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HiPakistan ShowBiz

Ayesha Javed Akram
Indulges in decadent silk fantasies as
She tries to unravel the mystery that is Resham

Mention the word 'Resham' and one experiences the tactile sensation of touching silk, the soft and smooth; utterly sensual feeling of coming in contact with the luxuriously wicked natural fiber. In a conversation with Lollywood star Resham one experiences the same sensation; Resham of the slit eyes and gypsy long hair, is so enchantingly unaffected and imbued with zesty spirit of life that a single meeting makes you feel as if you have been touched by her. She has no time for fake pretences. She is to busy embracing the joie de vivre of simply living and brings to mind the irresistible comparison between the person and the fabric both so pure, so coveted, so luxurious. Except that Resham the person is smoother and softer.

Naturally slim and wren like, Resham comes off as a street-smart ingenue, albeit one with little inhibition and an unquantifiable supply of nerves. And curiously there is a contradictory response too. In the world of cinema where sex sells, Resham - slim, svelte, and sultry - is desire incarnate. And this aspect of her personality shines through regardless of the many societal restrictions. When she strode into Depilex wearing a trendy Nike track suit, hair piled up in a messy bun, the salon was a busy hub, and yet, the stylists put down their brushes, left the brides they were tending to and strolled forward to meet her; smiling effusively and air kissing with abandon. This was a star and one couldn't help but look at her and utter an involuntary "wow!"

Congenial Bubloo, a make-up artist at Depilex, declared fervently: "She has the perfect bone structure and hence, all her profiles are brilliant. Resham is a make-up artist's dream face. With her, you just cannot go wrong." It figures then that in real life too, even without pancake and makeup, she draws appreciative looks.

Quicksilver as ever she does something unthinkable - planking herself down Mussarat Misbah's sofa, she discards her purse, opens an evil-looking green and white box and pulls out a club sandwich - with all the toppings - and greedily starts digging into it. The sandwich has been filled to the brim with mayo, eggs, chicken, cheese and has three whopper layers. Add to it a pile of greasy fries, creamy coleslaw on the side and she still dares to wash it all down with a regular Pepsi. And yes, she remains a tiny size 8.

There must have been a 1000 calories in this one meal alone and she did not even bother to look guilty. After being exposed to a meal a day diet, starve and exercise regimes and kill-your-appetite-with-fruit mantras, Resham's attitude was excessively refreshing - and confusingly bothersome.

We are not sure what's worse, hating someone because they have the figure you can never have but having the consolation that they have probably never sunk their teeth into a Mc. Chicken or loving someone for pigging out like you do but then hating them for never gaining an inch.
How does she do it? With all night rehearsals and a schedule that never allows her to go to bed before 10 in the morning, she does not go through any exercise regime worth mentioning these days. Yet her tummy stays as flat as ever. Get involved in a conversation with her and one finds the answer. As anyone who knows Resham will laughingly tell you, she just talks her calories away.

Today she is very sociable. Fast food meal complete, she jumps up and walks onto the salon floor. She hugs Meera and starts talking about an Eid show the two did together. She picks up Zareen Khalid's daughter and discusses mama's dressing room routine. Only they does she settle down to the interview which flows without interruptions - she gives you all the answers without needing the questions.

When she first appeared in films, it wasn't just the young men who took to her - it was also the aunties and uncles, the mamas and papas; after Neeli, she was the first one to enter the realm of the 'family actress'.

On-screen she was the blazing-eyed, raven haired (those were peroxide hair days) damsel who could strut her stuff like a true star. Yet, there was a scared look in her eyes, a strange innocence that touched the older generation even as the younger lot longed to be her. Over the years she has lost some of her initial bubbly innocence but has retained enough vulnerability to maintain her family appeal. There is a complete lack of coarseness in Resham's features. Nothing florid, nothing too macabre. Her eyes can flash and beguile but overall the features are finely chiseled. Maybe this is why she has also been spared the usual allegations of vulgar conduct.

That is not to say Resham is not controversial. Anyone who speaks her mind as she does is bound to spark controversies. I would even venture to put her in the league of the late Madame Noor Jehan, who she spent lot of time with and learnt quite a few important lessons from, the most vital one being: How to Drop a Bombshell.
During this interview, as I watched her play with a young child, I couldn't help asking the billion-dollar question about marriage.

"I'm looking forward to it," she replied.
'Anyone in the film industry?"
"Why not?"
"Nearly all the met are already married."
"Just who are you referring to?"
"Shaan - he is such a pretty boy and has got such a pretty personality that if he had ever proposed, I would have instantly said 'Yes'."
Bombshell numbers one.
"And so are you going to wait for Shaan to divorce his wife and come to you?"
She smiles, "No, now that he's married he is out of my book. There is this Pakistani designer in Paris who has proposed to me a couple of times and I really like him, but he is also married."
Can anybody take a guess who she could be referring to?
Behind that wide-eyed smile, Resham has always had a hard time and this has been the case ever since she entered the film industry. When 'Jeeva' became a super hit, the Resham-Babar pair was the talk of the town. Audiences started looking forward to seeing more of the longhaired man with this svelte maiden, but Babar Ali chose this very moment to change partners. The Babar Reema pairing was signed up for many subsequent films but they were never quite able to create the sparks Resham and Babar made in "Jeeva'. Thus, Babar's decision ended up hurting him along with Reema and Resham.

But that is not to say that Resham has made no wrong career moves on her own. For reasons no one could understand, Resham rejected 'Khilona' - the film that went on to launch Meera's career. Resham tried to down play Meera's success by telling all who'd listen how 'Khilona' had been offered to her first but the damage had been done. 'Khilona' became a huge box office hit and Meera was declared a star.
Then when it was more or less certain that she would act in the star studded 'Dewane Tere Pyar Kay', she went ahead and got embroiled in a fight with Syed Noor, the hottest director around. He kicked her off the set and Resham let another blockbuster slip right out of her well-manicured hands.

In those early days, despite all these mistakes, she was still doing fine. "Jeeva', Duputta Jal Raha Hai' and "Koriyon Ko Dalay Daana' (the film that exposed a new side of Resham in more ways than one) were enough to keep her in the front row of our premier actresses. It is however now, that things have started to slide - now that Resham needs all the good offers she can get and it is now that producers have so many good choices that they don't want to deal with her tantrums any more.

As producer Tanveer Fatima Rahman explains, "After the trouble she gave us in Guns and Roses, I don't think I'd ever like to work with her again. The work started off really well but then Resham developed some problems with Shaan and to date I don't know what they were. All she ever told me was that Shaan didn't take care of her and I'm at a loss to understand what she meant by this. She completely refused to work with Shaan any longer and we had to cut so many scenes short because of her. It wasn't just us that she caused problems for - ask any Director be is Samina Peerzada or Sangeeta and they will all tell you that Resham is as unpredictable as… I don't know - I don't think anyone else can be compared to her."

But through all this, Resham remains as nonchalant as ever.

"It is true that I was expecting a lot from 'Pal Do Pal' and even though the film was a flop, the music did even better than we thought it would. On the other hand, 'Jannat Ki Talaash' did brilliantly and I personally feel it was one of the strongest films to have been released last year. These things happen - I have lots of hopes from Ssshazad Rafique's upcoming film 'Rukhsuti' but if it doesn't do well tomorrow, that hardly means my career as an actress will be over. Look at the bright side - at the National awards this year, I was given a special award for being the only actress in history to ever have two nominations."
It is obvious that petty film affairs which, hold so much importance for other actresses hardly matter to this silken damsel. This perhaps can be attributed to a soul-wracking experience she went through last year. The experience drained her emotionally and made her take a closer look at who she was because she came closer to death than she'd like to accept.

"I was shooting in Nepal when I became infected with this rare virus. At the start I ignored it but when the chest congestion became very sever, I went to a specialist there. He was very straightforward about the fact that the virus had done more damage than he could control and there was nothing he could do. A couple of other specialists said the same. Distraught, I rushed back home. Here my friends forced me to go to another doctor and miraculously, his prescriptions started to work. I was back on the sets within a month and it is as if I have been given another chance to live."

A new lease on life seems to have changed her. Demonstrating a professional attitude whilst retaining her zest for life, Resham today wishes to enjoy life to the fullest. On the evidence of her work of late and this meeting with her one cannot see how she can help but do well. And we all look forward to the Second Coming of Resham.

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