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Sajal Aly is “honoured” for her role in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”

LONDON: Leading Pakistani actor Sajal Aly said she felt “honoured and privileged” to represent Pakistan on an international level with her first international film, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

The Pakistani diva spoke to Geo News for the first time at the UK premiere of her film, which was made by Jemima Khan and took place at the Odeon Luxe theatre in Leicester Square.

Jemima walked the red carpet with the rest of the movie’s stars, including Sajal, Lily James, Emma Thompson, and the director, Shekhar Kapur.

Probably for the first time ever, posters of Pakistani actor are all over London. In her posters, Sajal shines from the ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ billboards that have been put up in a lot of places, like the London subway and in every movie theatre.

As Aly walked the red carpet, did interviews with the press, and talked to guests, she was the centre of attention.

The cast of “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” poses at the UK premiere of the movie. — Picture by the author
The cast of ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ poses at the UK premiere of the film. — Picture by the author
“It’s a matter of honour for me to be in the film directed by Shekhar Kapur. Seeing Shabana Azmi on the same screen is like a dream come true. Whenever you are on such a platform, your country is with you and no doubt you are under pressure. I am privileged to be here and representing Pakistan,” she said.

Aly admitted that the high expectations put on her scared and worried her, but she was so happy that she met them.

She said, “I’m afraid of what people will think of me. Too much is going on. People expect a lot from me, so I’m always careful and thoughtful when I work on a project.

The Pakistani star said that working on Jemima’s movie was a great experience, and she also said that everyone who worked on the movie made her feel welcome and at home in London.

“I was scared to come here, but I feel like I belong here now. Everyone here has made me feel at home.”

Aly said that Jemima’s movie about arranged marriages was “beautiful.” She also said, “This is the first time in the West that a colourful Pakistan has been shown in this way.”

Emma Thompson (left), Shazad Latif, and Lily Collins were all in a picture with Sajal Aly (right). — Picture by the author
Emma Thompson (left), Shazad Latif, and Lily Collins were all in a picture with Sajal Aly (right). — Picture by the author
The main character of the movie is a filmmaker named Zoe, who is played by actress James. She is trying to figure out how to date in the modern world, while her neighbour and childhood friend Kazim (Shazad Latif) is trying to get an arranged marriage with a bride from Pakistan named Aly. Shazad and Sajal decide to go their separate ways and do their own things, so the arranged marriage doesn’t work out.

Aly said this about her role: “At the end of it all, it’s important that the bride, Sajal, is happy. She has graduated from law school. She’s glad to have finished school, and her parents are happy with the decisions she made. At the end of the movie, her life is over. It’s fine to get married if you find the right person, but it’s also fine if your marriage doesn’t work out. I’m proud to have played this part.”

Earlier, Jemima told Geo News how she cast super-talented Pakistani actress Aly in a starring role in the film. Jemima was looking for a perfect match for English actress James—”someone as beautiful, as good an actor, as lively, and as nuanced as James.”

She didn’t know if there was a talent agency in Pakistan, so she called Yousuf Salahuddin, who was friends with her ex-husband. Jemima called the Lahori man the “unofficial king of culture in Pakistan.” She said she told Yousuf Salli what she wanted in a Pakistani actress in terms of age, personality, and looks, and Yousuf Salahuddin told her right away that Aly would do the role justice.

“He sent me a video and gave me the contact information for Sajal Aly’s manager. After that, she tried out for the role, and everyone thought she was perfect for it. So it was Yousuf who was the casting agent,” shared Jemima.