Pakistan star Mahira Khan invites one and all to Expo 2020 Dubai

The Humsafar star has been appointed Brand Ambassador of the Pakistan Pavilion along with Dhoop Ki Deewar’s Ahad Raza Mir.



Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied

By Mahwash Ajaz

Published: Mon 1 Nov 2021, 8:53 AM

Last updated: Mon 1 Nov 2021, 9:27 AM

The delight on Mahira Khan’s face as she looked at the Pakistan pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai was palpable. “You hear about it,” she says, her large brown eyes twinkling in the sunlight, “and you see it in pictures. But you never truly get how beautiful it is until you see it.”

She is currently in Dubai and she’s more than happy to be appointed as the brand ambassador for the Pakistan Pavilion. In a detailed chat with City Times, the Humsafar star was all praise for the pavilion and for Expo 2020 itself. “I’m amazed, I’m so proud. We were just talking about this — how I was appointed as the brand ambassador of the pavilion itself. I’m happy that the Ministry of Commerce has taken an initiative. It starts from taking the initiative. We’re all in positions of power. So when the Ministry says we want to do this, go ahead and do this, we support you — that’s huge. We’ve got all these talented people on board who are being supported by the government back home and by the UAE government as well.”

MULTICULTURALISM, TOURISM, ART

“Those of us who are from Pakistan, from Karachi, we’ve grown up seeing all the multicultural life in Pakistan. But when you see it through these films (screened in the pavilion) — you see cultural, religious diversity, you see how marriages in Punjab may be different from marriages in Hunza or Gilgit. It’s beautiful how they’ve showcased all these elements and the landscape.”

WHAT SHE CONNECTS TO MOST

“I have to be honest, I felt a lot of pride. Everyone connects to different things. I saw this chador of Laal Shahbaz Qalandar — and I thought to myself how much my father would love it. I loved the Billion Trees Project part which was so futuristic and that’s how the future should be. It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve been told that the footfall has been excellent and even now when we were outside, there were lots of people coming in.”

ON BEING AN ACTIVIST

“One image, one video that we post makes a difference because we have that kind of following. You realise that you have this reach where people are clicking on your profile and that’s how your message gets amplified. As far as activism goes, yes, I do speak out about things close to my heart. I stay silent about things which I feel I don’t know enough about. But ‘activists’ are those who are actively working every day for a cause. So I don’t call myself an activist. I do try to use my platform for different causes but ‘activism’ is wholly different ballgame.”

ON AIK HAI NIGAR, HER LATEST LEAD ROLE AND FIRST TELEFILM SHE PRODUCED, BASED ON THE FIRST LIEUTENANT GENERAL OF THE PAKISTAN ARMY, DR. NIGAR JOHAR

“I’ve gotten messages from all over the world about this telefilm. I suppose it has hit some chords and perhaps it’s because of our hard work, intentions or that it’s a true story. When I saw the criticism, I told myself I would not let it affect me — even though it did. But this is not a narrative that was taken from someone or somewhere else. It was an idea Nina (Kashif) and I pitched. It took us a year to get clearance. How many times do you see a biopic on a serving general, male or female? She’s serving in the army, she’s a woman, she’s the first general. There were many things we couldn’t talk about or there were things we couldn’t say but despite all of that, this was a story we needed to tell. Some things or one thing could have been said in a better way — but other than that I can’t be apologetic about something I’ve worked so hard for.”

HER THOUGHTS ON DUBAI LIFE

“It’s been two years since I visited Dubai! It’s my comfort place. I feel at home. I always think, ‘I’m going to go to this hotel, order this, go to the mall!’ But there are so many desis here so I can’t really go out much. However, I love working here, I am very comfortable here. We were at an award show the other day and everyone was in my room. It was so much fun. We had such a good time!”

PAKISTAN PAVILION, IN SUMMARY

“It’s a hidden treasure. This is a must-visit! Come to Dubai, go to Expo 2020 and visit the Pakistan pavilion, and then come to Pakistan!”

mahwash@khaleejtimes.com


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