KARACHI: After being dragged into headlines over an uncalled-for campaign (#BanMawra), Mawra Hocane won the respect of many when she defended herself and called out one of the country’s biggest movie stars for “bashing women”.
Moreover, the young actor has gone on to defend the rather peculiar spelling of her surname, her decision to venture into Bollywood and, of course, that kiss.
It is without a doubt that Mawra has no problem standing up for herself. Why, then, are almost all her characters — in TV serials and movies — such ‘damsels in distress’?
“Shah Rukh Khan still opens his arms in his signature pose; that’s his USP. So why shouldn’t I continue to play characters people praise me for?” says the 23-year-old, who is gearing up for the release of her Bollywood debut Sanam Teri Kasam.
“It’s really hard to churn out the kind of heart-wrenching performances I have delivered in the past. When I cry on screen, people cry with me,” Mawra says.
Her co-star and the male lead in the film, Harshvardhan Rane, has no complaints.
“While I agree with everything Mawra said, I just want to add that bohat kum larkiyan rotay huay itni sundar lagti hain (not every girl looks as beautiful while crying as Mawra does),” he says, rather endearingly, in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune.
The two actors share a terrific chemistry onscreen, as evident in the first look of the film.
“We have worked really hard; so, there’s a bit of satisfaction that at least we have given it our best shot. We were extremely involved in each scene,” Harsh says.
“The feedback we have received for the trailer and songs indicates that the directors (Vinay Sapru and Radhika Rao) have established a connection with the audience. I myself have been a fan of their work even before I signed the film,” he adds.
Vinay and Radhika previously directed Salman Khan-starrer Lucky: No Time For Love, which was released in 2005 and have a number of hit music videos to their credit, such as Kaliyon Ka Chaman, Kaanta Laga, Charhti Jawani and Saheri Babu. The duo also directed the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Kinna Sohna.
Speaking about the music of the film – which has been composed by Himmesh Reshammiya – Mawra disclosed that her favourite song in Kheench Meri Photo. “It’s my DDLJ moment. It reminds me of Zarra Sa Jhoom Loon Mein. I think we are incredibly lucky to have Arijit Singh (of Aashiqui 2 fame), Ankit Tiwari (also of Aashiqui 2 fame) and Palak Muchhal (who has sung the Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and Aashiqui 2 title songs) sing for us,” she says.
Harsh goes on to add that since songs are a big component of Bollywood films, he is glad people are liking their film’s music. “Often times people go watch a movie only because of one song. I have done that myself. If a film’s music impresses the audience, then there is definitely a greater chance of them coming to the theatre to watch it,” he adds.
His favourite song in the film is Tera Chehra — and for a good reason. “I gave my audition on that song, so I absolutely love it. It’s because of that song that I got this film.”
Speaking about the storyline of the film, Mawra says, “It’s a pure, clean love story. People won’t get what they’re expecting; the movie just got a U certificate,” Mawra said, hinting towards her kissing scene in the trailer.
Despite the raised eyebrows she received on that particular scene, the young starlet promises that everyone who watches the movie will fall in love with the story.
“Of course [I received flak for that scene]. Some people thrive on negativity so they would only pick on that. If I took all the criticism to heart, I would have stopped working and then I would have never been able to prove my point: this is a great love story.”
One thing is for sure — there is no dearth of fans who love Mawra and her work. And Harsh, who is also a debutant, is no stranger to the same kind of affection, it seems.
“I have mostly worked in Hyderabad; so, I wasn’t even sure how people in Mumbai would react since this is my first Bollywood film. But I am so glad that people there as well as in Pakistan have shown me a lot of love. I feel blessed. I can only thank each and everyone for their love and support,” he says.
Any chances of seeing him in Pakistan soon? Perhaps, at the film’s premiere in Karachi?. “This is something I can’t decide because it’s the production house’s call. But there are definitely some plans. I have my bag ready. I will catch the next flight as soon as I get that call,” he says.
Mawra, too, is hopeful that her co-star is able to experience the same level of hospitality in Pakistan which was extended to her in India. “I hope all my friends and colleagues in the industry are able to meet him. I want Harsh to receive as much love there as I have received in India.”
Meanwhile, Harsh has a special message for their fans in Pakistan: “I want to tell all of Mawra’s fans that if they have liked her work in the past, the will love her performance in Sanam Teri Kasam. If she gave her 100% in her previous projects, she has given beyond 100% in this film. I am very lucky to be a part of this movie.”
Of course, Mawra also thanked her fans for their support, and even her haters — in true Mawra fashion. “I am very very thankful to them for giving me a response that I have never received before. But I also want to thank even those who criticised me. It gave me the motivation to work harder. And in spite of all the negativity, the number of my fans kept on increasing. I have made this film for them. And I am coming home to promote it. So, I will see them soon.”
Watch the trailers here: