known for her leading roles in movies like Load Wedding, Actor-in-Law and Punjab Nahi Jaungi, Mehwish Hayat has been dominating the big screen since. Even though, she is popularly recognised as a film actor, Mehwish got her start from the small screen. She has given memorable performances in drama serials like Phir Chand Pe Dastak, Mirat-ul-Uroos, Ishq Mein Teray, Ru Baru and Anjum Shahzad’s highly successful family drama Kabhi Kabhi and Nadeem Baig’s tragic romance Dil Lagi.
A recipient of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 2019, Hayat is a true Pakistani by heart and that reflects in her recent portrayal in the Disney+ television series ‘Ms. Marvel’. She plays the pivotal role of Aisha who is the great grandmother of Kamala Khan (a.k.a Ms. Marvel). She is being lauded for her performance in the series and many fans believe that this show could potentially open more opportunities for her in Hollywood.
Apart from her Hollywood debut, Hayat has been working on many different projects. In an interview with You! Hayats shares her experience with an MCU series, her recent and upcoming projects…
You! How was your experience working on ‘Ms. Marvel’?
Mehwish Hayat: Ufff! It is unexplainable. For me it was an eye opener. Before that I had no idea that there was a production as big as that in the entertainment world, where people work with very strictly professionally. In Pakistan, we have a very small industry working with very limited resources. No doubt, we are doing wonderful things in whatever means and budgets we have but that is some other world. ‘Disney’ at the moment is the biggest franchise of Hollywood even. So for somebody like me, a girl from Karachi, it was very special, very surreal and a dreamlike. At the same time, I was excited that I was representing my country at a larger platform, where a few years back, we could not imagine the representation of Pakistani actors on this level. That was itself an achievement for me. It is like a dream come true. I feel very blessed and lucky to work on that platform.
You! Do you think this will also open doors for other actors from Pakistan to work on these platforms?
MH: Yes, I believe it will. I think after this project, the world knows about the pool of talent and art in Pakistan. So, our artists should start to aim bigger now. Before this, we only used to look towards Bollywood. I had always argued that why just Bollywood, why couldn’t we spread our wings and look beyond our borders like Hollywood or Iranian cinema or Turkish cinema. I think what many artists including myself dreamt, is now coming true. It is a giant leap for our art, artist and towards a bright future of our cinema industry. We are not scarce of talent and I hope a lot of more amazing things are going to happen soon.
You! You had a film release after more than three years, was the response according to your expectations?
MH: To be honest, I was a bit nervous before the release of London Nahi Jaunga (LNJ). First, because of the overall scenario of cinemas that changed due to the lockdowns in Covid-19. Secondly, the difficult financial situation with which we all are going through. So yes, all those factors got us a little worried but we were confident about our film, which is an interesting and entertaining flick. I was sure that the film’s story would touch the hearts of viewers. The message in the film is special and has never been discussed before on the big screen or in mainstream media. The speciality of Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar’s script is that he gives a serious message in a humorous way, and when writing very thoughtful lines give a little touch of wit in them. So yes, it is a beautiful story and a treat for everyone.
You! How different is your character in your recent release?
MH: I think my character in LNJ is different from all my previous films. This film actually revolves around my character, who is very dynamic with many shades of grey. Yes, there is a mystery with her which is held throughout the film, and unfolds as the story progresses. One thing I believe is that people find themselves attached to Zara. They would smile with her, cry with her, love her, and get annoyed at her but would never leave her. I must say that not only Zara’s but all the characters in the film are very strong, especially the women. They are firm in their beliefs, irrespective of which culture and backgrounds they are from.
You! Your fans are delighted to see you back on the big screen, but do you have any plans to return to the small screen?
MH: As far as working on television is concerned, I am being offered many scripts, but I don’t prefer the ones where I am to portray a woman or a girl who is deprived, suppressed or crying. All this already has been or is being shown on television. I think as an artist, it is my responsibility to give a positive message to those girls who get inspiration from me and take me as a role model. In recent years, I have not been offered this kind of script. So yes, I would do more television if I am offered a good script with a strong women centric role; one who cannot be fooled by everyone but may be fooling others (laughs).
However, I have done a telefilm on a very refreshing subject. In the film, I have HSY (Shero), my sister Afshen Hayat (it is her comeback on television) with me. I think it will air sometime after August.