Manchester based actress Armeena Rana-Khan has just returned home from Cannes 2013 film festival where her latest short film, “Writhe” premiered in the Short film category. The film was reviewed favourably with Armeena receiving particular praise for her acting performance in the independent film which was shot in London, United Kingdom.
This was the first time at Cannes for Armeena despite being an established star in South Asia, where she has quietly been establishing herself as a Film and T.V star. Currently she is being watched by millions on television as she stars in the lead role in two hit Drama serials and her first Bollywood film is due to be released this year. Armeena turned down the chance of a telefilm in Dubai so she could fly back and shoot Writhe.
Armeena Said “Although much of my current work is in South Asian projects I was excited to be cast in this film. This is where actors like myself hone, refine and push our craft. It’s a dark and sinister role and very different to most of my other work. It’s refreshing to work in experimental projects where commercial constraints are less of an issue and the imperative is actually the idea and vision””
The films British director Shiraz Ali said ”Cannes is not only about technical achievement but also glamour and showbiz. So we were glad that we could get Armeena to come on board. Her multinational look was perfect for the role and gave the project that extra bit of glitz”.
Discussing the actual shooting Armeena stated that “it was a big challenge for everyone involved because normally this is the domain of established film makers who have been in the business for years or teams that are backed by rich financiers. The current economic climate did not help as funding for independent film makers is scarce. So to produce a film in a relatively short time within a modest budget that met the strict quality criteria for a high profile festival such as Cannes was quite an achievement for all those involved. Of course it helped that the cast and crew are all quite experienced in their fields and we worked hard to ensure no corners were cut. It shows that as long as you are committed and you harness your strengths then it is still possible to produce a financially viable offering for events such as Cannes.”
Commenting on what it was like to mingle with the stars at Cannes, she said “Actually when you are there promoting your own project you end up working quite hard, so I was quite focused on my work. I was learning everything I could and networking. Of course there are the yacht parties and aftershow events that you get invited to but to be honest I missed most of that. However I must admit when Steven Spielberg or Nicole Kidman walk by your attention does get diverted but you just get back to the real reason you are there. I was glad to attend a couple of red carpet premiers including Amit Kumar’s excellent ‘Monsoon Shootout’ where I met fellow actors Vijay Varma and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. But the highlights for me were the amazing selection of shorts that were in competition this year.”
Armeena is a Canadian actress who has made her home in the UK. After graduating with a degree in Business she decided to pursue a career in film. She is the first actress of Pakistani origin to have premiered in a lead short film role at Cannes. She is consistently features in celebrity Polls of the most beautiful South Asian Women. She has had to overcome a number of hurdles in her quest for success including illness, cultural barriers and having to work in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Karachi. She views her work partly as an on-going process in opening doors for females of Asian origin to work in areas where traditionally they would encounter difficulty. Armeena is hoping to return to Cannes next year with another project. Her ambition is to one day win the Palme d’Or at Cannes.