Good role is icing on the Cake



SHE may have started off as a successful super model, but Aamina Sheikh has carved out a thriv­ing acting career in Pakistan with a long list of acclaimed performances.

The America-born actress returns to the big screen in this month’s most high-profile Pakistani film Cake, starring alongside Sanam Saeed in the family drama of secrets, lies and harsh truths.

Eastern Eye caught up with Aamina to find out more about the film and her future plans.

Aamina Sheikh with Asjad Nazir

What attracted you to Cake?

The script. It was a page-turner. Its brevity yet nu­anced approach in the plot building and character reveal was incredibly luring. The layers given to the various characters and the margin for each actor to perform was tremendous, therefore it was all very appealing to me.

How does the film compare to other projects you have done?

It doesn’t. The process is integral for us to get to the desired results and this process was unique from the start. Our director, Asim [Abbasi], brought with him sensitive sensibilities, which created and en­hanced the layers of the themes in the film and in each of our characters. He led workshops with us in which he provided us the tools along with the free­dom of choice to reach the objectives of the scenes and story. This is an approach that actors in our in­dustry are not used to.

Tell us about the story?

Cake is a story about the choices and stances we take as individuals, and as families, that determine the fate of how lives unfold. It’s about coming face to face with the outcome of these choices and then once again being faced with a choice on how to proceed in life. Entanglement versus liberation from the nuances of familial relationships is what Cake is all about.

Aamina Sheikh with co-star Sanam Saeed in a scene from Cake

What was the biggest challenge of playing this role?

The biggest challenge was to stay true to the back­story that the plot refers to and which we had care­fully created in our workshops and rehearsals. In all the scenes, one had to keep going back there to emote authentically in the present.

Which is your favourite moment in the movie?

There is a 10-minute, one-take scene in the film. We rehearsed for it for days on end and shot it over three nights. Although it was the most challenging, tedious and exhausting part of the shooting process, I have a feeling that it will be the most profound part of the film-watching experience.

Who are you hoping will connect with the film?

This film cuts across all age groups and social stra­tas simply because it is centred on our very founda­tion of family dynamics. Family being the nucleus of an individual’s experience in the world makes the film palatable for all.

What kind of films do you enjoy watching?

I really enjoy a good comedy that has me in laugh­ing fits. Intelligent wit is my cup of tea any time.

Who is your acting hero?

Cate Blanchett. Her versatility and integrity as an actor is legendary. I take great inspiration from the choices she makes while emoting and delivering dialogue. She has an incredible command on her vocals and uses it to such an impact that it floors me every time. dialogue. She has an incredible command on her

What can we expect next from you?

One never really knows what opportunity lies around the corner, but one can at least hope that the next endeavour will be a new kind of challenge that presents our global audience with another mean­ingful treat.

What would be your dream role?

There is so much yet to explore. An action figure, a defying politician, an empress, a belly-aching co­medic venture, a fantasy role and a character in a children’s movie. There is so much out there that could be made a dream.

What inspires you?

Selfless love and small acts of kindness move me. Seeing individuals overcome insurmountable ob­stacles inspires me. Observing others living in com­plete gratitude despite their difficulties inspires me, and nature in all its different states moves me.

Finally, why should we watch Cake?

It’s only my opinion, but I believe that Cake will be monumental in shaping the trajectory of Pakistani cinema. The craft of the medium has been kept in careful consideration throughout the process, mak­ing it a treat for filmmakers and enthusiasts.

For our audience, the themes of family, relation­ships, love and loss are universal. The way the plot unfolds and the gripping performances are enough to pull at people’s heartstrings. These are reasons enough for all to watch Cake the film.

  • Cake will be in cinemas next Friday (30).