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“If patriarchy is one extreme then matriarchy is another extreme”

With some superb performances to her name, a New York Film Festival Award for her debut film and a charming persona, Aamina Sheikh has won hearts with her work and charisma. After the recent success of Cake, the actress is ready to hit the big screen once again with Faisal Qureshi starrer Sorry: A Love Story.

We caught up with Aamina for a brief chat on her upcoming film, the success of Cake and her commitment to social causes.

Edition: Cake has gone global and has been a great success. What do you think it contributed to the film industry that other films might not have?

Aamina Sheikh: Yes, MashAllah with the grace of God it has gone global. I think the strength of Cake was that it had a universal theme when it comes to the genre that it was, i.e. family drama. The universal theme involved was family, siblings, sibling rivalry and sibling emotions…the idea of globalisation infiltrating in family dynamics…themes that are so universal nowadays.

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Masala Awards UAE acknowledges, celebrates and shines light on talent across the region. I am so humbled to be graced with a 'Best Actress' award for the film 'Cake' – a sincere thank you to the Masala Team and Jury for this wonderful accolade. . . . This goes out to each member of our Cake family @cakethefilmofficial nothing doing without each and every one of them, both in front & behind the camera. . . . @masalauae @lekhamenon31 @sadiqidas @a_abbasi @azmisius @sanammody @adnanmalik1 @beozafar @mohammedahmedsyed @aarij_1 @swearuponcoco @mahnooram @zarmeenali @zoobia_a @umaimamustafaofficial @talkingpointpk . . . #actor #awards #accolade #masalaawards2018 #dubai #bollywood #pakistanicinema #global #worldcinema

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I just attended the screening of Cake held by the Oscar jury and we were there to receive the jury members. I have to tell you that when they came out of the cinema, they had tears in their eyes and the first gentleman I met said, “you know my mother passed away a couple of months ago and this film is too close to home.” And that gentleman was a white American! So that was the strength of this film, that it resonated with everyone and raised the bar. I do feel that perhaps this is the first of its kind from Pakistan which is considered truly as world cinema, just because it goes across ethnicities and addresses some very human themes.

Naturally, expectations for your second film are high after the success of Cake. Does this put you under pressure for Sorry: A Love Story?

The process of Cake was really quite seamless and it kind of spoilt us because we were in very very good hands. But this is natural. Not everything can match your previous inning…our efforts are obviously to do better than our last performance but one should always be grounded and real because highs and lows are part of life. So our efforts will be there and InshAllah let’s see how it goes.

Sorry: A Love Story is the debut film production of Faisal Qureshi, who is a veteran actor…The story itself is very soulful and it affected me when I read it, but each film each project has its own fate, each phase of life brings something else to us as individuals. So I just hope it goes really well. InshAllah we’ll be hitting floors early next year.

Tell us about your social work with PAGE. As a public figure do you feel there is a responsibility on actors to work on social causes?

PAGE stands for Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education and I had the good fortune of being approached by them to be their global ambassador. I think it was at a very apt time in my life, courtesy of where I have come in my career…and becoming a mother and just overall evolving in life, I feel this was very timely. For me, this is not just another project, it is actually about contributing and it is about making an impact in whatever capacity I can. So this opportunity was really God sent for me.

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Glow 💫🌟 . . . . @happymonday

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As far as feeling that all actors need to work on social causes I feel that any individual who has the capacity for impact, and every individual does have a capacity for impact, must take on the responsibility to do so. As human beings, the lessons we learn over life, if we don’t pass them on to our young ones, and if we don’t pass on what we have learnt from our exposure and our education there is a dearth in society…and if you have the capacity to make a difference then you should. So I don’t think just actors but each human mus,t at some point in their life, feel the need to give back.

Speaking of social responsibilities, what is your stance on the #MeToo movement? How can we make workplaces, or our industry, friendlier and safer for women?

We are truly evolving and it’s huge that we have come to this point, but all of this is also happening because we have lived in a patriarchal society for a very very long time and we have to be very very careful not to envision a future of another extreme. If patriarchy is one extreme then matriarchy is another extreme. So we don’t want to visualise any extremes. At the end of the day we do have to live together and there has to be a healthy coexistence between genders.

Unfortunately we do have to take care of whatever has happened as a result of having a patriarchal society, balance things out and move forward. Rightfully so, everyone has a voice and social media is being used as a tool for change. I think we do need to make people accountable for their actions and at the same time what I want to see is some form of harmonious coexistence. Rather than dividing genders we need to bring them together.

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