Conflicts between two professionals working in the same setting are inevitable. What’s important, however, is how you take them positively, learn from those negative experiences, and move on.
Once the golden era (the 60s & 70s) of the film industry had concluded, Lollywood shrunk into a small industry with the 90s seeing its ultimate demise. Understandably so, actors (and actresses, specifically) had to face stiff competition in order to reach the top slot in that tough era, and hence, the news of confrontations between the two actors was common hearsay in those days.
Some of these rifts took such an uglier than expected turn, that a few of them still manage to breathe in the tabloids and interviews of today. One such incident is “the battle of Reema and Meera.”
The controversy still haunts these two ladies, and ironically, it seems to be a guilty pleasure for one of its participants, Reema, who hardly leaves any platform to keep it alive till today.
Reema’s Physical Assault on Meera
Reema was an established actor by the mid to late 90s and was considered a rather “senior of the lot” when Meera joined the industry through director Aman Mirza’s film, Kaanta. The young lady after the film was quickly gaining the attention of both, the cinegoers and the small filmmaking fraternity of that time.
The nascent success of Meera naturally attracted a lot of rivalries, and the lady was aware of that too.
On one (ill-fated) day, Reema and Meera started arguing on a film set which immediately heated up. According to Reema (in her recent interview to Samina Peerzada and also at various TV shows and showbiz tabloids of that time), it was Meera who started the whole thing and resorted to abuses about her family and particularly, her sister.
As per Reema, it was in this moment that she lost her cool and slapped Meera twice, once on her face and then on her neck. By the time Meera would respond, the people present at the set had already intervened and distanced the two amazons from each other.
The ladies ultimately had a patch up, but they never acted in the same film for a long time. And if and whenever they were cast in the same project, they would give a really hard time to the directors and producers.
Such was the echo of the incident and its aftermath that the famous comedian, Umer Shareef, had it reenacted in one of the episodes of his comedy series, Pardah Na Uthao (Don’t Lift the Veil). The episode starred Iffat Umer (as Meera), Farah Shah (as Reema), and Sangeeta Ji as herself.
The Number One Heroine
The ugly incident gave birth to the even more notorious term “Number One Heroine.”
The pop media, journalists, and even the TV Wallas would often use this term to mock the Lahore based (mostly Punjabi background) heroines by asking questions like “who’s the number one heroine of Lollywood.”
In an industry making less than 50 films a year; most of which were substandard affairs, the question actually had derogatory undertones and was borderline offensive. No one, however, could do anything about it as hardly any outsider took the industry seriously in those days.
Forgive, Forget, For God’s Sake
Decades have passed since the incident, and the 90s’ Lollywood is dead now. The new age cinema is taking its baby steps to stand on its own feet where up until now, there are no fiery debates and arguments on who is number one.
It, however, appears that the two ladies are still stuck in that incident. Reema, as we mentioned earlier, particularly never misses a chance to revisit those ugly memories and blame her co-star for whatever wrongs were done to her ages ago.
In a recent interview, she blamed one of her co-stars (no prizes for guessing who) for poisoning her back in the days. Most recently, the actress gave an interview to Sameena Peerzada, where she has once again recalled the slapping episode, and provided more reasons to the newer generation to mock the old industry’s petty rivalries.
What we want to say on the entire episode is that whatever has happened in the past should be buried there. Exhuming those issues today would only give a negative message to the younger lot and badly tarnish the images of these yesteryear stars in the long run.