Now we all know that Mahira Khan’s Verna is just round the corner. The starlet is busy with the promotional events of the Shoaib Mansoor directorial, which highlights social issues such as rape and sexual harassment.
But in a recent interview with BBC Urdu, Mahira opened up about her upcoming film, sexual harassment, the Ranbir Kapoor controversy and her experience of working in India.
ON HER EXPECTATIONS FROM ‘VERNA’
First up, the Humsafar diva talked about her expectations from the movie. “I never think about the movie close to its release, especially Verna, since I haven’t watched the final edit. Shoaib saab locked himself and the movie in a room,” revealed the Bol beauty.
“So since I haven’t watched it, I don’t know what to expect. But, I do know that people have huge expectations from the film.”
Talking about the subject of the movie, Mahira commented, “It is a very important subject. Shoaib saab always picks the subject that is actually very common in our society but it’s usually not debated upon. Similar issues were addressed in his previous movie Khuda Kay Liye and Bol.”
The Raees star continued, “Verna is about a girl who has been subjected to violence and rape. But that’s isn’t where the story ends. The principal plot of Verna is how that raped girl fights back to seek justice.”
“The film is about powerful people using rape as an act of power, because that’s what rape essentially is… An act of showing power. It’s not just an act of sexual frustration and Shoaib saab agrees. He says, ‘It’s not just an act of violence on the victim. It’s an act of violence on the whole society’.”
ON HER VIRAL PICTURES WITH RANBIR KAPOOR
If you come to think of it, Mahira never really addressed the controversial pictures of her with Ranbir Kapoor, which vent viral just a few weeks ago. “It’s not like I didn’t want to react to all the gossip but I believe that silence can be deafening,” stated the Shahr-e-Zaat starlet.
“I thought I’d talk about it and I will discuss it. But here’s the thing: Even today, when I say anything, it is perceived in a completely different and exaggerated manner. So when I used to read my interviews, I realised that there’s not point in talking about it. It’s completely useless.”
Mahira went on to say she’s alright with being judged. “You can judge me on my work; you can judge me on my history. And I will try and be as good of a role model as I can be. I know that I have huge responsibility on my shoulders and I will try and fulfill it to my best potential,” she added.
“I felt that staying silent on the matter was rather graceful, than speaking about it at that point. But what surprised me was how various people stood up for me. That was amazing!”
In the wake of the harassment allegations on renowned Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s, the world has been hearing of a new such story almost every day.. Mahira, on the other hand, has been lucky enough not to witness such thing.
“Personally, I haven’t been harassed in the industry,” said Mahira, “However, there are various factors surrounding the issue. Vulnerability is a huge factor. But I can’t remember anyone coming forward to me with such an incident.”
ON WORKING ACROSS THE BORDER
Mahira marked her Bollywood debut opposite none other than King Khan. Raees was released worldwide this year and the starlet garnered a lot of appreciation for her work.
Talking about her experience, Mahira asserted, “It was a wonderful experience to work in India. Firstly, I was working with Shah Rukh Khan, which was a huge deal for me. Secondly, I became extremely attached to the cast and crew. It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen them but the friendships are still alive and well.”
The only challenge Mahira faced while working across the border was the she was homesick.
But are there any future projects lined up in India soon? “The circumstances don’t really allow us to work across the border. The climate is such that it is not viable to work in India right now,” said the Ho Mann Jahaan actor.
“As an artist, I know it’s pretty cliche, but art truly has no boundaries. It’s like I don’t know French but I love French songs. We watch foreign cinema, even though we don’t really understand it. Now, if we talk about India and Pakistan, the language connects us. Everything else connects us. It’s sad that we have made these boundaries,” she added.
Nonetheless, Mahira believes Indo-Pak collaborations are extremely important. “Collaborations always end in good stuff. Watch Akshay Kumar groove on Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s songs or Ballay Ballay from Bin Roye, which was sung by Indian playback singer Hardeep Kaur. These become instant hits!”
Unfortunately for Mahira’s, Raees was banned in Pakistan due to some objectionable content and that naturally, saddened her deeply.
“It was my ultimate dream to watch Raees with my audience in a cinema. I always though that once they watch it, they will be extremely proud of me and I was miserable that it wasn’t screened in Pakistan.”
Mahira’s latest ventures brings the starlet back to her roots: Pakistani films. Verna is slated to release this month on November 17. The movie stars Coke Studio famed Haroon Shahid and Zarrar Khan in titular roles.
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