Pakistani model turned actress Sabeeka Imam is all about making her marks through her credentials.
“For an actor, recognition and acceptance mean a lot. When a critic points out that I was ‘well-casted’ in a film, it translates as the fact that my acting had no appeal,” she says.
Sabeeka further added, “Artists are very shy creatures. They are loud around only those they trust. Being stereotyped is the last thing I’d want to be.”
The model has become one of the most known faces in the glittering modeling industry. With that, she has film appearances to her credit in both Bollywood and the UK.
But her Bollywood debut was branded as exactly what she always distanced herself from.
The Bollywood film ‘Queen’ also brought Sabeeka to the forefront in an avatar few actors of Pakistani origin would dare take up for an Indian movie. “I always wanted to act in a film that had Kangana Ranaut playing the leading lady in any capacity,” she says.
Initially, the role of a Middle Eastern belly dancer was what she was roped in for, which soon took the shape of a pole dancer who had migrated to Europe from Pakistan.
“I have been greatly criticised for that role. I must clarify that I had signed up as a belly dancer. My audition was great because I had trained as a dancer when I was young.”
“It was a bold step. It made me uncomfortable on many grounds. I was scared of the reaction, plus, I had never done anything like that on screen before. But had I not done that, what else was there for me?” she added.“It was something different from what I had done. I have only seen a role like this twice in films. I was not comfortable but it was a character … it was no bimbo role.”
“I have seen how Muslim girls beg, plead and cry for roles in Bollywood films. They are exploited to a great extent.”
Sabeeka now plans to work more for Pakistan and said, “ “In India, they don’t generally let a Muslim get to the top. My life somehow belongs in Pakistan. I will do more movies here.”