PR maven and former supermodel Frieha Altaf has been on an acting spree.
After her turn in the comedy play Rosie alongside Moin Akhtar in the '80s, Altaf recently returned to acting with a cameo in Lahore Se Aagey and a supporting role in Javed Sheikh’s Wajood. She's just recently shot another guest appearance in Saqib Malik’s upcoming Meera-starrer Baji and now, has landed a role in Asim Raza’s romance film Parey Hut Love.
This time around, Frieha will be sharing space with her daughter Parisheh James, who’s decided to try her luck at acting alongside her mother.
Exploring the young generation's commitment phobia, Parey Hut Love (PHL) features an extensive star cast comprising of producer Sheheryar Munawar, Maya Ali, Mahira Khan, Ahmad Ali Butt, Zara Noor Abbas as well as Meera in a musical track. With the third spell of the film wound up in Bahawalpur, the last leg of shoot is set to begin in Karachi.
Chatting with Images, the mother-daughter duo discussed their experience of working with Raza, the age-old nepotism debate and more.
Images: First of all, tell us a little about how you were approached for your respective roles and what made you take them up?
Frieha Altaf: I was approached for the role of the bride’s mother by Asim, he called me up. When it was offered to her, I didn’t push her to take it because it’s her own decision at the end of the day, but I felt that if she wanted to do a movie in Pakistan, than an Asim Raza movie would be a great opportunity.
I’ve worked with my kids for as long as I can remember. Parisheh was just five years old when she walked the ramp for the first time (for Leisure Club), so she’s been part of the business for long now.
Parisheh James: I got an offer from Sheheryar and Asim when I was in Canada, asking me if I was up to do a role they felt fit me perfectly. I’ve always wanted to work with them and both of them have always seen something in me so I decided it was a great opportunity.
I’ve never considered pursing modeling as a career because it's not something that excites me anymore. I think I’ve also had enough experience in the industry to know it’s not for me.
Images: What has your experience been like working on the film?
Frieha: One of the best things I’ve done this year has to be PHL, besides the social causes I’ve taken up (under the #MeinBhi banner). It’s clearly larger-than-life, it’s grand, the locations are phenomenal, but the best part has to be Asim and his team. We’ve all been like a family, from the makeup boy to the ADs; I’m so looking forward to it. Also it’s extra special because Imran Aslam’s written the script and my last project with him, Rosie was a massive hit.
I’ll be honest with you, it’s been hard for me to schedule my work around the shooting schedules, but once we started shooting, it was so much fun, I realised I wanted to do more of it. It’s great to go back, and I took that conscious decision (of going back), not only to acting but theatre, painting and sculpturing.
Parisheh: Working with Asim has been the best experience I’ve had. I’ve known him since I was a child. His daughter (Marium) and I are good friends. And he really knows how to make you feel comfortable and gives you advice that you could apply to any aspect in your life, not just getting into character or giving the shot he wants.
He makes you feel important and believes in all his actors that they can perform their best. Working with this cast is also amazing. You learn from each and every person; everyone in the cast has their own distinct personalities and you form this bond with them apart from work, it’s the best.
Images: Parisheh, do you plan on pursuing an acting career in Pakistan?
Parisheh: I am actually open to anything these days. I am the type of person who wants a taste of everything. But for now, I will be going back to Toronto to finish off university, which I’ve paused for the film I’m shooting now. But let’s see where life takes me.
Images: The nepotism debate has been ongoing for a while. Frieha, do you think Parisheh’s got an advantage because you're an industry veteran?
Frieha: Of course, we’ve seen it in Bollywood, from Alia Bhatt to Abhishek Bachchan, it makes it much easier. But that’s what work and life is, if a friend of mine wants her daughter to intern with me, she’ll ask me, it’s always about your network.
At the end of the day, you won’t survive if you’re not talented. If you don’t work hard, if you don’t get your dancing skills together, your scripts, you won’t make it. Also I’ve never pressured my kids into anything, Parisheh had her stint as a model and didn’t enjoy it anymore, and that’s fine. I never interfere, but I’m glad she’s enjoyed this and thank God for Asim.
Parisheh: If it wasn’t for my mother, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing or be where I am. I think life is always about making connections and helping each other out to get where you want to be. I feel it’s also about continuing your family’s legacy and keeping that name. So for me it’s a way of celebrating not only my achievements but my mothers’ as well.