level-headed, sweet person who subjugates her own needs to those of others.
I think the audience will love her because she is someone who is easy to like. What was the biggest challenge of acting in the film? There were a number of challenges, including the extreme weather.
I suffered a mild heatstroke in the scorching Karachi heat. But conversely, I caught a terrible cold in San Francisco where the temperatures fell below freezing.
This was only my second project in Pakistan. I have come a long way since I first started, so I am as eager as the audience to see what two years of my life, compressed into two odd hours on screen, will look like.
Do you have a favourite moment or scene in the film?
My favourite moment has to be the song Ballay Ballay, where my sister in the film dances for me at my wedding.
I remember being completely immersed in my character to the point that I cried real tears out of love for her. I received an ovation for that particular
scene from the crew and (song) director, Asim (Raza), whose appreciation and encouragement meant a lot to me.
That ovation was ‘the’ moment for me personally. Could you share a memorable behindthe- scenes moment? A poignant moment I remember when the film crew reversed roles with us. We, the actors, were feeling a little gloomy so the crew decided to put on a parody of the song Baby Doll.
The cast and I laughed so much as we cheered their marvellous performance.
It lifted us all. These moments keep you going through the dark hours in the middle of filming when you can’t see the entrance or exit of the tunnel.
Who will Bin Roye appeal to most?
I remember watching a few minutes of a Bollywood film recently on a flight and thinking, ‘I could never watch this with my parents sat next to me’. It was that lewd and I turned it off.
Bin Roye is special because it is for the whole family and very refined. People complain that today’s films are so inappropriate. Well, here is their chance to vote with their feet because Bin Roye reflects Pakistani culture, traditions and above all, this country’s romantic spirit.
Are you hoping this film will continue the revival of Pakistani cinema?
I believe we are already revived. I am hearing about so many exciting new projects in the pipeline featuring a fresh new wave of talent. This film will be HUM TV’s first feature to be released internationally on such a scale. There is a buzz about it abroad as well as in Pakistan.
I believe we truly are at the leading edge. The world is about to be hit with the best of Pakistan and I am personally excited to be part of creating history.
What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?
Next will be my film Janaan, which is produced and co-produced, respectively, by IRK films, Reham Khan and Imran Kazmi. The script is the type that wins awards.
The makers are uncompromising and relentless in realising their vision. This will be nothing like the film industry in Pakistan has seen before.
My message to other filmmakers is to raise the bar this year because we will make a strong show with this one.
What kind of character would you love to play in the future?
I am well on my way to establishing myself in Pakistan with four serials and three films under my belt, including Bin Roye. I am looking for something different and challenging.
I would like to play a historical figure. I also have my sights set on the western industry, from where I actually started. I am discussing projects with various producers in the UK and the US in order to find a fitting role I fancy playing.
Which director would you most love to work with?
In Pakistan, I have a long wish list. This country has so many brilliant directors and producers who I would love to work with. So I will try and work with as many ‘grade A’ directors as I can before the world discovers them and whisks them off abroad.
What are you doing this Eid?
Working. As professionals, we are often unable to celebrate events and anniversaries as the show must go on. I have celebrated two of my birthdays on set. The first time was on Bin Roye. I remember Momina Duraid, Nina Kashif and Asim surprising me with a birthday cake.
The second time was earlier this year in Thailand, where I was shooting a commercial and again the crew surprised me with a cake. Both times I had not realised it was my birthday. So this Eid I will be fulfilling work obligations in England.
Finally, why should we watch Bin Roye?
How many reasons would you like? Watch this film for the passion of the cast and determination of the producers. Watch it because it is the latest installment in the story of Pakistani cinema.
It is another step closer to Pakistan competing globally. Watch it if you want to laugh, cry and be blown away. Watch it for the colour, magic and wonder in the film. Above all, watch Bin Roye because you will love it.