KARACHI: Mehwish Hayat receiving a Tamgha-e-Imtiaz has been the talk of the town of late. While many have criticised the authorities for even nominating her, others have expressed pride and joy for the super star. But how does Hayat feel about all of this? Speaking to The Express Tribune, the Load Wedding actor opened up about being given the honour and the backlash she has been receiving as a result.
‘The Express Tribune (ET)’: How do you feel about receiving the prestigious award?
Mehwish Hayat (MH): I was very flattered when I heard that I was being honoured in this way. As a Pakistani, receiving a civil honour from the President of Pakistan is the highest recognition you can get. All your life, you put everything into your work because it’s a passion but you never expect something like this in your wildest dreams. When it happens, it is the most amazing feeling. It hasn’t fully sunk in just yet but I’ve been floating on cloud nine since the announcement.
ET: How did you react when you first found out?
MH: I woke up to a multitude of congratulatory messages from my friends and colleagues but didn’t understand why. My first reaction was disbelief. I couldn’t take in the magnitude of what this accolade actually means. Just put it this way: there were tears of joy and a lot of screams. I am a simple girl from Karachi who has followed her dreams and to be recognised in this way means the world to me.
ET: Do you feel you now have added responsibilities?
MH: Of course! I feel the added weight of responsibility that comes with an award like this. Many girls have seen me and the characters I played as role models and I always believed in setting a good example. I hope that this inspires those girls and shows them that, through hard work and determination, anything is possible. I am living proof of that!
ET: If it was up to you, who would you have given the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz to?
MH: This is not just an individual award but recognition of the strides that our industry has made over the past few years. Film-making is a collaborative effort and in my view, everyone who brings these dreams to the screen is worthy of recognition. Even the spot boys. There are many peers who have put so much into reviving Pakistani cinema and it would be wrong to single out one individual.
ET: Does people maligning your image and your hard work affect you? How do you deal with it?
MH: Whether I should be given this award or not is a very subjective matter and people are entitled to their opinions. However, when it comes down to making personal slurs and lewd insinuations, that is crossing the line. Why is it that the moment a woman, especially from our industry, wins something or is recognised for her achievements they are overlooked and doubts are cast on her character? I don’t see the men who have been awarded being questioned in the same way? Are women in Pakistan any less capable of contributing to the betterment of the country? I have stood for women empowerment on many platforms and this has shown that we have a long way to go.
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