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Sunday, August 18, 2013

If it weren’t for Ishq Khuda, Meera would’ve left filmdom

Lollywood actor feels this is her best film to date. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
LAHORE: 
When there’s drama or controversy, Veena Malik and Mathira seem to be in the vicinity. The tradition of being in the news for all the wrong reasons, however, wasn’t pioneered by them. It was Meera who cut that ribbon. She went from Lollywood to Bollywood and bounced right back.
Although there was speculation that her film career may well be over, the release of her new film Ishq Khuda — which failed miserably at multiplexes but fared rather well at single-screen cinemas — proves otherwise.
“I really believe that this has been my best film [so far],” says Meera, adding that the film has acted as a medium to restore confidence and faith in herself and her acting career. The crew of Ishq Khuda recently cut a cake in Lahore to celebrate the commercial ‘success’ of the movie. “I was reaching a point where I thought to myself that this may just be my last film,” she adds. “But I think that’s what this film has done… it brought my interest back and I hope to do more work.”
Meera feels that the film’s script is unique as it aims to reach a wide-ranging audience. “It has the ability to connect with people abroad,” she says proudly. “The idea of sufism and true love really just resonates and the film also has good music.”
Her role as a 20-something Iqra, the daughter of an ex-army official, has received mixed reviews. While some say that she was not well-suited for the role, Meera and the film’s director Shahzad Rafique think diffrently. “The director cast me because he needed someone who could act with a certain amount of intensity, which is what you [will] see at the end of the film,” explains Meera.
Rafique too, defends his decision by saying, “I realise that people have said that she does not look her age, but I wasn’t trying to make her look like a college or university girl.” The director also admits that he was not competing with Chennai Express. “If an artist herself says that this may be her best film, there is nothing I can say to exceed that praise,” he smiles.
Queen of controversy
Apart from addressing the criticism she received regarding her role in Ishq Khuda, Meera expresses her feelings about being made fun of and mocked openly by people on television. “It’s a known fact that I started to act in 1995 — I was only a child,” she sighs. “But what hurts more is the way people have tried to judge me. Have they got no decency? They would never do that to an Indian actor.”
She then comments on the controversy regarding Kaun Banega Meera Pati where cricketer Shoaib Akhtar had backed out of her show and she ultimately faced a major financial setback. “He is very over-confident and this is no way to speak to women. If he thinks he’s such a star then I probably have just as big a name,” she says.
Meera admits that she is not interested in doing any films in India unless Mahesh Bhatt offers her one. “I want to be selective in the roles I choose. I suppose if Mahesh Bhatt approaches me for a film, I will do it. But otherwise, I would rather focus on my career here [Lollywood],” she says. “I have always wanted to do television. But I’ll be very honest, I have not been getting any offers… If a director thinks I fit a role, I would love to do something.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2013.

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