Firdous Jamal calls out Mahira Khan and the internet is alive yet again, with Mahira Khan haters, with Mahira Khan supporters and with those calling out Firdous Jamal for being blunt, and outright … derogatory?
This is the comment that has everyone worked up:
“Mahira Khan has grown old and now she should play the mother of the heroine, … “Mehwish Hayat is far better than Mahira Khan.” said veteran Firdous Jamal on a television talk show that was broadcast live.
The comment in its entirety is a personal point of view. But … case in point – can a public personality have a personal opinion ? Especially when it is aired on National TV, on a live talk show?
Here’s what went wrong with that very ‘personal point of view”:
- Mahira Khan supporters took to Twitter and Instagram to support her and condemn Firdous Jamal’s statements. These included her fans, and the film fraternity:
- Firdous Jamal’s supporters came out on social media to counteract the anger, and supported not only his stance that: “Mahira Khan is too old to be heroine material” and that “Firdous Khan is right to point it out” but also that, “Firdous is a bigger icon than Mahira and he has a right to his opinion”.
- 2 successful actresses of Pakistan were pitted against each other in an industry that is struggling to remain alive. 2 actresses who represent Pakistan on an international platform, and of whom we are all very proud.
- Mahira Khan has a block buster ready to be released on Eid ul Azha (Just around the corner). The hopes of not only the cast, but all Pakistani film supporters, are riding upon her. This was not the best time to have controversy raise its ugly head.
- Once again, the media channels have shown irresponsibility by airing an opinion that chooses to divide rather than consolidate our film community.
- If it is Mahira’s age and looks that are questionable, should we not be asking how she manages to look so stunning and command so much star power despite the fact that she is not a “20 something year old”?
- Are we now reaffirming the prejudice that older women have a shelf life and not grace the screen as lead heroines?
- If Firdous Jamal is an older, celebrated industry icon, should he not have been more mature in his observations? And all those who are siding with him, do they not realize that he should be setting precedents that supersede or at least match his age and experience? Young actors need mentors in the industry, not attempts to pull them down to make their struggle even harder?
- For all the future Mahira Khans out there, and let there be many – is this a message that it will be harder for you? Because though the stardom is fantastic, the lights are incredible and the fame, glorious, … is it really worth your while when all it comes down to is some odd fan shouting out on Twitter that you are not fit to be the queen of hearts for our nation?
- Startling realization – The intensity of hate for Mahira Khan that spewed forth when Firdous Jamal passed judgement over an actress who is the raging favourite of many in our nation and across the border was a shocker!
Mahira has battled hate earlier when a photograph was released on the internet, and true to form, she has always remained graceful and not descended to use the language or tone of her haters on the internet. She will face this with equal grace, I am sure, but why, as a nation, must we belittle our stars? People who should be a pride for our nation, who represent us on an international platform?
Mahira has increasingly become vocal on social issues, her influencer power grows as we speak, and it is high time we understand that being a woman in a male dominated world, and holding her own, is perhaps to be admired rather than snubbed.
Reacting to news on the rape and murder of a 10 year old:
Mahira immediately took to Twitter to mention that rape is always the rapist’s fault and isn’t the cause of Pakistani television showing ‘vulgarity’.
She has also helped highlight the Afghan refugee crisis and lauded the Pakistan government’s role in helping to shelter over 1.39 Million Refugees. This, and raising her voice on multiple social issues on social media has led her to be seen as a celebrity with responsibility and sensitivity towards the plight of others who need a voice.
We have very few icons in our industry at present. These icons are helping spread the positivity. Because of them we can raise our heads high and nod proudly when someone says –
“Oh, you have Mahira Khan!” Or … “We loved Saba Qamar in Hindi Medium” Or … “Yakeen Ka Safar was so awesome.”
Agreed, these icons are not above reproach.
Where there is power there is responsibility, and though we have every reason to hold them accountable – what exactly has she (Mahira) done to deserve this censure? For all the haters, pause for a moment and think, … why her? And does she really deserve the hate?
Lastly, if we do want to question our experienced stars, let’s challenge them to pick character roles, ask them to use their influencer status to change mindsets, push their boundaries to help redress the wrongs in our world – those which we can’t change as ordinary human beings, but THEY can, with their star power. Let’s not get bogged down with age and numbers.
A Superstar will always be a Superstar, for every hater, there will be a die-hard fan – the question is, which one will you choose to be, and why!
Shazia likes to pen her thoughts when she feels passionately about a life experience, a person or an event. She is mother to 3 lively boys and along with her husband, attempts to settle in her new country by taking German lessons so she is able to soak in the culture, language and spirit of the region.
“Wake up in the morning, take a deep breath and exhale! Keep on living with a passion that inspires others! “