Miscellaneous

Interview with Mehwish Hayat

Mehwish Hayat is a stunning, charismatic and inspirational woman who is the reigning queen of the current era of Pakistani cinema. Without a doubt, she is an icon who has contributed immensely towards the revival of Lollywood. Her exceptional work and outstanding performances are reflected in acclaimed and thought-provoking movies like Actor in Law and Load Wedding. In recognition of her tremendous efforts for the growth of the entertainment industry, Mehwish has been awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, by the Government of Pakistan.


"Believe in yourself and never let anybody tell you that you are any less than them. Be aware of the fact that your desires and dreams matter – not only to you but the society as well.”


Digging deeper into Mehwish's life, I was truly inspired by the way she has reached the phenomenal level she is at today. As we sat together, I told her that her fans have always been very curious to know about how she was as a child. Mehwish shared, "Well, I was a tomboy! My brother Danish and I did not have much of an age difference and the two of us were thick as thieves. I remember hanging out with him and his friends, playing whatever games they would play. I was very competitive —I still am — and would spend hours learning special moves on PlayStation so that I could beat them." Mehwish also shared many fond memories of her childhood at the PTV studios, where she watched her mother work. According to Mewish, her mother was the biggest source of inspiration for her. She explained, "As cliché as it sounds, the greatest source of inspiration for me has been my mother. I spent my childhood observing her struggle as a single mother and work hard to support all five of her children on her own, the way she sacrificed her desires and dreams to provide for us and give us the best upbringing she could. The first time I had an inkling that I will grow up and become an actress was when I went with my mother to the PTV studios at the age of eight. The experience of being present on set made a lasting impression on me ­­— the lights, the hustle and bustle — seemed magical and I knew that I wanted to be part of it. When I first stepped in front of the camera a few years later, I knew for sure that this was the life for me."
Talking about the importance of education in life, Mehwish said, "I have a degree in arts but I believe that more than the degree itself, it was being able to get the exposure which has given me the confidence to face the world. Along with formal education, it is of utmost importance to empower your daughters and make them feel strong enough to conquer the world and be well exposed to the happenings of the current time. I am trying to pass the same message with the help of my new campaign of rebuilding schools in Sukkur. That is one project very close to my heart as I am trying to humbly contribute to society. We all need to play our part and work towards the betterment of our nation. That is the least we can do for being able to breathe in an independent and a beautiful country like Pakistan."
We are well aware that ‘hard work is the ultimate key to success', therefore, I inquired about how the first few years of working in the entertainment industry were for Mehwish. She replied, "The initial years were like a learning curve for me. That was the point in my career where I used to sit on set for hours, even when I was not in the shot. I loved watching my seniors and learning the craft from them. I have been fortunate that I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from some of the greatest in our industry. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned is that hard work pays off. The sleepless nights, all the blood, sweat and tears that go into making films and dramas, are ultimately worth it when you see the audiences' reactions. We bring happiness and joy to millions of people around the world; what better gift is there than that?"
About the project that according to her changed her life for good, her debut film, Na Maloom Afraad, she said, "That movie helped me break the girl next door image that I had had for a very long time while working in dramas. People began to see me as a film actress for the first time. The character had a lot I could play around with. I always wanted to be acknowledged as an actress, the fame and stardom are peripheries that did not spur me. For me, it was about choosing the right roles and giving it my best. As controversial as Billi was, I owe a lot to her and I will always be proud of her."
Speaking about her achievements in life, Mehwish said, "I think that it is fair to say that at the moment nothing beats being awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan. If you'd told me at the start of my career that I'd be sitting here ten years later with a Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for services to the industry, I probably would laugh at you. However, I strongly believe it was my competitive spirit from my childhood that has spurred me on through my career. I am a perfectionist and this ‘challe ga’ attitude does not wash with me. The cinema goers are paying hard-earned money to see us in the cinema and we owe it to them to give our best. No industry award beats the feeling you get when you know that people are willing to part with their money and see you on the screen. Each ticket that they buy is one of the best awards one could ever ask for."
In Mehwish's point of view, artists create the image of the country they are representing, hence, it is essential to portray the positive aspects, which need to be represented globally. She elaborated, "I think that we have to understand that no matter who we are, whenever we are traveling we are all ambassadors of Pakistan and should make a point of making the best impression of our country. I think that we are beginning to make a lot of progress; foreign attitude towards Pakistan is beginning to change. I think that as a nation we need to put aside petty squabbles and concentrate on being Pakistani first and showing the world who we are. Let's begin to put Pakistan first." 


The cinema goers are paying hard-earned money to see us in the cinema and we owe it to them to give our best. No industry award beats the feeling you get when you know that people are willing to part with their money and see you on the screen. Each ticket that they buy is one of the best awards one could ever ask for."


She further added, "I have said several times that Pakistani film industry can be used to project Pakistan’s soft image. Films are a window to our wonderful country and we are not exploiting this medium to the fullest. We seem to be too focused on making films just for Pakistan and I think we should be making a film about Pakistan. I look forward to the day our films can compete on the international stage in the same way that those from, let’s say, Iran do."



Mehwish takes a lot of pride in being a patriot, she feels blessed being born in a country filled with warm and loving people. She said, "I think that the one thing that visitors all talk about is Pakistani hospitality ­­— that is what I put forward, the Pakistani people are the most welcoming, generous and hospitable people in the world. No matter what we earn, we love to go out of our way for visitors and pamper them in the best way possible."


I think that we are beginning to make a lot of progress; foreign attitude towards Pakistan is beginning to change. I think that as a nation we need to put aside petty squabbles and concentrate on being Pakistani first and showing the world who we are. Let's begin to put Pakistan first.


Emphasizing women empowerment, Mehwish believes that in the simplest of terms, women's empowerment means the right for women to have the ability to make their own decisions and not be subjugated on account of their gender. She puts forward her message for the girls of Pakistan simply by saying, "Believe in yourself and never let anybody tell you that you are any less than them. Be aware of the fact that your desires and dreams matter — not only to you but the society as well."
Finally, sharing about her upcoming projects, Mehwish wrapped the conversation saying, "I think that for many years I went with the flow and let life take me where ever it wanted. Now, I have structured my life a little more and have a strategic plan of where I would like to be heading. I have definite aims in my career and in the philanthropic work I have started to undertake. There are a lot of exciting things in the pipeline and trust me, that whatever I do, I will continue to make Pakistan proud. Pakistan Zindabad!"  HH


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