It is said that a heroine’s shelf life is short. However harsh this might sound, the fact remains that the entertainment industry anywhere in the world thrives on youth, and this is especially true of the ladies.
There are no takers for an ageing actress, no matter how great she is. This isn’t quite the case with men who are known to set the cash registers ringing even when they hit their fifties — think Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt or George Clooney or, closer to home, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan. But an actress past her prime isn’t considered worth putting your money on, unless her film is padded with a young woman and/or a male superstar.
The all-consuming sense of insecurity that follows the realisation that the old must give way to the new (read ‘young’), has provided context to many successful cinematic ventures around the world, be it Hollywood’s ‘All About Eve’ (1950) and ‘The Star’ (1952), or Bollywood’s ‘Dirty Picture’ (2011). And, now a small (in terms of budget mainly) Pakistani film adaptation, titled ‘Baaji’, is ready to roll out.
Directed by celebrated ad filmmaker Saqib Malik, ‘Baaji’ has yesteryear’s star Meera playing a fading actress who is now referred to as Baaji (Urdu for ‘older sister’), and whose existence is threatened by a young and scheming aspirant who shows up at her door in the guise of a fan (played by model Amna Ilyas). Osman Khalid Butt is cast as a film director and Baaji’s former beau, who becomes enchanted with the fresh entrant.
It’s a women-centric film through and through, with Meera and Ilyas at the heart of all action. For Meera, the film holds a special significance, as she has reached a stage in her career where she can understand the dynamics and motivations of the character she’s playing even better.
‘Baaji’ is slated for a late June release. Its lead cast has already started to participate in promotional activities with full gusto. The film’s trailer launch last week turned out to be quite a starry affair, and later the trio (Meera, Ilyas and Butt) were seen making appearances on different TV shows.