You may have dismissed her as ‘cheap’ or ‘racy’, but you’ll have to admit that Mathira has made smart moves when it comes to bagging projects. Banking on her overnight success from an infamous late-night TV show, Mathira is now all set to make an appearance in Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, the Pakistani industry’s biggest film this year. She may wear many hats, but one thing that Mathira isn’t, is a hypocrite. In an interview with The Express Tribune, the outspoken and impudent TV personality unapologetically talks about sticking to what she believes in and dealing with criticism.
When asked why she agreed to feature in the recently banned Josh Condoms TV commercial, Mathira responds by saying, “Somebody had to do it – I believe sex education is very necessary.”
The video clip of the ad garnered hundreds of thousands of hits on social media, but the 50-second commercial was banned by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), for “immoral content” after numerous complaints were filed.
Unmoved by Pemra’s action, the TV-show host, who has been given names like “sex kitten” and “the Paris Hilton of Pakistan” by the LA Times, is irked by the “hypocritical” response of Pakistani society.
“Watching porn is not considered vulgar [by society], but this [Josh Condom] ad is – this is the height of immaturity,” she says. She then draws parallels with ads she considers ‘suggestive’.
“A woman licking her finger dunked in ketchup in an ad is considered okay, but a condom is subjected to such harsh criticism! This (behaviour) is certainly not good.”
Mathira adds that the ad, which was considered ‘racy’ by many, was meant to communicate a public service message amidst Pakistan’s increasing population.
“I gave my message very clearly. The awaam (people) must think (about the population rate). I believe what I did was right,” she says, refusing to disclose how much she was paid to take up the campaign.
When asked how she deals with the criticism – which most times is pretty personal – Mathira says she blocks it out.
“People think it’s easy to hear rubbish about yourself, but it’s not. Everyone has a heart, no matter how heartless they pretend to be. I am aware of what people say about me but my brain starts to blur them out.”
Her ‘item girl’ moment
Her attention-seeking stunts and reputation of being self-assured have landed her some high-profile spots in the industry. Not only was Mathira chosen to host and perform at the recently held Lux Style Awards in Lahore, but she is also being cast as an item girl for actor-turned-film-maker Humayun Saeed’s Main Hoon Shahid Afridi.
When contacted by The Express Tribune, Saeed was all praise for her performance. “The few people who have seen the premiere of this film gawked in awe after seeing Mathira’s performance. She has done a wonderful job. She has performed very elegantly alongside [actor] Mahnoor Baloch,” says Saeed.
The song, which has been directed by ace director Saqib Malik, may be a “bit controversial” for the audiences, but Mathira has not done it in a “cheap manner”, says Saeed. “We have our fingers crossed! The song releases this Eid.”
Mathira, who is delighted to have worked with Malik, says that the shooting of the song was strenuous. “I danced back-to-back for two days. Working with Saqib was a lot of fun. He is super-talented and this item number will surely rock the Bollywood charts, too!” She adds that Malik has the skills of a foreign director.
When selecting projects, Mathira says she only works with those who trust her to deliver. “When I work with someone, I ask them, ‘do you trust me?’. When they say yes, then I act like less of a diva and more of a robot. I only work with people who actually understand how to use Mathira,” she says, adding, “I also have to face my mom so everything happens with her consent!”
The budding artiste, who has released a music video in the past, also revealed that she will be releasing a song titled, Mathira, one week after the release of the film.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.
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