Actor, writer and comic, Yasir Hussain returned to theatre earlier this year and reprised the role of Akbar in Anwar Maqsood’s prequel to Aangan Terha titled Naach Na Jaanay. It had a strong run in Karachi. Several artists from the entertainment industry including Humayun Saeed, Faysal Qureshi, Fahad Mustafa and others watched the play and praised the artist and his craft. He won many hearts with his spontaneity, wit and comic timing.
However, Yasir Hussain – who often ends up making politically incorrect statements – once again ended up making headlines for all the wrong reasons. He responded to some comments/ questions online that didn’t go down too well and generated criticism for the artist.
Beginning with the most recent episode, Yasir had an ‘ask me anything’ session with his fans on Instagram. Responding to a question, ‘One word for Hania Amir,’ Yasir said “Danedar” referring to Hania’s recent post in which she shared her struggles with acne.
Given that Hania Amir is a friend, Yasir was trying to be funny, assuming that she is aware of his sense of humour. But things went awry as Hania got offended.
“Degrading is not funny. I’m not laughing, no one is,” Hania said, among other things.
Since this interview was taken a day before this happened, we tried updating the story with a comment from Yasir but unfortunately the actor was unavailable as he was busy with a live Ramazan transmission.
He did talk about last month’s uproar when Yasir posted a picture from the set of his upcoming Eid telefilm, Help Me Durdana, in which he will be seen as his own mother Durdana (he will be playing dual roles in the project). He was dressed as Durdana and some people assumed he is playing the role of a transgender. In poured comments like, ‘Why don’t you hire transgender people for the role,’ etc. and Yasir came under a bit of scrutiny for responding to these comments in a rather casual manner.
The actor later took to social media and cleared the air on the subject, stating that he did not mean to offend anyone and has respect for all genders.
When asked about the controversy during this Instep interview, Yasir responded, “I think we should stop taking these people seriously; at least I’m not taking them seriously anymore, whether it is an organization, an NGO or people in general. Look at what they did to Saboor [Aly] and Saheefa [Jabbar]; they were having fun, talking about their colleague but people assumed (on their own) that he was a window cleaner and started bashing them.”
“If we continue to be trolled, this will keep happening; we need to stop this,” he asserted. “We actors are very sensitive people; we work for the entertainment of people. Whenever we put up a picture or share something online, people come up with very ruthless remarks. There should be a law to protect actors’ rights too; the way we talk about rights of other segments of society. Anyone – bloggers, ministers, etc. – can turn around and say anything to us.”
Yasir also informed that he responds to comments randomly as he does not have the time to reply to each and every comment. He felt that the person on the other side taunted him, despite knowing about his role as he had mentioned in his interviews, so he responded with a taunt.
“If we look at how our films in the past portrayed transgender people, we would stop calling our legends ‘legends’, or call them insensitive. It is not like these concepts weren’t sensitive back then,” Yasir added.
“These people sitting on the keyboard can only hurt people,” the Naach Na Jaanay actor continued. “This is the reason Ayeza Khan switched her account to private. Now her fans who actually wanted to see her cannot access her whereabouts.”
Yasir asserted that it’s about time the fraternity unites against this. “We, artists, are treated as the odd ones out from the beginning; at least we all should be together. If we don’t take a stand against this, we all will be trapped one day,” he concluded.