Being Noor Jehan's granddaughter, Sonya Jehan has had some pretty big shoes to fill from the get go. Perhaps that's why she'd avoided stepping into the limelight on home soil altogether, some assumed.
"I don't think there was any conscious decision not to work in Pakistan, it just so happened that I was offered a very interesting role to play in India (she made her cinematic debut with Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story) and so I went there, ended up marrying an Indian. Now, I have a family there so I've done more work there since I live across the border now."
How does the so-called revived Pakistani cinema industry compare to the mammoth that is Bollywood?
"It doesn't compare. Obviously, Bollywood is much bigger but it's not as intimate. A lot of people that you work with there are working simultaneously on multiple projects so you don't really get the time to know people, other than your co-stars and director. On top of that, I usually have to fly from Delhi to Bombay, stay in a hotel. It's impersonal."
She adds, "Here, I work with a team that works and gels together like family and I go back home to my mother and my brother and have ghar ka khana. You don't do room service here."
However, even after all this time, Ho Mann Jahaan felt like an easy fit, explains the actress.
"I'd been away from Pakistan for so long that I didn't know much about the media and the cinema. When Asim approached me, it made sense for me to use this as the project to catapult me into unfamiliar territory because I've known him for a long time, we have that comfort level. Of course it helps that the script is so good and the character I was offered was that of an interesting woman."
Where does this interesting woman fit into the plot of a movie which has been hailed a coming-of-age story revolving around 3 university students?
While being careful not to give anything too major away, Jehan gives us some insight into the mysterious Sabina: "She's a very strong, mature, independent woman. She's extremely outspoken but at the same time, she's cool-headed. I'm not like that at all! I have quite a temper so as an actor, it was interesting for me, to play someone so serene."
I know Ho Mann Jahaan is going to do well and for now, that's what I'm excited about. In fact, I'd love to do another movie with Asim only!" laughs Jehan.
After having worked with bigwigs like SRK, Kajol and Soha Ali Khan, what was going through Jehan's head when being thrown into the mix with a crop of emerging actors?
"It was wonderful. It's a great team; so young and fresh, there's never a dull moment on set. Mahira is someone who's a total star, who's amazing at her craft. Adeel is just in his own world and he has these quirky, impactful one liners and quotes come out of the blue, he's a total riot. Sherry is the little boy next-door; bubbly and cheerful. it was a no-brainer for me, doing this movie."
She adds, "There was great energy all around, you know? I remember we sort of got stranded at the beach while we were shooting one day. Our tyres got jammed in the sand, we couldn't get out! That element of adventure and fun never wavered."
What's next for the doting wife and mother of two?
"I'm not someone who's a planner. I know the movie is going to do well and for now, that's what I'm excited about. If I get any offers after then I'd love to consider them. In fact, I'd love to do another movie with Asim only!" laughs Jehan.