Pakistani star Mahira Khan will not allow anyone to define her

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Pakistani star Mahira Khan will not allow anyone to define her

Published: Sun 26 Nov 2017, 3:01 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 1:41 PM

PAKISTANI ACTRESS MAHIRA Khan was literally a subject of national debate in her country when photos of her and Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor enjoying a cigarette went viral on the Internet. The pictures were taken outside a hotel in New York in June earlier this year.
Once the photos surfaced online, Mahira was bombarded with hate posts. She was trolled for wearing a short backless dress and smoking a cigarette in Ranbir's company.
When City Times met the Humsafar star over the weekend, the actress told us that she came out a stronger person after the online assault.
"I was quiet initially, but I was  definitely not laughing over the controversy. It is personal for sure. The reason I responded to the trolls is because something very personal to me became public. So, I felt, 'Okay, let's just put it out there.' For anybody being harassed and the issue becoming a national debate, it's not a nice thing. I don't know what made me do this,  but I thought that I am going to take this on the chin and I am going to move forward," said the actress.
"It takes strength, but when you are hit with something and when you are in the storm, you fight it out. It is not that you are stronger than him or her. It is just that you walk out of the storm and you are going to do your best to swim out of it. And once you come out, you are stronger and more evolved. I think that nobody should define you - if anything then you should define yourself. I learned during that period who I was, and I will not let anybody define me. Not to say that I don't take criticism and all of that," she added.
Mahira was in Dubai to promote her film Verna, out in the UAE theatres. The story deals with the subject of harassment faced by a rape victim. This is her second film with critically acclaimed director Shoaib Mansoor. "When Shoaib calls you, it is hard to refuse. I am a big NO sayer. But once I was told the story, I wanted to be part of the movie, though it wasn't an easy film for me to do," the actress said.

By Arti Dani

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How  the year panned out  for Mahira Khan  
"This year has been a bitter-sweet symphony for me. For me, Raees is so special. I was just dancing on my song Zaalima right before I came to the airport. I was at my best friend's birthday (party) and the last song that they played, at 5am, was Zaalima. I am very happy with the response that the movie got. I wanted everything to be perfect. But in retrospect, I don't think I could have asked for more. Though, I felt bad that the movie did not release in Pakistan.
"When Verna was getting banned in Pakistan, I was like, 'No. Not twice in a year.' I would have taken a pirated copy of the film and sold it on my own. We make a film for the audiences. We do the work because it pleases us but eventually, it is the audiences that matter to us."
Niimal Khaver
"I play Mahira's sister-in-law in Verna. I am extremely supportive of her in the film. I look up to her character. As a whole family, we are struggling to fight against the injustice faced by her."
Zarrar Khan on censorship
"I believe that the censor board shouldn't ban certain kinds of topics. They should support women's empowerment. The best part is that the media supported us during our battle with the censor board. This movie is not against anything, but we are glad that it has now released everywhere."
Mahira talks about sexual misconduct
Mahira Khan also reacted on the sexual misconduct debate that's happening across the world. "The biggest and the best thing out of this might be that our children, and the generation after us, will probably not face such consequences because people will be scared. Everything is linked to not having any accountability. If I can get away with murder, I will murder. If I can get away with stealing, I will steal. If I can get away with raping, I will rape. This is all power. Harassment is power. Rape is power. All these things are just to show power. I am saying that usually, it is a power play. Hopefully, because of this debate, the predator will think twice before preying on someone who is vulnerable. I doubt if someone will come to me with that intention because they will know that I will say, 'To hell with you.' I think it is time that we speak up."

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