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Posted at: Oct 30, 2016, 1:43 AM; last updated: Oct 30, 2016, 1:43 AM (IST)

Small budget, big entry

Actress Rekha Rana talks about her critically acclaimed film Yahan Ameena Bikti Hai, which is set for an India release
Small budget, big entry

Manika Ahuja

It is a movie made with a small budget, but it sure made a grand entry when it got selected as the first ever feature film sent by Cameroon to the Oscar Awards (89th Academy Awards) in the Best Foreign Language Film category, not so long ago. And now, as the film Yahan Ameena Bikti Hai, which ‘won the hearts of the African audience prepares to tee its way to Indian theatres, the protagonist for the film, Rekha Rana, cannot stop gushing how she “never expected it (the project) to garner the sort of response that it did!”

Tentatively slated for an April release next year, the film draws from a real-life incident, which grabbed global attention. “It is based on an unfortunate incident that happened in Hyderabad, where a young girl was sold to a 70-year-old Arab man. The story flows in a play-in-a-film format and juxtaposes real life with the reel,” the Tara actress drops a hint about the film’s plot.

Believe and achieve

Just four films old and earning international accolades and global recognition, the latest addition being the Best Actress Award from Cameroon International Film Festival in 2016. What is it that keeps her going? Rana giggles and gleefully responds, “I have won as many as 18 international awards in the Best Actress category to be precise. If you ask me what keeps me going...well, I’d say it is a combination of my firm belief in myself and the zeal with which I do my work that sail me through.”

Passion for acting

Having fine-tuned her acting skills with a course in New York Film Academy, not so long ago, Rana, shares that one thing she credits the most for boosting her confidence and polishing her finesse, “No prizes for guessing, I am talking about theatre! It taught me the art of facing a live audience and helped me emote in front of the camera, better.”

Ask her to name one of her plays, that is close to her heart, and fetched her great appreciation, and pat comes the reply, “Jis Lahore Nahin Dekhya. It is a play in Urdu and Punjabi. Set in the backdrop of Indo-Pak Partition, the play weaves the story of a Punjabi girl and a Pakistani boy. It was very well-received.”

Absorb the message

Coming over to the sort of response she anticipates for her film (Ameena...) from film buffs back home, “I hope our film succeeds in leaving an impression on the minds of the cine-goers back here in India, just like it did overseas, which will happen if the audience understands the depth of the subject and absorb the good message that it seeks to disseminate. After all, though we collaborated with an African production house MD4 for this project; the concept is very Indian in its essence.”

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