She pursued her dream in television and films despite her conservative family that had a hostile attitude towards her showbiz aspirations from day one. Bindya, the bold and beautiful artiste ruled the roost throughout the 1980s and well into the ’90s. Today, she is back in Pakistan with a bang after a long hiatus of some 14 years.
She left showbiz at the height of her career, disappearing mysteriously and not being initially missed. But as time wore on, questions were raised of her whereabouts and as all things come to pass, her memory too got lost in the annals of time. “As they say ‘I have been to London to see the queen and frightened a little mouse under the chair’! I had gone for a music show to the US, and since my son Jahanzeb was already studying there, I felt that he needed me so I stayed on. It doesn’t seem like 14 years have passed, rather it seems like I had been there just for just 14 days. Now I am back in Pakistan and ready for action,” said Bindiya when approached by Images on Sunday.
Q. So what made you make a comeback?
A. To tell you the truth, I had erased that part of my life from memory and broken off all contacts with the showbiz folk simply because I felt if I stayed in touch I would miss the limelight, my fans and the adulation. I was busy taking care of my son and working for US immigration as a translator in four languages — Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi and English. Then my son convinced me to pursue my real passion and sent me packing back to Pakistan. Eights months before coming here I decided to check out the media scene in Pakistan. I randomly called up TV stations as I wanted to make a comeback through PTV. The Lahore station got me in touch with Tariq Mairaj who came highly recommended. I called him up and he offered me his serial Sitarey and the role of a lifetime. Before saying yes, I requested him to send me the script. While going through the script I suddenly realised that I was going to Pakistan to do the play.
What is your role in Sitarey?
Sitarey is a 13-episode serial which will run on PTV towards the end of October. Mine is the lead role of an authoritative woman who runs a business empire. There are shades of grey in my character. The role is so good that I promise all my pervious work in TV, films and theatre will surpass it. The rest obviously lies with the viewers and the media feedback.
During your recent interview in the Nadia Khan Show some felt that the questions about your personal life put forth by the host were in somewhat bad taste. What do you think?
People have the right to say whatever they deem right, but I think Nadia has her own style and it takes a lot of guts and confidence to host a live show. Before the show, I had told her to go ahead and ask anything she wanted to. People assume that she is arrogant but I would say she is bold enough to ask personal or controversial questions, and I am bold enough to answer them.
My first husband was a pilot and no, he was not from Iran but from Jordan. For a while we stayed in touch through a common acquaintance then we simply lost touch. I kept getting news about him. One day I heard that he was killed in a plane crash and I bid goodbye to his memory. Suddenly, after 16 years I started getting letters from him and then one day he arrived at my doorstep with his new wife and kids whereas I had waited for him and never remarried. Seeing him with his new family left me totally speechless.
Then in the US, my son got me married to someone as he felt that that person would make me happy. But we parted ways after one-and-half years. If we cannot get along with each other doesn’t mean that we are bad people. He did not like me taking care of my son even though he has a daughter from his first marriage. It is not that we do not respect each other. As of now who knows, I may get married again if I find Mr Right.
Are you surprised that people still remember you after so many years?
I always thought ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as I left the field on my own terms and came back on my own. By God’s grace, I consider myself very lucky. I can see that people still love me. I guess as an actor I did do some good work.
Is Bindiya the person really that controversial, bold and bindaas and does this image effect her as a person?
I am honest, open-minded and I do not pigeon hole myself in my gender. I see myself as a person who is a multi-tasker and has many facets to her personality. Yes, I am bold but not in the way that I don’t care what people say. I don’t know when the image of being bindaas stuck to me.
My family was very conservative but my parents were open-minded to a certain extent. But not enough to allow me to be in showbiz. I was alone and rumours constantly kept popping up… it was very painful. Whatever I am today is because of my mother who supported me and my hard work. I have lived my life as a caring mother. I don’t care about gossip anymore. It’s like running water that just keeps on flowing.
After so many years what has changed in media in Pakistan?
I see an obvious change in the scenario but the fact is that I was called to work, I just did not land up like that. I am thankful to the whole team of Sitarey as it was a pleasure working with them. As for changes, there is no rehearsal or footwork. I call the productions of today bhagum daur productions as they are quick and fast. I have tried to gel in and just go with the flow.
What does the future hold for the long-missed and talented Bindiya?
I am waiting to see the feedback once the serial goes on air. Also after a good role, I am looking for more good stuff to come my way. As of now, I would love to work in television or films, even if the industry has gone to the dogs and there is one film made in 10 years. I also want to do my own productions and direct, but that will take time. I am on the road to launching myself again, but working as an actor for the time being. I am here to stay as long as people give me work and their love.