Shah Rukh Khan has fans all over the world. But what sets Pakistani filmmaker Iram Parveen Bilal apart is that she not only penned a script exclusively for her favourite Bollywood star but also made sure he reads it! Iram, who had earlier made several short films and documentaries, is in the city for the screening of her hard-hitting film Josh. Incidentally a decade ago, SRK too had been a part of a Hindi film of the same title.
She says, “I’m a huge Shah Rukh fan. Even my production house is named Parveen Shah where the first name stands for my mom and the second for you-can-guess-who. Also, Josh might be my debut full-length film but my first ever script was written four years ago and it had a key role for SRK. I even met him to give him a copy of my script. I hope he agrees to the desi-American story someday soon.”
Coming from an engineering background, Iram is thrilled to helm the only Pakistani fiction entry at Mumbai Film Festival this year. Although she admits that it’s difficult being a woman filmmaker in a predominantly ‘man’s world’, she has her share of consolations too.
“Josh takes a stand against some of the gender-related issues Pakistan is facing nowadays but ironically, people meet a female filmmaker with a preconceived notion. On the brighter side, there are probably more well-known women directors in Pakistan than in India as of now. So it balances out pretty well in the end,” the LA-based filmmaker sums up.
Iram is a regular visitor to India and particularly to the city. “I can travel across Mumbai without a guide. You won’t believe but I’ve travelled in local trains — on my own in second class during rush hour!”