If sources are to be believed, and they should because they’re credible (our sources always are), then we now know that Mahira Khan will be essaying a rape victim and survivor in Shoaib Mansoor’s upcoming film, Verna, which loosely translates to ‘otherwise’. No one other than God and Shoaib Mansoor himself knows when the film will release but one thing is for sure, it will have both impact and integrity.
Shoaib Mansoor is known for tightly knit, social commentaries that push the line between what is halal storytelling and what is taboo. To see a film tackling a subject as risqué as religious exploitation post 9/11 in Khuda Kay Liye (2007) was both unbelievable and impressive. It was Fawad Khan big screen debut and what an impression he made. Several years later, Bol came with the same impact and left us with a cinema star in Humaima Malik.
While Verna is by no means Mahira Khan’s big screen debut, it will be the film that’ll allow us to see her as a hardcore actor. As Mahira Khan herself has said in interviews, “Shoaib Mansoor has no room for actors looking superficially glamorous or pretty; you have to look the part.” And her part as a rape victim and perhaps survivor will certainly not be glamorous. She is joined on the cast by Haroon Shahid (Shoaib Mansoor also has a fondness for actors/singers, cases in point being Fawad Khan, Atif Aslam) and Zarrar Khan, who plays a politician’s son and antagonist.
According to an interview published in Instep Today, Zarrar Khan is playing antagonist in Verna and reading between the lines, we feel he is the politicians son plus sex offender. You can read his interview here: https://www.thenews.com.pk/magazine/instep-today/210214-Meeting-Shoaib-Mansoor-was-a-surreal-experience
- Mahira’s picture with Zarrar Khan courtesy Instep