One of Pakistan’s most bankable actresses, Mehwish Hayat received the Pride of Performance in Norway last week and caused a stir with her acceptance speech; she criticized the way Hollywood and Bollywood portray Pakistanis in their films.
Mehwish recently made an appearance on Sky News Sunrise show where she spoke at length on how her countrymen are demonized in cinema. This comes right after the actress wrote an opinion piece for CNN, highlighting the problems with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra.
During the show, the Chhalawa actor not only claimed that Hollywood and Bollywood portray Pakistan in a negative light but also blamed the film industry for fueling Islamophobia.
“Films and cinema have the power to build attitudes and mindsets. However, always showing Pakistanis and stereotyping them as backward terrorists or having subjugated women or always being ‘the villain’ in the movies has affected us greatly,” she asserted.
“Whenever I travel around the world the general misconception is ‘oh you come from a terrorist country where bearded men have guns and women wear burqas’ which is wrong. That is not how we are,” Mehwish continued.
The actor urged the film industry to use its power fairly and emphasized that cinema has the power to build an image that is very strong. “I think that it’s about time we start addressing these issues and what I ask for is a fair portrayal, if not a positive one,” she insisted.
On a parting note, Mehwish urged filmmakers to do their research before portraying Pakistanis in their films. “Do your research and see what we are and how we are,” she concluded.