Mahira Khan and Fahad Mustafa are busy promoting their upcoming film Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, for which, the duo made an appearance on filmmaker Taimoor Salahuddin, aka Mooro’s podcast, to speak at length about the movie, their experience with various filmmakers and age-old problems actors have to deal with even today.
Mahira, in particular, opened up about ageism in the showbiz and without mincing words, confessed how it is prevalent in the fraternity. When the host said, “Age is a thing in show business that’s frowned upon, strangely enough. The more you look old, the more people go like yaar iska time pura hogaya hai,” Mahira vehemently agreed. And when Mooro went on to assert that it’s even “harder for women than for men,” Fahad interjected, “It’s both ways now.” Mahira, albeit, responded “I disagree. They put you in this box and say there’s a shelf life for an actress. But I think we are proving it wrong. People like me.”
Mooro shared that it’s also strange transitioning from a hero to a father-figure, to which Fahad questioned, “Why a father figure only?” Mooro reminded the guests of how gracefully Jawed Sheikh did the same without feeling embarrassed, to which, Fahad reminded him of the veteran actor’s mutability. “Bryan Cranston also played the hero in Breaking Bad at that age,” pointed out Mooro, elaborating on how industries elsewhere no longer believe in there being an age limit to heroes and heroines.
To this, Mahira added, “There isn’t. Of course, we want actors who are older to play the hero too. There’s a reason why they [filmmakers in Hollywood] are doing it, they know people are going to watch them. But let’s make it normal also, let’s talk about it. I talk about the fact that I am divorced, I have a 12-year-old who’s going to turn 13. Let’s talk about it. I have to be comfortable with these facts first so I can normalise talking about it.”
She went on to reinstate how ageism is a “primitive notion” that should no longer be the standard. Mooro then recalled an Irrfan Khan interview, during the time he was shooting for Lunchbox, in which the late Indian actor expressed his fear of losing opportunities because of age. “That fear is there for everyone,” said Mahira. “We are so exposed, you can’t even imagine that feeling of exposure, in HD, when the camera zooms into your face. We are so exposed in front of our audiences. And even your quintessential hero or heroines go through a slump. Because their whole career is based on playing THE girl and THE boy. But suddenly, they have to adjust. If they are able to adjust and transition in that period, then they can also become an Al Pacino or Bachchan.”
Mahira is no stranger to ageism. The year Superstar came out, actor Firdous Jamal claimed she was no longer “heroine stuff” given her age. But Mahira has since starred in two more films and made her silver screen comeback with Hum Kahan Kay Sachey Thay, which was hit, by the way.
Mahira even shared with Mooro how motherhood, on the contrary, made her take up the role of Khirad in Humsafar. On that note, when asked about Khalilur Rehman Qamar’s distasteful comments made after she shared a clip from the serial on her Instagram, Mahira revealed that the writer loved her work and wanted to continue working with her until she took a stand for a fellow woman. “I lost a lot of work because of that but it doesn’t matter — I took a stance,” she declared.
Watch the entire interview here:
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