Reema Khan on Bollywood cliques | The Express Tribune


Gracing the guest’s couch at a talk show with host Tabish Hashmi, Reema Khan offered a candid introspection of her rise to fame as a Lollywood superstar while navigating personal relationships. Talking about her entry into showbiz, the actor shared how her consistent efforts always yielded a reward.

“If the beginning is difficult, then believe me, the result will be worth it…” Reema articulated the time-tested adage. “When you go through a process, you find that reaching the destination is only difficult, not impossible.” The Bulandi actor went on to recall her first audition and how her success surprised her.

“So, I auditioned in the presence of many actors who are today’s superstars. When I was auditioning with them, I had no faith that I would be selected. That I would enter this category of heroines on the big screen,” Reema remarked.

The conversation also touched on her 2011 hit song Love Mein Ghum, from the eponymous romantic drama film, which featured an ensemble cast. Delving into the breadth of the project, Reema contemplated, “To achieve anything, you have to leave your ego behind at home. There were so many talented names from different fields…from fashion design to television to the big screen like Nadeem, Umar Sharif, Sahiba, Rambo, Moammar Rana…”

However, the actor maintained that a single key made her ambitions come to life with finesse. “Everyone has money and connections, but I had one power at that time which I used to execute such a difficult song…It was my courtesy,” Reema stated. “I used to respect everyone…I never did any leg pulling. So when I made one phone call, everyone was onboard with me.”

The star stressed her motto of setting her ego aside to cultivate lasting relationships of respect with others. Per the actor, this practice is why she would give herself a 10/10 in essaying off-screen roles of a mother, a wife, and a daughter-in-law. “If I had not tried to be a good wife, then my husband wouldn’t have allowed me to work,” Reema expressed how deeply her career and personal life remained intertwined.

She furthered on, “If I had not tried to be a good mother, then my 8-and-a-half-year-old son wouldn’t have walked for four hours in a pro-Palestine rally yesterday. If I had not tried to be a good daughter-in-law, then my in-laws wouldn’t have believed that I would raise their heads in pride wherever I go.”

However, one has to ask: in retrospect, did the constant regard for others ever feel like self-sacrifice? As per Reema, she has never perceived care as a transaction. “When you do something good, don’t expect anything in return because whatever expectations you have from people, they will break your heart, they will hurt you.”

Discussing her prospective return to the industry, Reema clarified that she has not quit acting. “At present, the people who are already working are doing a tremendous job. I have worked in 200 films. Now it’ll have to be a character that I haven’t done before. If someone writes a story like this, then you will definitely see me [on screen].”

When asked what comeback role she would prefer, the celebrity questioned the limited understanding of heroes and heroines in Pakistan’s showbiz. “Why is it that in our culture, the hero or heroine is still understood vis-a-vis romantic films and songs? You can become a hero or heroine in any style. So, lead roles are not necessarily about songs or romantic scenes.”

Talking about what would draw her to a new project, she added, “The role needs to be powerful. You will never see me playing a filler character.” On the subject of her film preferences, Reema continued to explain why she never entered Bollywood.

“I received offers from Bollywood. I think that they already have a lot of talent there. From what I have observed, it’s wiser to stay in your home turf. There is no point in going to a palace where you have to feel ashamed,” the actor replied cryptically, alluding to other Pakistani stars who made their Bollywood debuts.

Elaborating further on the troubles that Pakistani actors face over the border, Reema offered, “They give you the due respect. There are cliques everywhere including Bollywood and they don’t want other artists, especially from Pakistan, to carve their name.” The celeb emphasised how there are a lot of people who welcome cultural exchange with open arms but the cliques prove more influential. 

Given how Reema’s claim to stardom began in the 90s, the interview found the veteran star reminiscing about the competitive industry and the once-candid rivalry among actors. “The most beautiful thing about the 90s is that when all heroines claimed to be number one, there was an honesty between them,” the Nikah actor said. “There was no contradiction between their beliefs and practices… They would say whatever they felt in their hearts.” 

“These days you observe hypocrisy…Superficially, people claim to support you but on the inside, that is not the case,” Reema added, relaying how contenders for number one back in the day would use their work to make their argument, instead of becoming the judge themselves.

She furthered on, “We had audiences and journalists who would provide analysis on how the graph remained for a certain actor.” On a related note, Reema remembered the time a showbiz rivalry turned into a physical run-in. “There was a heroine…I think she was, is and will always remain number one in her unique style and category. No one has beat her and no one can till the end of time,” she divulged the conflict in veiled terms. 

Without disclosing the actor’s identity, Reema described the provocative encounter. “She used inappropriate language. Now, I don’t know how to abuse. I told her to stop once, twice. The third time it happened, I am a Persian-Pathan, so then…” she trailed off, with a slap gesture. “I landed one.” In retrospect, the Love ‘95 star contended that if she hadn’t been so young, she would have handled the situation with more maturity.

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