By Muhammad Asad Ullah
Mehwish Hayat has had a fantastic last few years: whatever part she’s played in different media has been successful. Be it Asim Ali’s drama serial Mere Qatil Meray Dildar (2011), on premier entertainment channel HUM TV, her debut feature film Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (2015) directed by Nadeem Baig — that went on to become one of the highest-grossing Pakistani film ever — followed by the same director’s Dil Lagi (2016), on entertainment channel ARY Digital, that saw her return to TV, and then Punjab Nahi Jaung, feature film in 2017, or Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza’s Actor in Law (2016) or Load Wedding (2018), it seems she can’t put a foot wrong. Mehwish Hayat has been riding the wave of success for the last few years. It won’t be erroneous to say that she is one of the most sought-after actresses in the country today.
Even before Mehwish did a substantial role in Jawani Phir Nahi Ani, she had done a cameo item number in Nabeel Qureshi’s Na Maloom Afraad in 2014, and since then a lot has been said about Mehwish Hayat. About her string of successful films, about her screen presence, her singing, dancing, her style, her being outspoken, bold and most recently, her Tamgha-e- Imtiaz, a state-organised honour of Pakistan. It is given to any civilian in Pakistan based on their achievements. Sometimes good, sometimes bad but Hayat knows how to take things positively as her success flows. Her recent stint in another item number Gangster Guriya in Baaji (2019) was utterly praised; for her up-notch moves and crisp gaze.
Mehwish Hayat has decided to do full justice to her star status. Hayat while receiving the ‘Pride of Performance’ award recently at an awards ceremony in Oslo called upon the stereotypical misrepresentation of Pakistanis and Pakistan in general in international cinema.
Later, when asked if art should be politicised? Or should art not know any boundaries? Mahwish said, “Art and politics have been intertwined for as long as art has existed. Even the plays of Shakespeare were very political in their time. Art should reflect society as a whole and should always be challenging and thought provoking. We have to question, we have to provide a mirror, we have to praise when we see something good and condemn when we see something wrong. Art without that social conscience is gutless and soulless. It is through entertainment that we can make the greatest change in our society.”
The Load Wedding star few days ago, also penned an op-ed for CNN, calling out faux celebrity activism and the responsibility that comes from an influential position.
A few days ago, Bollywood actor, Priyanka Chopra was called out for her aggressive tweet by Ayesha Malik, a young woman from Pakistan, in Los Angeles during an event, to which Chopra was haughty, saying, “Whenever you’re done venting. Got it, done? Okay cool.” This was after security snatched the mic from Malik.
“Girl, don’t yell, we’re all here for love. You’re embarrassing yourself,” said Chopra to the mic-less young woman. Chopra has since drawn criticism for her response and reaction.
Reacting to the episode of Chopra, Mehwish wrote in the op-ed, “Chopra’s response to her questioner in LA, as well as the February tweet, did have a positive affect, and forcing many of us to think about celebrity activism, its uses – and its abuses.”
She added, “Celebrities who act as charity spokespeople should always focus on humanitarianism. Chopra – again, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador – should not be using her voice to legitimise a regime opposed to the values she claims to represent. Rather than use her position as a US-based celebrity to broaden what it means to be an Indian celebrity…”
Adding a feather to the many hats Mehwish wears, she has also been appointed now as an Ambassador of Penny Appeal, a charity with which she wants to rebuild 5 schools in Sukkur Sindh, “for over 900 children.”
The actor revealed that she is now an Ambassador of Penny Appeal, a charity with which she wants to rebuild 5 schools in Sukkur Sindh, “for over 900 children.”
“Penny Appeal is an amazing charity organisation that’s working in over 30 countries and I’m very happy to be on board with them and I want to work for education,” adds Hayat, “The condition (children in rural Sindh) are getting their education in is really a heart-wrenching situation. But parents really want their girls to get an education and be a part of the community. It’s just the lack of resources, otherwise, there is a very progressive state of mind.”
“Many don’t realise that if a young girl wants to raise a family, education is very important and if she gets the primary education, she will have the power to decide if she wants to continue... so maybe giving them that basic education, the girls will have a voice which actually will in the longer run, help raise and build nations. That will be amazing. I really want parents to let their children – their girls - to follow their dreams,” said Hayat in. statement.
The Load Wedding actor will be taking part in the annual London Marathon to help raise the funds for the rebuilding. She’s aiming to raise £100,000 for the project.
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