Paki star'let' flops in Bollywood, promptly plays the muslim card and claims victimization.
In the world of click-bait attention spans and a fiercely competitive entertainment industry, few would choose not to be taken at face value and stereotyped for their looks alone when it makes progress all the less difficult. And many would misperceive that someone as stunning as actor-model Sabeeka Imam could simply use her looks as a gateway to success. “I was told a pretty face can be banked on,” says an irked Sabeeka.
But for her, it’s all about making a mark through her credentials. “For an actor, recognition and acceptance mean a lot. When a critic points out that I was ‘well-casted’ in a film, it translates as the fact that my acting had no appeal,” she tells The Express Tribune. With modelling assignments in hand, cinema tugging at her heartstrings and all eyes on her, she adds, “Artists are very shy creatures. They are loud around only those they trust. Being stereotyped is the last thing I’d want to be.”
Of British-Pakistani origin, Sabeeka came to the fore only recently. With her face plastered on billboards and hoardings across the country, she has quickly become one of the most known faces in the modelling industry. With that, she has film appearances to her credit in both Bollywood and the UK. But she was never hungry for the limelight and seldom came out against any criticism.
Sabeeka has always been one of those who want to play the “chor and the police” on screen — roles that entail character. But her Bollywood debut was branded as exactly what she always distanced herself from. Vikas Bahl’s Queen was a film that, despite its banal humour, went on to become a commercial and critical success, redefining many of Bollywood’s stereotypical rules of cinema. It was a film shouldered entirely by its female lead, who is treated better by a free-spirited, independent woman abroad than her own family and husband-to-be back home.
The film also brought Sabeeka to the forefront in an avatar few actors of Pakistani origin would dare take up for an Indian movie. “I always wanted to act in a film that had Kangana Ranaut playing the leading lady in any capacity,” she says. Initially, the role of a Middle Eastern belly dancer was what she was roped in for, which soon took the shape of a pole dancer who had migrated to Europe from Pakistan. Excitement turned into nervousness when she was informed about the change of plan. “I have been greatly criticised for that role. I must clarify that I had signed up as a belly dancer (Really, who is she trying to fool by this gullible talk)
. My audition (aka Casting Couch
) was great because I had trained as a dancer when I was young.”
Reminding herself that she is not all about looks, Sabeeka took it up as a challenge. “It was a bold step. It made me uncomfortable on many grounds. I was scared of the reaction, plus, I had never done anything like that on screen before. But had I not done that, what else was there for me?” she states. She finds no reason to have regrets. “It was something different from what I had done. I have only seen a role like this twice in films. I was not comfortable but it was a character … it was no bimbo role.”
She adds that not all’s well for a girl like her to make room in a space such as Bollywood. “I have seen how Muslim girls beg, plead and cry for roles in Bollywood films. They are exploited to a great extent.” In the backdrop of her Pakistani film debut with Jalaibee, she explains how this viewpoint pans out, “In India, they don’t generally let a Muslim get to the top. My life somehow belongs in Pakistan. I will do more movies here (A flop in India is good enough to succeed in Shitland. Besides what else choice do you have? )
.” Sabeeka fancies more diverse and riveting roles in a reviving industry she joined of her own accord. “I now want to play a more fascinating role, such as that of an intelligent and strong Pakistani wife.” So basically an A lister in Pakistan gets only a two bit role in Bollywood. Being a Muslim her talent is beyond any doubt.The SDRE indians have not given her the top roles on a platter and hence this is a conspiracy against Muslims.