News Desk |
Mahira Khan, the champion of women empowerment has called out expressions of misogyny and sexual harassment as acts of power abuse. The actress also believes a brief ban on her movie ‘Verna’ prior to its release was also another act of power misuse by the authorities.
In her latest interview with Newsweek, she talked about her latest project ‘Verna’, and the multi-dimensional aspects of women empowerment, particularly in the entertainment industry.
“More than anything, Verna talked about power. Whether we talk about misogyny or patriarchy or abuse, they’re all acts of power. That’s what the film tackles. My character is an empowered woman who fights the system. It’s not just a story about rape,” she revealed.
‘Verna’ featured Mahira Khan as Sara, a rape victim who stood against her abusers for justice. She then resorted to her own means of getting herself justice after the legal system failed her.
Read more: How to protect women from sexual harassment?
A social drama movie, ‘Verna’ primarily talks about various facets of power abuse and how it paralyzes the justice system in our society. It is perhaps the misuse of power that represses the justice in the society.
The gorgeous performer also appreciated Shoaib Mansoor for always bringing to light the darker and overlooked social issues in his movies.
“Shoaib Mansoor was my first director and he’s probably one of the best in Pakistan. When he calls you, you immediately want to listen to what he has to say,” she explained. “When I heard the story, all I knew was that there are lines in the film that I wanted to be able to say. There were a lot of other great commercial projects that were around at the same time but as an actor, it was a hunger… to be able to be part of something like this,” she remarked.
Unfortunately, attempts were made by the Censorship board to ban the movie permanently in Pakistan. Mahira Khan believes the massive public outcry pressurized them to uplift the ban on the movie.
“We knew there are certain things that have been said Verna that won’t go down well with certain people, certain institutions. And they didn’t. There were a handful of people who didn’t want it to go out, and then there was the entire brigade of people who created an uproar saying they want this film to be released. That pressure caused them to release the film,” she said.
She also appreciated the fact that campaigns like ‘MeToo’ and ‘Times Up’ with a message of women empowerment are creating stir in Pakistan after sweeping Hollywood.
“It has trickled down. Women are raising their voice there; women are raising their voices here. There’s a very similar pattern in Pakistan as well: We’re having the constant debate about gender equality, about women in films and the kind of roles written for them.”
“Personally speaking, I would like to see better roles written for us. And I think that is happening. Women are the heroes of our television industry. I would like to see the same for films,” Mahira added. “I would like better stories, and I want to see better roles for men and women. As far as tackling things like pay parity goes… that is also being talked about. I think most of us fight for our rights. I think we’re creating a good groundwork for future generations,” she said in conclusion.
Mahira Khan is arguably a big name within Pakistan’s entertainment industry. Her following in cross-border India massively grew after her powerful performance in her first Bollywood flick ‘Raees’ alongside Shah Rukh Khan.
Soon after the release of ‘Verna’, she became the first L’Oreal Brand ambassador from Pakistan.
Khan and Verna are set to take the center stage at the 2018 U.K Asian Film Festival