Ali Rehman Khan, Hania Aamir on their big Eid release 'Parde Mein Rehne Do'

The film deals with the controversial subject of male infertility

By Sadiq Saleem

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Published: Fri 29 Apr 2022, 3:26 AM

Last updated: Fri 29 Apr 2022, 12:27 PM

Using comedy as a genre to convey a sensitive topic is a risky bet. Though some may argue that comedy as a medium allows one to convey a serious message with ease, the risk of going overboard remains, which may inadvertently hurt the sentiments of the public at large. But Wajahat Rauf, the director of the upcoming Pakistani film Parde Mein Rehne Do, that deals with the controversial subject of male infertility, is confident.

Speaking to City Times, he asserts that his “fourth film, Parde Mein Rehne Do, is a dramedy based on a social issue. I feel giving out a strong message while still entertaining the audience serves a higher purpose. We have been mindful that the film will not hurt any sentiments. Ali and Hania have done their roles responsibly and this is going to start meaningful conversations.”

As the film is set to release in the UAE on May 5, we sat down with the leading pair of the film, Ali Rehman Khan and Hania Aamir, to know what they have in store for the audience.

Tell us how you came on board for this film? What was the brief provided?

Ali: The very first reading of the script got me curious. I had never heard of a Pakistani film being made on the subject like that. I was told that it was an out of the box character — something that no one had done before. So it was a heavy mantle to carry. There had been some hesitation by others but I never saw it that way. I saw it as a beautiful story that had to be told.

Hania: This film was actually offered to me a long time ago. Wajahat had called me in and narrated the idea to me. I was already sold by the time I was out of that meeting. Mohsin Ali, the writer, also came over once and narrated the script and I just fell in love when I heard it page by page and I was on board.

Understanding the cultural sensitivity of the topic, was either of you uncomfortable about being part of a film that revolves around male infertility?

Ali: It is usually very safe for the hero to always play a hero. You never hear of a script where a male protagonist is having certain problems. Normally, if he is an underdog, he ends up becoming a hero by the time the end credits roll. This is a completely different journey. This is about infertility. It is about someone who does not recover from it. I did not think at all how this would affect the public’s perception of me. As an actor, I look for a unique story and a unique character to play. And if the messaging is great then it is completely worth doing.

Hania: I was not uncomfortable at all because I stand with the cause. And anybody who knows me, knows that I am not afraid of sharing my opinions and what I believe in. The topic is something that should actually be talked about. It is crucial that we start talking about things that matter and not just make the same films, year after year.

Most of the films that are releasing this Eid have actors who are already being seen on television. Are you hopeful that people will come to see them when they are seeing them on a daily basis?

Ali: In Pakistan we have a unique situation where actors are known more for their work on television, than for their work in films. In fact, our television is known more than our films, so that’s where the recognition comes from. People who follow projects of their favourite TV actors, I am sure will follow them to cinemas as well. But what sells in cinema is not just the acting but also the story.

Audiences have become smarter and they are looking for something different. And films always offer something more than the television — they are larger than life. The kind of stories that are told through films are very different from what can be told on television. For us, it is definitely about the story. It is a film for the whole family.

Hania: Although the actors are the same but the stories are different. The packaging is different. And the experience of watching a movie in the cinema is also very different from watching a drama on television in your lounge. So, I hope that everyone comes.

We are trying to promote the movie in such a way that there is something for everyone. People are already talking about the ‘crazy promotions’ that we are doing and want to come watch the film.

You both are very active on social media so much so that it has become part of your job now. Do you think of it as pressure or pleasure?

Ali: With the rise of social media in the past few years, it is very clear that audiences want to connect with their favourite stars. They want to be updated on what they do. Gone are the days of the mystery aura of a superstar. In that respect, social media for me is a double-edged sword. I do enjoy engaging with my fans or sharing some personal moments with my family and friends. There is also the pressure to constantly update your life online, rather than live your life in person. So, it does get stressful. But I focus more on the positive side.

Hania: It becomes a pressure when you take it too seriously. One should be careful of what we put out there as it becomes public property then. But having said that, one should also enjoy it. We do get a lot of work through social media and it builds our network as well. I think if we use it wisely, its very constructive.

Can you share one thing from your life that you have kept behind the curtains?

Ali: Contrary to what is believed, I am actually quite an introvert. I do like spending time by myself and staying indoor. I am also very shy sometimes...

Hania: Nothing that I can think of. But if there is something I have not shared with anyone and it is still behind the curtains, then I would rather keep it there!

Hania & Ali will be in Dubai on May 4 to promote the film Parde Mein Rehne Do which is out in UAE cinemas on May 5.

Sadiq Saleem is a Dubai based entertainment writer (@sadiqidas).

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