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10 Sep

Music is on Mehwish Hayat’s mind!

They say stars are born in the skies and heavens, not made and carefully constructed on land by cold-hearted PR machinery that works in over drive these days. So how many celebs do we know that can be considered true stars? There is one diva who has defied the odds and has proven that her star only rises and shines even with the toughest of audiences and the harshest of critics in front of her. And that’s Mehwish Hayat.

From working with some of the biggest names in the industry, in films like Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Actor In Law, to essaying roles that prove she’s the hero of her own story, the actress has time and again displayed the aesthetic sensibilities you may not find in many celebrities today. However, if you thought that was all that Mehwish could do, you are clearly mistaken.

Rather than sit around and enjoy the massive success of PNJ, we caught Mehwish flying out to continue her ongoing US music tour. Here’s what she says about films, music and her future plans…

Also read: No spoilers but 5 reasons to watch ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ this weekend!

You’re currently on a music tour in the US; can you elaborate on that?

I am currently on a nationwide tour of US with my very talented brother, Zeeshan, and sister, Afsheen. We have been playing concerts all across the country from New York and LA to smaller cities like Phoenix and Kansas. The tour started in early August and I then took a break for the promotions of PNJ – I am now back in the US to do the remaining dates. This was a new departure for me and I was a little nervous. The response has been absolutely amazing. We have had packed houses wherever we have gone. There has been so much love from the fans out here, we have been totally overwhelmed.

Is this an alternative career move for you after acting?

Singing has always been a passion of mine. My siblings are accomplished musicians so music has always been in the family. The response to Coke Studio inspired me and it is only now that I have been able to look into doing music professionally. Music will not be an alternate career move, just something that I will be taking more seriously alongside my acting.

 

A US music tour with her siblings has Mehwish currently occupied.

What kind of music can we expect; and perhaps will we see more of it in the local industry as well?

I am enjoying singing all sorts of music on this tour. I am evolving my music style at the moment so that I have a unique ‘Mehwish sound’ and not more of the same. What I can say is that it will be mainstream, commercial but edgy at the same time. I would love my music to have an appeal greater than just the local market.

Coming to films, what do you have to say about the success of Punjab Nahi Jaungi?

I am overwhelmed by the response to the film and especially my role.  I still cannot believe all the fabulous reviews. Yes, we knew that we were onto something special when we were making the film but never in my wildest dreams had I imaged the love that the public has given the film. The success outside of Pakistan has been amazing. We can now safely say that we are able to compete with Bollywood internationally on equal terms.

What do you think made PNJ such a huge success? 

I think that the film had something for everybody. The most important thing is the script and we were fortunate enough to have an amazing starting point. Khalil sahib’s dialogues have hit a chord with the public. The music was amazing… so it is a combination of everything that came together not just one single factor.

Do you feel that Urwa Hocane’s Durdana became an equally popular character to Amal Dastoor?

I think that Khalil [Ur-Rehman Qamar] sahib’s writing is such that every character is outstanding and appeals to the public in their own way. All of the characters have become popular.

 

Essaying the role of Amal Dastoor in Punjab Nahi Jaungi, the actress has yet again proven herself through a stellar acting job.

Whether it’s Dillagi or PNJ, you have played to the archetype of the free woman. Is that a conscious decision; will we see you deviating into other types of roles?

Yes, this has been a conscious decision to play challenging roles. I am a firm advocate of women’s rights and look to do characters that present girls with positive role models. I would like to continue to portray strong female characters on screen and not just glamorous showpieces.

In regards to the future, are you looking at any future projects at the moment or any that you have already signed for TV or film?

Let’s see. There are some very exciting opportunities on the horizon. I have a few interesting scripts that I am considering at the moment.

Also read: Haute Review: Punjab Nahi Jaungi

Is there anything else that you’d like to tell your fans?

I am so overwhelmed by all the love and support that I have had from fans around the world. We are what we are because of them and the way that they have taken to me has been humbling. As an artiste, I see it as my responsibility to represent Pakistan on a wider stage and to help present a positive picture of our country. I would want my fans’ support in helping me achieve this. We are a vibrant nation with a lot of talent and potential, let’s show the world that we can compete with the best.

Shahjehan Saleem

The author is Deputy Editor at Something Haute as well as a professor in the Media Sciences department at SZABIST, Karachi. Socio-cultural theories and geography fill up the rest of his time.