Mahira's signature is her humility, says Bilal Ashraf

Mahiras signature is her humility, says Bilal Ashraf

The Pakistani actors share their idea of a 'Superstar' with Sadiq Saleem ahead of the Eid release of their drama

By Sadiq Saleem

Published: Wed 7 Aug 2019, 9:51 AM

Last updated: Thu 8 Aug 2019, 11:39 AM

With three releases lined up this year, Mahira Khan is certainly ruling the roost. But it hasn't been easy for her. She has been at the receiving end of trolls for a while now, but she has not let it affect her. Today she comes across as more confident and unapologetic than ever before. In an industry that thrives on the superficial, her personality is a startling exception. She stands outside her fandom, far from narcissism and at a distance from showbiz megalomania, and confronts everyone with a down-to-earth attitude.
Bilal Ashraf, is unquestionably one of the most good-looking actors in the Pakistani entertainment industry. When certain critics questioned his acting prowess, he enrolled himself in the biggest acting academy in Pakistan where he took classes all over again to perfect the craft. He has returned to films after a two-year gap and with half a dozen abs that he is proudly flaunting in the Eid release Superstar.  
The film has shades of Abhimaan and Aashiqui 2 since the plot revolves around the jealousy between a couple working in the same industry. "Superstar is nowhere close to any of those films. I haven't watched Aashiqui 2 but I know that it's a remake of A Star is Born but Superstar has a very different plot," said Bilal, which was seconded by Mahira.
Mahira undoubtedly is the biggest superstar of Pakistan. What according to her is the biggest perk and peril of being a superstar? "The perk is that you are loved unconditionally, and the peril is that your life is not yours," she instantly replied. "But the love you get from the people is priceless. I have been lucky that there are people out there, groups of fans who have come forward to support me when the times were a little shaky. I can't tell you how much they pray for me. And it has worked wonders. Sometimes when there is a situation or if someone close to me is not well, I ask my fans to remember me in their prayers because I know they will do it 'dil se'. But there are also judgements, opinions and people who think that they own you and your life and say nasty things which are heartbreaking," she added.
This is Bilal's first pairing with Mahira or with any star of that stature for that matter. So was he a victim of starry tantrums on set?  "I wish!! But Mahira is so humble. Despite being such a huge star her signature is her humility. She is so passionate about her work and also about the people that she works with."
There's a scene in the movie which shows Bilal dancing on a car, clad only in his jeans, a novelty for Pakistani films. "It was difficult," he admits. "It took me a year for that transformation. And in all honesty it was a lot of hard work. It was embarrassing as well. But it had to be done for the character. I had to be in the best shape possible. I had to work on my diet, my abs and my training. It was undoubtedly most rewarding as I can see the change in my body and apparently it has inspired a lot of people out there to hit the gym," claims Bilal. But did he feel objectified at any point since it is pretty much equivalent to an item number. 'Yes I did feel objectified a lot of times. We were working in an open area, there were four to five hundred people around us. There were times when between breaks people would touch me to ensure if this is my real body and not a make-up trick so I had to go through all that. But as I said, my intention was also to motivate people to get fit and do it all the natural way."
Mahira too has a foot tapping dancing number Noori in the film sung by Sunidhi Chauhan. Fans have compared her song with Madhuri Dixit's Ghaghara. "Madhuri is the queen of dance. I bow down to her. And I think there is no one like her. I am not even one per cent close to her. But yes, I received this feedback from a lot of friends that I have shed all inhibitions in Noori. I am a very very shy person and I know it's really tough to make me dance like this. I was not in the best of health when this song was being shot. But this free-spirited dance and those expressions were a must for this character and this song in a way sets the tone for the second half. I don't think I'll ever be able to do anything like this." So how does she define the term 'Superstar'? "It's a tough question because an actor doesn't know that he or she is a superstar. Its all in the eyes of the viewers, if you know what I mean." 
Mahira on trolls
"If it was up to me, I wouldn't give away any information. I still have a private life which I don't talk about or share. I always put out what I feel like sharing. But then, there is this new way of working. Some sharing of information is important for your work. For instance the BTS shoot where you give a sneak peek to your fans of what is going to come out soon. Though I don't like sharing that as well but Bilal often tells me that it's good for the film, so I negotiate with myself a lot. I always want to hold back something for myself rather than giving out everything."
Sadiq Saleem is a UAE-based writer, who is the go-to-person for everything related to the Pakistani Ent Industry

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