Love her or hate her, Mehwish Hayat is one of the brightest stars in the entertainment industry of Pakistan and she will continue to shine whether you like it or not. The President of Pakistan conferred the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz upon her for her services to the showbiz fraternity, and despite being trolled on the achievement on the social media, not only did she receive the award but also made us all proud of her achievement. The News Tribe had a chat with Mehwish Hayat who was on a break from the shooting of her upcoming film Chhalawa where she spoke her heart about trolling that resembles cyberbullying, her supporters and above all, her reaction to one of the highest civil awards in the country. Excerpts:
The News Tribe: Your fans, family and supporters are super happy for you on your latest achievement. How are you feeling at being the recipient of such an honorable award?
Mehwish Hayat: is quite an honor for me that the President of Pakistan has conferred the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz on me; there can be no bigger achievement for an artist in our country where hardly there are civil awards for artists. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that this award is the biggest highlight of my ten-year career in showbiz where I have worked in dramas, films, theatre and even dabbled in music. To be recognized by the state is the best moment of anyone’s life, let alone myself.
TNT: And then there are the trolls or as I would like to say ‘trollers’ who can walk into any place, criticize and then leave. How did you deal with their idiotic criticism?
Mehwish Hayat: Being a public figure, I am exposed to criticism; when there is healthy or even unhealthy criticism on my work, I respect that as it comes with the job. However, it doesn’t give anyone the right to make comments regarding my personality or my personal life, and trust me at times it comes under the banner of cyberbullying. We live in a country where rewarding an actress seems like a crime because that’s how it was portrayed in my case. Would these trolls have done the same had the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz been given to a male actor than me; I don’t think so and that’s why I don’t consider them important. In their eyes, when a man gets it, he deserves it but when a woman gets it, she must have done something ‘extra’ to earn it. Had it been any actress other than me, they would have done the same thing and I am quite content with the way the industry stood by me. The people I trust, the people I know, and some I don’t know, they stood against these trolls and I am thankful to them all for standing for the right thing. We need to work on it more so that in the future when another actress gets an award, people will praise her instead of criticizing her character for no reason.
TNT: Would you term it as lack of education, stupidity or just plain time-pass for these trolls who have no idea regarding your scope of work or that you haven’t crossed the border for fame?
Mehwish Hayat: I would term it a mixture of everything you have mentioned (laughs). I am sure that if you will ask them about my projects, they will have no idea that I have been doing TV for some time; worked in the five biggest blockbuster films of Pakistan, have worked in theatre and also dabbled into singing. My films have grossed business of over 160 crores a feat no other actress can boast of and I am certain that had these trolls known that, they would have praised me instead of making a fool of themselves. I think it’s time we need to realize that we are in 2019 rather than the 1950s and women and men in Pakistan have equal rights and opportunities. We must stop bullying our women if we are to become a successful nation, give respect to others and credit where it’s due. We may be part of a glamorous industry but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have forgotten our morals, our teachings, and our responsibility. It is very difficult to entertain the audience in an era when the competition is tough and instead of praising the artists, we bash them just to satisfy our egos. This all has to stop.
TNT: Were you expecting this reaction from the Social Media when your name appeared in the recipient’s list?
Mehwish Hayat: I wasn’t even expecting my name; how could I have expected what the reaction of a few ignorant and conditioned people would be on the Social Media (laughs). They clearly have no idea what these awards are and how many categories are there; in fact, some even said that the award could have been given to Army or Air Force officers without realizing that Civil and Military Awards are two different entities. I will not say that there was a lobby against me but where there are bad people, there are good ones too and I am glad they were on my side. The award that I received was also conferred upon Atif Aslam, Saba Qamar, Hadiqa Kiani, Shahzad Roy, etc. and look at how proud they have been making Pakistan all over the world.
TNT: What does the future hold for Mehwish Hayat, now that you have received the biggest award there is for an actress?
Mehwish Hayat: There are more awards to be collected (smiles) but currently, I am busy with Wajahat Rauf’sChhalawa which is all set for an Eid ul Fitr release. As for the people who have nothing else to do than criticize others on Social Media, it is about time that we all should take a stand against injustice, just like my friends, fans and family did. The debate that has started now should come to a meaningful end so that nobody else has to face cyberbullying as I did. People commit suicide because of that in this part of the world and I am sure that if the government takes concrete steps, healthy criticism will prevail and habitual critics will fade away.