Saleem Meraj has had quite a year. From the sinister, surprise performance in “Laal Kabootar” to his slapstick character in “Talash”, the actor is on a roll. He has starred in four films in 2019 that also include “Kataksha”, and “Heer Maan Ja”. Not only has he gained critical acclaim through these roles, but commercial success as well. All through this, he has been humble however. When we spoke to him regarding his own future and the future of the film industry itself, he always came across as grounded and calm.
The Year of Saleem Meraj
Of the films he has starred in this year, he has quite obviously loved doing “Laal Kabootar” the most. We had barely finished asking him this question when he blurted out
“Laal Kabootar was my favorite character without a doubt.”, as if it has become a reflex action. He reveres how well the character was written so that even with a limited screen presence, it left an indelible mark. This is not to say he didn’t enjoy working in “Kataksha”, “Heer Maan Ja”, or “Talash”, however. All the films he worked in were important to him.
2020 Will Bring More Saleem Meraj to the Masses
He’s still maintaining a full plate for next year as he has Mohammed Ehteshammudin’s “Dum Mastam”, Abdull Khaaliq Khan’s “Lafangay”and Taimur Sherazi’s Dhai Chaal. “Lafangay” has already been shot completely and “Dum Mastam” is currently filming in Lahore.
Another film that Mr. Meraj will be seen in next year is “Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad”. This is one of the two offerings from Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza, the other being “Fat Man”, that are set to release in 2020. His role in “Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad” is not known yet, but the word is it will be one very important to the core of the story.
Saleem Meraj may also be seen in other films in 2020 which either haven’t been announced or are in the pre-production stages. Since he’s known for playing versatile characters across genres, anything’s possible.
Saleem Meraj’s Hope for Cinema in Pakistan
As for the future of the film industry, Saleem Meraj believes in competition. He thinks that even though the ban on Bollywood films has given Pakistani cinema more room to grow next year, it can only truly evolve when it can compete with the best offerings from across the border.
He also feels that the film industry in Pakistan has a long way to go before it can mature.
“Until we manage to release a new film every week, we won’t be able to quench the thirst of the box office beast.”
“First, filmmakers need to churn out enough movies so that the box office can mint money week after week. Second, most of those offerings have to be money makers so that the yearly box office can grow”.
That being said, he’s hopeful about 2020. With films like “London Nahi Jaunga”, “The Legend of Maula Jatt”, “Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad”, and “Money Back Guarantee” coming out, he hopes that Pakistani cinema will grow leaps and bounds.