Mahira Khan On Shahrukh Khan, Raees, The Ban, Bad Times, Fear, Tears And Hopes
Mahira Khan, the most successful actress in Pakistan and the debutante in Indian cinema, is all excited about her release of her film Raees co-starring Shahrukh Khan which is going to happen in next three days. Brought up in Karachi and studied in the US, the 32 year old inherently shy actress is very self-doubting and she says it has come out of experience. She still makes wishes when she passes through tunnels, believing that tunnels have the power to make her wishes come true. However, Raees has changed everything for Mahira Khan. Once dreamed of being a movie star, she actually was cast against the number one star in Bollywood which she had never imagined in her wildest dreams.
As unpredictable as life is, it all didn’t last long. After the Uri attack and a ban on Pakistani artists from Indian Motion Picture Producers Association changed things for Khan. A month back her co-star Shahrukh Khan and Producer Ritesh Siddhwani had to ensure for a safe release of the film that Mahira wouldn’t be a part of the promotion in India. Khan also received threats from Shiv Sena, a far-right wing Indian political party. All those rumors that, Khan‘s scenes would be deleted from the film or she would be replaced by some other actress, has undoubtedly taken a toll on the actress. Things might change in future. But what about now? She has given two years to this film and has equally worked hard as everybody else. She says the film is very special to her. But she has to stay away or else it might hamper the release of her film.
On Raees :
I want my country to see this. I want everybody to see it, every person in the world. My friends keep saying you did it, it’s enough, you can just keep it in a box somewhere…I do that, but there’s a part of me that says, no, I want everybody to see my blood sweat and tears for these two years, because it’s been tough and I want people to see it even if I fail at it. But if it’s one thing I’ve learnt over these two years it’s that there are somethings beyond one’s control.
On The Ban :
“It was painful. When the film comes out, I will tell you.
I was coming here and the new song is out and we have a group of friends [from the film crew] who send messages whenever something happens and everyone was sending messages and I had tears rolling down in the car. Again. For the tenth time! I am so indebted to all of them, especially my director Rahul Dholakia and the producer Ritesh Sidhwani, who have stood by me all through these two years, even at the worst of times.”
On The Effect Of Ban On Her Career :
“With this ban, it’s unfortunate. Six months ago, I was getting a new script every day. Two a week tau kahien nahin gaya. Cut to six months later and producers are saying there’s no scope, let’s go back to dramas. I dream of an up and running industry, with all its mess and its camps and all that comes along with a big industry, I want to see that happen.”
On Not Being Part Of The Promotion :
“I can’t just move on. It’s my work. Yes I’m grateful, but it’s something I have worked for! Why shouldn’t I feel it? Just because I’m an actor? Just because it’s a film? Just because it seems like fluff? I also want to promote the film. I also want to be in an interview with Shahrukh Khan talking about it. Why not? Why is it I get told that that’s asking for too much? It isn’t! It is my right. This was also my film.”
On Shahrukh Khan :
“He is magic really, honestly. He spoilt me for life. He used to tell me to do things this way, do it that way. At one point I asked him, am I not doing it right? He said ‘Look I am only telling you what I know, from my experience. You do it your way but all I want is when you see yourself on screen you don’t come to me and say, why didn’t you tell me!’ Other than that, he’s so bloody smart. There’s nothing you can’t talk to him about.”
On Going Back From Big Projects To Small Ones Again:
“When I wrapped up Raees I came to Shoaib sahib’s set. From that big a crew, of almost 200 people, to that small a crew. Here there were just seven people running a show and him, who’s a one-man army. And Shoaib sahib said to me, ‘Look, it’ll pinch you.’ And yes it did, the first two days.”
On The Act Of acting :
“I do feel my job is a unique one. I’ve always been sensitive and over-emotional. And things get to me way more. I’ve never allowed myself to become cold. So I’d rather go through the pain of feeling something fully than to become cold, which may be difficult but I’ve never allowed that to happen. Or maybe my job has never allowed that to happen. You have to bare your soul, give in to a character, whatever it is. So today your character might be happy because she’s so in love. And you might be going through the exact opposite. You’re surrendering to a feeling that doesn’t exist right now in your head space, your soul, your heart. But you have to do it.”
On Her Childhood Dream Of Becoming A Movie Star :
‘I always wanted to be a movie star, I knew then and I know now that I couldn’t be at the time and I didn’t know what it takes to be a star but I still love to dream about it. I need to start dreaming again, This was the dream. I prayed for it in every namaaz of mine. In every under the tunnel wish. But yeah, however small, I need to dream again.
Directed by Rahul Dholakia, Raees co-starring Shahrukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is a story of liquor baron Raees Alam. Mahira Khan plays the wife of Raees Alam, Aasiya Khan. The film will release on 25th of January, 2017.
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