Mahira Khan of Raees says, “It is unfortunate that I am scared to say what I feel”
Actress and former VJ Mahira Khan says “Life is unpredictable. That is the biggest lesson I have learnt in the last one year.”
“It is unfortunate that I am scared to say what I feel.”
To her fans she says “Thank you for being there when it got lonely.”
32 year old Mahira was born to parents who are Urdu-speaking pathans, her father was born in Delhi before Independence and migrated to Pakistan after the partition. She studied in Karachi till she was 16. Then she moved to California, US for higher education where she attended Saint Monica College in Los Angeles. After which she enrolled in the University of Southern California for her Bachelor’s Degree where she didn’t complete her degrees and went back to Pakistan. Things have not come to her easy as it sounds, in US she has worked as a cashier, mopped floors, cleaned toilets and shut the store at night.
Then she met her future husband Ali Askari in 2006 and the couple married in 2007. her father was not supportive of this marriage. The marriage lasted seven years and the couple divorced in 2015. Mahira has a son with Ali Askari.
Khan started her career as a VJ in 2006. Then she started hosting shows where she played music videos, spoke to celebrity guests and took phone calls from viewers. In 2011, Khan made her film debut in a supporting role in Bol one of the highest grossing film in Pakistan till date. The same year, she debuted on television with ARY digital in a romantic drama Neeyat. Then she appeared in television series Humsafar which made her a household name and Khan became an overnight star . The drama series was also aired on Zindagi (TV channel) which brought her much appreciation in the sub-continent. This led her to sign her first Bollywood movie Raees with Shahrukh Khan and directed by Rahul Dholakia marking her debut in Indian Cinema.
But the Uri attack in 2016 changed things for Khan. ‘Indian Motion Picture Producers Association’ (IMPPA) and ‘The Film Producers Guild of India’ decided to ban all Pakistani actors, actresses and technicians working in India till the situation gets normal.She survived a tough time then. Reportedly, there was rumours that Khan‘s scenes would be deleted from the film or she would be replaced by some other actress. 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.
In a recent interview to BBC Urdu she seemed unhappy about not being able to promote her big Bollywood debut Raees in India. She said, ‘I feel now, kaash I could go. I have a desire to go (to Mumbai), but it is not possible and not in my hands. My friends and parents tell me not to think about this, but I have put in lot of effort in this film.’
‘I am happy the film is releasing, but at the same time, I am unhappy because I worked for two years on this film. Raees is very special to me. I have grown up watching Bollywood films, watching Shahrukh Khan‘s films. I am happy that I worked with him,’ she added.
‘I do not know about Fawad Khan‘s role and how much it was cut. Seeing the Raees promos, I feel my role has not been cut. Right now, I am nervous about people liking my work. I want them to love my acting,’ she replied.
When she was asked where her career is headed, since she would not be able to work in Bollywood, Mahira said, ‘I do not think that way. I did not think of my career even when I was doing Raees. Life is unpredictable. That is the biggest lesson I have learnt in the last one year.’
‘Over these two years,’ she added, ‘I am scared to answer questions. I do not think and answer. I say whatever comes to my mind.’
‘I am very self-doubting; it has come out of experience. When I read my interviews, I feel, is it me? I constantly wonder if someone will get hurt if I say this or that. It is unfortunate that I am scared to say what I feel.’
‘I have become like an old aunt,’ the actress said, saying ‘nazar nahi lag jaye.’
Quoting Frank Sinatra’s advice to George Michael, Mahira said, ‘I want to say this to my fans: Thank you for being there when it got lonely.’
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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