For Mehreen Raheel, it’s Pakistan first
By: Sher Khan
LAHORE: After several delays, the film Tamanna has quietly finished filming this week. The film, starring Umair Rana, Salman Shahid and Feryal Gauhar has already been featured in film festivals for its catchy soundtrack sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. A less talked about late addition to the cast is the talented actor Mehreen Raheel, who has been given an extended role in the film.
Tamanna is a UK-Pakistani production and is the first full-length Pakistani feature film directed by a British director Steven Moore. The story of the film is about a director who invites a man to his house to play games, but instead, the two characters fight over a woman. The story revolves around love, adultery, robbery and a murder. The film has been shot entirely in Pakistan.
Mehreen has been seen as the face of several brands with the most popular being Ufone and appeared in many television dramas as well. She feels that the film Tamanna is part of a larger project to help develop a Pakistani film industry. This is her second project since the much talked about co-production film, Virsa.
“Since our film industry has been in decline in the recent past, everybody is now working hard to revive it,” she says. “There was a big gap but the film industry never died out.”
Mehreen believes that the Pakistani film industry is functional mainly for the masses. However, now the directors and producers are focusing on making movies for “the elite or the educated”. “We need some time but we are actually being recognised in the market now,” she adds.
As she grows, Mehreen is more concerned about her craft. Presently, she has two television dramas on air, including a PTV Home production Daag-e-Nadamat and also Hum TV’s Zindagi Gulzar Hai. She dispels the notion that she is being type-cast in younger character roles.
“I am a character actor,” she explains. “If you give me a younger role, I will do a younger role and if you give me an older role, I will do that. People think I am being typecast, but there is a lot of other work I do that should be reviewed also.”
Mehreen feels that she is versatile and is interested in both films and dramas, but that there is no comparison between the two. “It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Film can be a royal experience — it is the ultimate exposure. And if it’s an international film, one is not restricted to being popular only in their country.”
She adds that the new-age film scene is about struggling, coming together and making sacrifices to generate a new environment in our film industry. She acknowledged that talented people are working towards making films, despite the barriers and hang-ups that still exist.
“We have modern thoughts that we have to execute with stone-age equipment; so it will take some time to be nurtured,” says Mehreen, adding that things need to change for improvement in the industry.
“A lot of film offers are coming my way,” says Raheel. “But if I am going to do something I want to represent my country — that comes first. It has to be something that I am proud of.” Mehreen plays the role of a young girl in the film and says it is an interesting one. “When we started out, there were limited scenes for me but as they saw my work, the director decided to add more,” she adds.
Joining the film at the tail end of production, Mehreen says that she is excited about the soundtrack. “The soundtrack for my first film was also sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, which was a super-hit,” shares Mehreen, referring to Rahat’s hit song, Mein Tenu Samjhawan.
The young actor feels that this film is different from other films because of the subject it tackles.
“It’s not about a social issue,” she says, adding that there’s enough media coverage on those problems. “We have enough issues being highlighted daily on news channels. [They] touch upon sensitive topics both social and political,” says Mehreen. “It [Tamanna] is a pure entertainer; the story is a murder mystery. It’s about our glory days of cinema.”