Wednesday 2 December 2020

An abuser cannot be a hero: Mahira Khan

09:50 By Lollywood Online No comments

Pakistan's arguably biggest superstar Mahira Khan has never been the one to care for the lists. However, she always finds herself in one or two almost every year. This year, the Raees star was named in the prestigious BBC 100 Most Influential Women of 2020. And she is very humble about it. Khan took to Instagram and expressed her gratitude over the mention among the likes of Jane Fonda. 

"In a year of incredible change, it is only fitting that we acknowledge the female leaders who have helped us weather the storm," stated the outlet while releasing the names As for the reason why Khan was shortlisted, the network acknowledged that she "speaks up about the causes and issues that matter to encourage change."

"Khan is no ordinary actor – she is outspoken against sexual violence, refuses to endorse skin-lightening creams and supports the fight against racism," claimed the outlet. It went on to relay the Bin Roye star's determination to "tackle social issues in her native Pakistan by changing the narrative in films and on TV."In a recent interview with the publication, Khan shared her not-so-easy journey over the years. 

Not joining bandwagons

"I've been approached from the beginning of my career, not just as an actor - even when I was a VJ - I was approached to do a lot of fairness cream products, skin whitening products. It doesn't make sense to me, it never made sense to me," she said in the three-minute clip. "So, I am endorsing an idea that a darker girl, a man is not as attractive as someone with a fairer complexion? It just didn't make sense to me."

First accolade

Khan rose to fame for her portrayal as Khirad in blockbuster show Humsafar, which also starred Fawad Khan. The former won a Lux Style Award for Best Actress, making it her first-ever award win. "This is my first award as an actor, for a drama (Humsafar) that really launched me, in the year that I was launched," she said as she holds the accolade. "I won many awards after that but this remains very, very special," she shared.

The good work

The Verna star was appointed as the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan in 2019. The actor had earlier shared few pictures from a refugee camp she had then visited on Instagram. Showing the same picture, now in a frame, adding, "Let me tell you about this photograph. This was the first time I went as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador to one of the camps, one that was in Karachi. We make passing comments on refugees, let's say Afghan refugees in Pakistan. There is a certain idea of what the Afghan refugees have brought into this country. We are there to raise awareness for that."

Of changing narratives

While attending the protests at Karachi Press Club against the motorway rape case, Khan made a point of changing narratives in pop culture. She went on to share how imperative it is for our masses to be educated over sex education. 

"Something happens, there is a lot of noise about it. Everybody gets on the streets, everybody talks about it on the media, and then what? And then it dies out. Another news comes out, another story comes out or another rape happens! Then that is just another name or another hashtag attached to it," she said now. "The problem is that we are not ready to educate our public or create programs that educate children, we are not ready to talk about it openly and I think we need to change that narrative while taking responsibility for it."

Khan lamented, "I am a big part of the media of this country. I feel that our films, our television serials, we have to change the narrative," Mahira asserted. "We can't just show a woman being assaulted (by a man) and then falling in love with him and show him to be the hero. A hero cannot be someone who is abusive. So, I think somewhere even we have to take that initiative."

She concluded her candid chat by skimming through the pages of a diary she had kept since before she had her baby boy, Azlan. "I have been writing before he was born," she smiled. "These pages are filled for him, there are few flowers too. As you can tell, I'm very sentimental about this."

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