It has been long since Imran Ashraf and Urwa Hocane starrer Mushk concluded, leaving fans happy as well as confused for its hasty ending. However, one burning question remained in everyone’s mind that why was Zulekha Tayi (played by Zara Tareen) was not even showed once when she was burned alive by her husband, or when she escaped through the window and was later found in Dar ul Amaan?
Well… there were many speculations and many justifications but the actor, herself, didn’t speak about it. After a month, Zara did a live session on Instagram and then posted the IGTV video on her feed in which she has spoken in detail about what actually happened to Zulekha.
“A lot of misinformation was going around about Mushk and how it ended but I decided to keep quite. I opt out of an interview as well because you never know how questions will be directed towards me so I thought it would be better if I talk directly here to answer questions,” she said at the beginning of her session.
Zara shared a long story to answer “why did she (Zulekha) suddenly disappear in Mushk?” in which she revealed how she faced continuous problems with the production house when she took a stand due to the pandemic.
“There is no easy way to go abt this question. I know a lot of people are not going to like what I say abt it today because it doesn’t match up with what they are saying. Tayi didn’t disappear because we weren’t able to shoot due to corona; shoots were delayed way early in March last year and we were supposed to shoot the last spell before Eid because the on air date had already been decided,” she said.
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“I was proud to see that no one was buying into these excuses that everything that happened in Mushk was due to corona. I was happy that people are not stupid and won’t buy what you’re trying to sell on screen or off screen,” Zara said, adding, “The actors community took a stand that we have to take a few months break to analyze what is happening when the first wave emerged; after all it is a pandemic. If Hollywood, with its resources, budgets and know-how, wasn’t able to continue work, how can Pakistanis resume work within a week? We think that just by making staff wear PPE suits in hot and humid climate, we can follow SOPs? We could always delay the airing date. I only asked that if we continue to work we should be properly accommodated and tested during the spell so that we can stay safe.”
However, she maintained that she was not heard, and her words were twisted and labelled as “tantrums” as it was misconstrued as a demand for “stays in 5 star hotel”.
“There were so many issues with how the direction of the play was changed and how it was shot, and our audience is very intelligent as they rightfully pointed out almost all of them,” she said lauding the audience. “I was simply made an scapegoat. I noticed that my character has not been mentioned in the promotions, however, it organically became a hit when the project started airing.”
“I was deeply hurt about that entire experience because I had put a lot of hard work into that character. I had to travel to US in September so I reached out to the production house, even the channel head, to shoot before I leave. I was never called back on set,” Zara said.
Talking about her experience of working with Urwa Hocane, Zara had no complaints.
“I was on good terms with Urwa on set but unfortunately, every issue that I raised about the direction of the story or my role was pinned on her,” she said.
She further explained how this is “a normal day in the life of a Pakistani actor” who doesn’t follow the established rules of the trade.
“I was watching Faryal Mehmood’s recent interview and I agree to the issues she raised; a silent campaign starts against you once you speak up and it creeps into other production houses and then you hear that we want to work with you but people think you have behavioral issues and you throw tantrums,” she stated.
“It is like the hazing culture in colleges; this happens if you are not going to play by “our” rules. We are forced to work in an industry which is running like a factory. We don’t have any rights, we have unfair contracts, no policies for YouTube monetization rights, that’s how professional actors are abused when they don’t agree,” she said.