It's 2019 And Firdous Jamal Still Thinks Saying Mahira Khan Is Too Old To Be A Heroine Is Okay

By Sajeer Shaikh | 27 Jul, 2019

A video clip that I’m sure all of us have chanced upon recently is one where senior actor Firdous Jamal states that Mahira Khan, a “mediocre model” according to him, has reached an age where she should be playing the role of a mother.

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When in doubt wear some 🐆 print x @zahaonline

A post shared by Mahira Khan (@mahirahkhan) on

Contextually, Faisal Qureshi also condescendingly states that none of Mahira’s films have worked as of late – a jab that was uncalled for – and he follows this up by stating that he hopes her upcoming film does well. Firdous Jamal chimes in to state that she isn’t made of”heroine stuff,” then stating his rather backward, ageist views.

First of all, let me take a minute to talk about Mahira Khan.

Mahira has given Pakistan some of her absolute best work that is still considered to be iconic. Her debut performance in Bol – a film that was a critical and commercial success, and is one of the highest-grossing Pakistani films of all time – earned her a nomination for the Lux Style Award for Best Actress (film). Straight off the bat.

She’s one half of the iconic Khirad-Asher duo that reigned on screen for years, with Humsafar still being considered an iconic drama.

This earned her a Lux Style Award for Satellite Best TV Actress and a Hum Award for Best Onscreen Couple. But that’s not where the accolades stop. A quick Google search will testify as to just how accomplished Mahira truly is.

This “mediocre model” as Firdous Jamal states, has made it to Bollywood…

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🌓 #1yearofRaees

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…and Cannes. 

Moreover, Mahira tackled a pertinent issue in Verna, where she received immense praise for her depiction of a sexual assault victim – a topic that remains a taboo, often swept under the carpet. If this is the film that Faisal Qureshi believes was unsuccessful, he’s clearly looking at box office collections instead of how this furthered the dialogue around sexual assault.

The subcontinent is unfair to its women. We’ve seen and are currently still witnessing 50-year-old men romancing 20-year-old actresses on-screen. Age and talent, though they have no correlation, are often tied in together when considering women for roles. However, let’s look at some of the most pivotal roles played by Pakistani actresses till date.

For instance, Saba Qamar is being praised thoroughly for her role as Mannat in Cheekh. She was also applauded for her powerful portrayal of Qandeel Baloch in Baaghi as well.

The stunning actress has shown nothing but immense talent and it’s a testament to how hard she works and how she’s excellent at what she does. Does her age play a role in her excellent depictions of the characters she essays? Absolutely not.

Mehwish Hayat is another gem, who has not only starred in some of the highest-grossing films, but is still continuing to wow audiences with her talent.

She’s unstoppable and a force to be reckoned with. Does her age need to factor in when stating that she’s probably already more accomplished than a large chunk of the existing industry? Not at all.

Even a look across the border shows how women like Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, and Deepika Padukone have managed to stand their ground and fight this regressive mindset that states that an actress has a shelf-life.

Moreover, could you imagine if Humayun Saeed retired at 30? Or if Shah Rukh Khan was told he’s too old to romance Deepika Padukone? Men seem to successfully avoid this conversation about them altogether – a conversation that was only recently had when news broke that Salman Khan would romance Alia Bhatt on-screen – yet, our actresses are disturbingly made to work on a clock.

I’m sure that Firdous Jamal comes from a time when this mindset mattered, or when saying these things was not considered problematic. However, for a man to sit there and call Mahira a “mediocre model” – an opinion that he’s entitled to, but is probably not very well-researched – and to dictate her shelf-life, is absurd, uncalled for, and misogynistic.

Consequently, people are also coming to her defense on social media. 

 

 

 

The fact that this still needs to be called out in 2019 is disappointing, but it’s heartening to note that many people have risen to the occasion and are supporting or defending Mahira Khan. Statements like these, if made to maintain relevance, or to simply be hurtful, have no place in 2019.

A performer only owes you their art and what comes of it – nothing more, nothing less. Here’s hoping this massive uproar serves as a reminder to all those who wish to take such shots in the future that the sun has set on your problematic mindset.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments.

 

Mahira Khan Is A QUEEN In Superstar’s “Noori” And I Can’t Stop Gushing Over Her And Osman Khalid Butt

 

Mahira Khan And Bilal Ashraf’s Star-Studded “Superstar” Will Make You Forget Bollywood Movies


Cover image via @mahirahkhan/Instagram

 

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