Hania Aamir, who garnered immense fame in Pakistan's drama industry at an early age due to her engaging social media presence and playful nature, has often been seen playing confident girls on television. But in a first, she is essaying a vulnerable character onscreen in the ongoing drama serial Mere Hamsafar.
Fans love her nonetheless and her chemistry with Farhan Saeed has become the talk of the town. It wouldn’t be wrong to say her and Farhan’s star power prompted viewers to tune into the show, and their craft further made it possible for several to sing its praises on social media. However, showcasing helpless women who need to be rescued and married off to a knight in shining armour is usually the running theme for most Pakistani serials – which they receive immense flak for.
So how did Hania agree to play the role of Hala in the show that has so far been spared harsh criticism due to its depiction of a “perfect husband." Hania shared in an interview with the BBC, “My goal is to always inspire people through my work, show strong, empowered women. So, Hala was not the kind of role I would accept immediately.” So, Hania “refused to do it at first.” But then she came to know that Farhan Saeed would be starring in the serial and Qasim Ali Mureed would be directing it.
Thus, she agreed to the play, adding that the challenge then became ensuring Mere Humsafar “does not turn out to be the kind of drama people can say they have watched several times before.”
‘Hamza's character is not perfect’
While many have been lauding Farhan’s Hamza, who plays Hala’s loving husband in the show, Hania has pointed out that while Hala may be weak, Hamza isn’t perfect either.
Hamza not only marries and loves Hala but also protects her from the cruelty of his family members. He plays the poster boy for an ideal husband throughout the play and this is the reason why the pair of Hala and Hamza became popular to begin with. But Hania maintains, “I will not say that Hamza's character is perfect. He is, however, a sensible person. He understands people's feelings and situations. Hala makes mistakes and so does he, but what impresses viewers most is how pure their souls, their purpose and their intentions are.”
In a scene, Hamza shouts at Hala and raises his hand in anger but does not hit her. The gesture, although not entirely violent, was borderline violent and repulsive, prompting viewers to wish Hamza had not even raised his hand in the first place. Despite the criticism, Hania has defended the particular scene.
Narrating the context, she explained, “Sameen (his cousin) has cut her hand in the scene, Hamza has just gotten married, there is blood on his shirt, and Sameen has to be taken away. A lot is happening in the moments leading up to Hamza losing his cool. He comes back home, and his wife, who is still in her bridal dress, asks him to divorce her. Hamza is bound to get angry. Stories are not that simple.”
She went on to detail how the cast and makers, however, mutually agreed that Hamza should not slap Hala because that would shatter his poster boy image. "The script included a slap, but we all agreed that if Hamza slaps Hala, Hamza wouldn't be Hamza anymore. He could no longer serve as a prince charming and the voice of wisdom in the show.”
Saba Hameed is also seen playing the problematic, quintessential Pakistani mother-in-law, who tries to dominate and exercise control over everyone, including Hala, who is completely dependent on other characters like her grandmother and husband.
Asked if it’s justified to still show women who are completely dependent on others for their livelihood, Hania shared, “Like I said, nobody’s story is that simple. Hala was abandoned as a child, left at the home of strangers. She had no role models in the form of parents who could love or care for her, or show her how to stand up for herself. She has not learnt to speak up. Meanwhile, Hamza has a voice so he knows how to call them out for mistreating Hala. Of course, Hala thinks he is an angel from heaven above.”
While everyone’s aware of Hala and Hamza’s onscreen chemistry, Hania has shared that her off-screen best friendship was with Hira Khan and Zoya Nasir. “The day we were on the set, we talked a lot. When there were scenes where Samin (Zoya Nasir) was to hold my mouth, we were laughing at what we are doing to each other.”
Hania said that in his free time on the set, Farhan is mostly watching cricket or playing a game. Talking about the experience of working with senior actors like Samina Ahmed and Saba Hameed, Hania said that there is a lot to learn from them. “During the shoot, Saba Hameed took great care of me. Whenever Saba Ji had to scold me, as soon as the scene would cut, she would ask me if I was okay.”
'Sang-e-Mah should not have shown suicide'
Recently, Hania also appeared in Sang-e-Mah, the ending of which received immense criticism for showing two suicides. The drama starred Hania, Kubra Khan, debutant actor and renowned singer Atif Aslam, alongside seniors Nauman Ejaz, Samia Mumtaz, and Sania Saeed. Hania also took a blunt stance on the show, stating, "I also think that suicide should not have been shown."
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