While the entertainment industry in Pakistan faces an all-time-high in terms of ratings, one cannot be entirely oblivious to the fact that the quality of the content getting produced is still shackled to the timeworn, problematic ideas that largely rely on misogyny.
Addressing this issue was one of the top tier artists of Pakistan’s media royalty – Mahira Khan, at the launch of ‘The Next Big Story.’ In spite of holding the image of a fairly more progressive actor, the 33-year-old unveiled how storytelling does not just tailor to the frame of mind of only a specific lot of the society but is merely just a depiction of all the stories that exist around us.
However, the way that story is told is what is really important, she believes.
“We are living in a time where we have a voice. Not me, not this man but every single one of us has a voice. So compared to a hundred opinions, there are thousands. Compared to a thousand, there are millions. And also I agree with the statement that all art is political, everything gets affected by everything,” she said.
Speaking about the gradual pace with which a society reforms its opinions and amplifies responsiveness towards unjust ideas, Mahira added: “The times change your opinions. So with the times that are changing, ten years ago or twenty years ago it wasn’t a big deal to put out a sexist joke, but today it is. Why is that so? It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Because suddenly there is more talk about it.”
“And I have myself said no to certain things and certain projects where I thought that ‘no I don’t want to be a part of it.’ But we cannot cater to a section and nor can we tailor-make a story that caters to every single person’s opinion. I am telling a story, if it is about someone who abuses his wife so be it. If it is about someone who is cheating on her husband then so be it. What we must be mindful of is that we don’t glorify it,” she adds.
“This happened to me on my very first week with Humsafar and people kept saying ‘oh this is the downtrodden woman’. No she was not. Go back and look at it, and there is a reason why she was not, because the slap was removed from it, there were things that were removed and there were things that were brought in just to show that she had a spine. But –it was a story and that story was told,” she further said.
“People cannot suddenly stop telling stories. Yes, we should be mindful of what we are saying. We need to be careful. We cannot glorify sexist jokes, we cannot glorify certain things and be like ‘yaar yeh kya baat kehdi’, ‘he gave her a slap, bravo’, -- no. And that, we should be mindful of,” she said.
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