Armeena rana Khan is a delicate beauty who possesses purpose and intelligence in equal measure. One of the most bankable actresses in the country, there is no role she can’t tackle. A dream face for gorgeous shoots in ethereal gowns, she brings her trademark luminosity to all her endeavors. Armeena spoke to Afshan Shafi about upcoming movies, Disney Princesses and more!
What was filming for Yalghaar like?
It’s been a long process. Yalghaar is the second film that I signed after Bin Roye. Janaan is my third. Hassan Rana, known as Doc, shot some of my scenes back in 2014, some in 2015 and the rest in 2016. It’s been a steep learning curve. The film is full of macho men and, hence, the sets were testosterone filled, so you can imagine what it must’ve been like, the jokes, the stunts and all. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience. ALSO, don’t underestimate the Yalghaar girls, we’ve held our own as wives, girlfriends, journalists and doctors in the film! I am glad that we are finally going to share this masterpiece with the world.
What drew you to your character in Yalghaar ? What elements of the script attracted you the most?
My first ever Nishat campaign was hitting the scene. Bilal Ashraf saw the billboards and contacted me. We met and he explained the character to me, I saw the story boards and I knew I wanted to do the role. Jero is confident, loud and feisty; she is a no nonsense kind of a girl and yet is fiercely loyal to those whom she loves. I love the fact that my character brings a lot of glamour to the film. You’ll see me in this film like you’ve never seen me before. This character is a far cry from the damsel in distress, scared Haya of Rasm-E-Duniya (my TV play that runs every Thursday at 8 p.m. on ARY). I am confident that Jero will draw in the crowds especially because of the way Hassan Rana has captured the character on camera.
What was your experience like playing an agent for the film Real Target?
Western cinema is a different ball game altogether. No one is ever late (notice the emphasis here), scripts are given months in advance and training starts almost immediately.
My training started in December because I was in Pakistan shooting for Rasm-E-Duniya. All my co-stars are experts in MMA (mixed martial arts) so the pressure was on with perfectly sculpted bodies and chiseled jaw lines surrounding me, combined with crazy fighting skills. The bar was set high.
I was nervous as this was my first British feature film. I’ve worked in British shorts before but this was different. We will be shooting my fight scenes later this year as I am still under training. You can’t pretend to be a fighter, your punches and kicks have to be convincing. I’ve started with boxing and will move onto other disciplines as my body gets conditioned. My character Agent Wilson is an extremely strong, intelligent woman with mad fighting skills. She is a Canadian/British double agent and my favourite character to-date. The Real Target boasts an international ensemble cast and is slated for release in 2018.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Celebrity crush local/international?
Ryan Gosling, I don’t have a local crush
Puppies or Kittens?
Biggest pet peeve?
The inability to admit fault and say “I am sorry.” That to me is a weak person and I have no time for such people. I can’t stand chauvinism either
Things you can’t live without?
Sunscreen and water
Who’s your favorite Disney Princess?
Belle and Ariel
Craziest fan story?
I have a bunch of sweet little kids following me on Instagram and they call themselves the “Armeenian family” and “inna boys, inna girls” which is extremely sweet and humbling. I am grateful for them
What quote do you (try to) live by?
Go down the road less traveled. I guarantee you an adventure if you do this
Last song that was stuck in your head? Starboy by The Weeknd
What’s your favorite emoji? The poop
What has been your must fun experience with a co-star during one of your recent projects?
We were shooting a song for Yalghaar up in the northern areas of Pakistan. This took us to a very remote location where we were completely cut off from the world. We had no internet and the nights were extremely dark. The forests were lush and sometimes a little eerie. We would stay up nights, gather around this big fire in the garden and tell each other scary stories. Needless to say, those kept me up all night as some were actually quite disturbing. I will look back onto this time fondly, playing “Chor, Sipahi” (cops and robbers) with Doc and the team.
What would your alternative career choice be if you weren’t an actor?
I am doing it already. I have my own property business in Manchester and that is my day job. I have a business degree from Manchester and I applied it as soon as I graduated.
What do you think distinguishes Pakistani films from films from other countries?
I am going to answer this question truthfully. I think we are still a long way away from making proper films. Film is a very different medium and it requires a lot of TLC, it’s not something that you can rush. Our films are shot like dramas, the schedules are crazy and budgets are very low. Corners are cut and, hence, quality is compromised. We don’t have our own flavour yet as we are still a fledgling industry, so I don’t expect much at this stage. It will be another 5-10 years before we start seeing actual results as we evolve, change and finally come into our own. It won’t be our generation of actors that will reap the rewards from this one.
On the flip side, I am glad that producers are trying; tremendous effort is going into its revival. But can I please, please request our producers to not go down the route of hiring one or two faces for every film! Fresh new faces have to be introduced, and new genres need to be explored to give way to growth. Otherwise, the industry will stagnate really fast.