She played a gangster in her recent film Parchi unlike anything she has done before. Hareem Farooq who was in Dubai for PCL speaks to Manju Ramanan on theatre, cinema and what she loves about Bollywood.
Who are you inspired by from the Hindi film industry?
Sridevi was my inspiration. I was 6 years old when I watched Hawa Hawai and was hooked to the song since then. I loved how bubbly she was in that song and it was so full of life. I was in Dubai the same time when she was in Dubai too and regret meeting her. I was devastated by the news and called up Adnan Siddiqui to share my grief. She has left behind a legacy of art and acting that can be parallel to none. She inspired a few generations of actors and the impact she had on people was immeasurable. It is heartbreaking to hear the news and I feel someone who is my own passed away. I also love Madhuri Dixit and I am a big fan of her dance and from today’s stars I am in awe of Alia Bhatt’s work. She’s so good at such a young age. Amazing!
How did you adapt to your character in Parchi?
It was a role I enjoyed doing. Frankly I enjoyed bashing up the men (Laughs). It was a risky character to play. She wasn’t glamourous but bad-ass. Her aggression was her glamour. But it reflects the changing times. People are adapting and accepting to strong willed women characters onscreen. I am glad I did it.
What is your next film all about?
It is a romantic comedy and that is all I can divulge. It is not that of a weak woman, that too I can reveal (Laughs)
Were you always inspired to be an actress?
Right from my childhood I loved the stage. I was 19 when I did my first commercial play. I have had a big support from my parents. My father was keen that I get my degree so I started studying law. But that is also when I realized my love for theatre. I did graduate and earned my degree and then pursued theatre.
What is striking about Hindi cinema?
I grew up watching Hindi films. Today when I watch Hindi cinema, I marvel at the way they have progressed. The way they narrate their stories and explore different subjects, some taboo subjects too, calls for admiration. They are masters in making cult yet commercial films. I would like Pakistani cinema to reach those heights too.
How do you differentiate an actor from a star?
It is said that your attitude makes you a star. But I believe that your attitude towards your work makes you a successful person – it could be a star or a non-star. No amount of social media prepping can make you a star. It is only the value that I bring to my work that makes me a star. It is sad when people say “Kaam hi karti hai. Star nahi hai’. An actor can become a star. A star might or not be an actor! Stardom is there today and gone tomorrow. Your talent always stays with you.