Friday 8 August 2014

This girl just wants to have fun

01:48 By Lollywood Online No comments

A shimmering ghagra, a tiny choli. A slender waist gyrating to powerful desi beats. A few raunchy thumkas and jhatkas to the frenzied approval of the  all-male crowd. Sounds like a scene from Munni Badnam or Chikni Chameli, doesn’t it? Only it’s not. This is what a three-second teaser of model /actress Mehwish Hayat’s item number from the upcoming film Na Maloom Afraad looks like.

“It’s going to be the highlight of the film,” an excited Mehwish told Instep over the phone. Shot inside a ‘maut ka kuan’ or well of death, the song has a carnival-like atmosphere and the kind of energy and masala that make for a hit item number. It might not be a Fevicol, but it is a far cry from the absurdly choreographed dance numbers that have characterized Pakistani movies till recently.

The 22-year-old lightly dismissed the idea that some people would find her dance moves and revealing costume ‘vulgar’ – a term often used to describe female actors in this country who dare to break out of the girl-next-door mould. “I think I’ve done enough submissive roles as a television actress. How many times can one play the good wife, sister or daughter-in-law? The song provided me with a great opportunity to have a bit of fun. It was quite liberating to do something that was a departure from the lackluster roles given to women on TV.”

A passionate dancer, Mehwish has proven to be anything but lackluster when it comes to setting the stage on fire. Her live performances at television award shows are crowd-pleasers, the right balance between energetic and sensual. When the producer of Na Maloom Afraad approached her for the role, Mehwish says she accepted it without a second thought. “It might be a tiny role but it’ll have a lasting impact on the final product. It has been very tastefully done and is not demeaning at all. There is not even a hint of cleavage! Plus the song has an amazingly catchy beat and is sure to become a hit at weddings. Won’t it be a pleasure to finally be able to dance to a good Pakistani song at a mehndi rather than just Indian numbers?”

Not that she has anything against our friends across the border. In fact, Mehwish claims to have been offered Huma Qureishi’s role in Dedh Ishqiya initially, an offer she declined because it required her to film some very explicit scenes. “I told the director I would only accept the role if those scenes were written out of the screenplay, but obviously that wasn’t going to happen.” Does she regret her decision, seeing how the role catapulted Huma to the A-list? “Not really. I’m glad my debut film is going to be a Pakistani venture. Plus, I would never have pulled off those racy scenes as well as Huma.”

In case you’re getting the wrong message, let us set the record straight: Mehwish is no prude. She is quite comfortable with her ‘sex symbol’ tag and revels in all the attention it gets her. She lists as a proud accomplishment making it to the ninth place in the “Sexiest Asian Women in the World” ranking by a UK-based Asian magazine in 2008. “Sandwiched between the likes of Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra as I was, it was quite an honour,” she says.

Will Mehwish be chalking up Na Maloom Afraad as another milestone in her career? One fervently hopes so, for the Pakistani film industry could do with a sizzling new hottie amongst its ranks. The current crop of filmmakers is producing some remarkable work but in pursuing the lofty goal of ‘reviving Pakistani cinema’, they are forgetting what it means to have some light-hearted fun. The makers of Na Maloom Afraad seem to have the right idea with this item number and if executed right, it will soon have Mehwish dancing her way into the audiences’ hearts. After all, a bit of masala never hurt anyone.


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