Sunday 13 December 2015

A love triangle in HMJ? More like a square, hints Sonya Jehan

18:53 By Lollywood Online No comments

KARACHI: The Ho Mann Jahaan (HMJ) team is leaving no stone unturned in promoting the film. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the makers have set new benchmarks as far as marketing of Pakistani movies is concerned.
And although we have seen Mahira Khan, Sheheryar Munawar and Adeel Husain actively attending press events, visiting colleges and even walking the ramp (or rather dancing on the ramp to this year’s blockbuster hit Shakar Wandaan), there’s one lead actor from the cast who seems to be missing in action. Well until recently.
It’s Sonya Jehan of course.
If you have been wondering why Sonya is not attending any promotional events for the film, fret no more! We met with the talented actress and asked her everything you want to know, about her and about her debut Pakistani film Ho Mann Jahaan.
The reason why Sonya has been absent at HMJ promotional events is because she lives in Delhi now (her husband is Indian) and has returned just this week.
“I am extremely excited, very nervous and very humbled. But I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with for my first Pakistani film,” Sonya told The Express Tribune when asked how she feels about making a debut in the Pakistani film industry nearly 10 years after the release of her first film — Bollywood historical drama Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story.
 “I have worked with Asim [Raza] in the past many times on commercials. He is a thorough gentlemen, he is extremely talented, a perfectionist. He really believes in his art and craft. It’s always nice to work with people like him,” she added.
But let’s get into the thick of it and find out what we all really know want to know: How does her character fit in a movie’s plot that appears to revolve around three friends played by Mahira, Sheheryar and Adeel?
“My character’s name is Sabina. She is an independent, very strong woman. She is not married. She is fierce, knows what she wants out of life and she runs a restauraunt. That’s about it,” she said.
Hmm… Not quite the answer we were hoping for. So we probe her further. Is she related to the other three lead characters?
“No, I am not related to any of them. I do build a relationship with the group.”
Still not quite clear. So we try to dig a little more. What kind of relationship? “It’s a film that’s coming of age of the youth belonging to urban Pakistan. Not the traditional plot you may expect. It’s a very realistic, 21st century kind of plot which revolves around relationships between people. It’s a very interesting story with many layers.”
It appears from the posters and trailer that HMJ could be a love triangle between Mahira, Sheheryar and Adeel. Is it?
“It might not be a triangle, it might be a square. Could it be a square?” Sonya says, making it even more difficult for us to crack the mystery.
So we give up and move to our next question.
What does she have to say about Asim Raza, the director? “He is a very sensitive director. Don’t expect big tamashas, item numbers and all. It’s a very sensitive movie about relationships, about the urban youth of Pakistan belonging to different spectrum. There’s an interesting dynamic between the characters. That’s why I really enjoyed the script.”
As we know, Sonya had an important role in My Name Is Khan – perhaps the biggest Bollywood film at that time. How different is Indian cinema compared to the revived Pakistani film industry?
“It’s like a factory in Bombay. They are churning out movies at a really fast pace. They have a lot of money to spend on sets and costumes etc.”
Sonya added that she enjoys working on small projects where she can build a relationship with her team. “People might love the film or they may hate it, but as an actor what you take is the experience shooting it and for me that is the most important,” she said.
Taj Mahal was a great experience because it was my first film. It was disappointing that it didn’t do well at the box office. Khoya Khoya Chaand was the opposite. Small budget film but working with Sudhir [Mishra] was amazing. He is such a passionate director. The budget was so small that we were asked to bring our own clothes and help produce the film. I felt very close to the project.”
 She also spoke about her experience of working in My Name Is Khan. “It was Shah Rukh and Kajol’s big comeback film. Amazing! When I look back now I say ‘wow! what a crazy experience’. But I took out more from a small budget film like Sudhir’s,” she said.
Coming back to HMJ, Sonya said that she enjoyed working on the project because she the film has been shot in Karachi — the town she grew up in. “I felt at home. There was a comfort level. I used to go back home to my mum. You feel like you’ve worked but you’re with family. The team itself is like my extended family. We’d sit together after pack up and have a good laugh.”
Sonya also disclosed that although she is currently living in Delhi, she and her husband are planning to move. “We are in the process of moving to Dubai. I want to be closer to my mother. There’s only one flight in the week from India. And then there are visa issues. I think Dubai will be a good place. I can come every weekend.”
Does that mean more Pakistani films for her in the future?
“I have only worked in one project and I like what I have experienced here. I don’t really plan. Like I did the opening sequence in Reluctant Fundamentalist. For me it’s not the money or fame. That one-night shoot was incredible. The atmosphere on set was electric. I took that back, it’s not like I made a lot of money or got critical acclaim. It was a fabulous experience to work with that team. That’s what I cherish,” she concludes


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