“You will see a new Meera emerge from this mess,” she said two years ago (Images on Sunday, Jan 24, 2010) when interviewed while dealing with the messy situation of a ‘fake’ marriage and its associated press.
After taking a two-year break from films, a new and reformed Meera is back with aggression as her weapon and defensiveness as her tool.
Today’s Meera appears a lot more composed and in control than vulnerable and it’s with authority that she dictates the headline, “My relationship with this film industry is over.”
“It took me time to realise what people around me are like but I’ve done a lot of growing up in the past two years,” she spoke exclusively to Images on Sunday while stopping over in Karachi between Dhaka and Lahore. She’s spent the better part of these two years in America.
“I emotionally, mentally and physically live in another world. It’s the world of cinema. I romance characters and live in character. I now realise that that is not real life. I have come out of that bubble and I don’t want to work in this industry anymore,” she concludes with a dramatic air of finality.
Meera appears to be very clear about what she wants and what she doesn’t. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and Chicken Caesar salad for lunch and no jokes about her English on the side, please. The new Meera doesn’t want to be flippant and as we know, everything about her is what she wants it to be rather than what it really is.
Right now all she wants to do is work and make up for lost time. She knows she has been out of the picture for too long and she wants to make a strong comeback. She has dived straight into her own project, her first feature film, for which she has been doing extensive groundwork in Los Angeles, Bangladesh and India.
“My film will be technically brilliant,” she claims, without letting on much about the story, which has been conceptualised with the assistance of professional writers.
Meera is producing it herself and is open to the idea of bringing a well-reputed director on board to ensure a flawless production. Nothing is confirmed except she knows she wants Ali Zafar, Shaan, Rekha and Raj Babbar in the cast.
“Ali Zafar is having date overlaps as he’s shooting for David (Dhavan) these days so I may have to find a replacement but Shaan has confirmed. I’ll take three months to complete this film,” she says with determination, “and only then will I be able to move on.”
But she has moved on, I ask her with reference to her recently announced engagement.
“Naveed is a family friend,” she dismisses casually. “He’s 32, as young as me and fun to be with. But what you hear is just a verbal understanding between families. Nothing is formal yet and even when it does get formal, I plan on staying engaged until I am ready to get married.”
People are already drawing comparisons between her and Reema regarding marriage, I bring up. It’s almost as if she is following in the latter’s footsteps.
“Why do you all have to compare us constantly,” she counters quite belligerently. “Why do you say I follow her? She’ll always be my rival but I don’t even relate to her as an actress. We both belong to the same industry, that’s all. Reema’s a cheating sort of person. We (Meera and Resham) did a guest appearance in Love Mein Ghum and she took money on our behalf. It was a sponsored video but she didn’t pay us. She is dishonest and I’m sick of being compared to her!”
“I wanted to marry Saud eight years ago,” she continues. “We liked each other but my mother and Sangeeta baji didn’t want me to get married as my career was doing so well. I was supporting my entire family and they didn’t want that to stop. Shoaib Akhtar and I really liked each other two years ago and he proposed to me. Sadly he also proposed to my cousin at the same time, which showed me that he wasn’t a very balanced person. I would have loved to marry him had he been stable. It would have been perfect, both of us being celebrities. I was also offered Rs5 crores twice to appear on Bigg Boss with Shoaib. But I refused and so did he. I can’t be in a house with B-grade people.
“I’ve agreed to marry Naveed because he’s from an educated family and this is what my family wants, not because Reema has gotten married.”
Meera wants people to believe that marriage is the last thing on her list of priorities these days. Her life is all about making this film, writing a column, starting her own fashion label, learning how to fly planes (which is where her betrothed—an airline pilot comes in helpful) and above all, earning the audience’s respect as an actor of good repute.
Veena Malik is no match. Meera has a very strong opinion on Veena Malik and scoffs at the suggestion of being threatened by Veena’s new found popularity in India.
“What will Veena be remembered for?” Meera curls up her well-defined lips in a disapproving sneer as she asks. “It’s very easy to take off one’s clothes, anyone can get 10 seconds of fame by taking off their clothes. I have a better figure than Veena and Kumar Turani (Tips) offered me an item number before he offered it to Veena but I had date issues and couldn’t do it. I am Meera and will be remembered as Meera, and Meera will be remembered for being an actress in the league of Vidya Balan, Madhuri Dixit, Rekha and Shamim Ara ji.”
Initially mentioning Babra Sharif in this list she quickly contradicts herself.
“Babra Sharif has done some good work but then what has she done in the past 20 years? She made money off the industry and then disappeared without contributing to it. Look at Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and even Dilip Kumar. They have devoted themselves to films. I heard Babra objected to my receiving the Pride of Performance award (announced in August 2011) but I ask her what she has done to deserve it? At least I will leave a legacy.”
Meera’s first film will determine whether that legacy is rooted in the career of a struggling actress or an accomplished filmmaker.
If a film’s success lies in three things: entertainment, entertainment and entertainment (according to Silk in The Dirty Picture) then there is hope that Meera will succeed. She has talent, no doubt, but that talent is all too often lacquered by a complicated veneer of controversy and scandal. There’s some strange sort of reassurance in the fact that while times do change, Meera never will, try as much as she may.