Before I delve into Mahira Khan and her latest video that’s gone viral, let’s just discuss a few facts.
Fact number 1: Mahira Khan is an EXCEPTIONALLY talented actress.
Whether you agree with much else that’s about to follow, none of us can deny the fact that Mahira has proven herself time and again. Her diverse range and effortless portrayal of the character she’s taken on has long enamored countless Pakistanis. Moreover, she’s been lauded for the same.
Fact number 2: What Mahira Khan does in her time away from our screens has absolutely nothing to do with us.
Now, many would argue and say, “Oh, but she’s a public figure.” And yes, she is. Does she owe us her life to the extent where she’s forced to be a symbol of purity and morality, though? Nope.
Fact number 3: Here are a few statistics from a report regarding smoking in Pakistan by the WHO:
“31.8 % of men, 5.8 % of women, and 19.1% of Pakistan’s adult population currently use tobacco in one form or another. Of these, 17.9 % of men, 1 % of women and 9.6 % of the adult population overall are daily cigarette smokers, while 4.4 % men, 1 % women and 2.7 % of the adult population are daily waterpipe smokers. Moreover, 10.5 % men, 3.5 % women and 7.1 % of adults use smokeless tobacco daily. Among youth, 13.3 % of boys, 6.6 % of girls and 10.7 % of all youth currently use tobacco or a tobacco product.”
This indicates that there’s a much bigger problem at hand. But, instead of focusing on bettering these figures, we want to focus on women who smoke instead. Because, haw. How dare they? Aurat ki itni jurrat? Moreover, we’ve narrowed this witch hunt down to female celebrities, out of which Mahira Khan has been targeted the most.
With these facts in mind, let’s finally focus on the video.
Mahira Khan was caught on camera (sneakily, perhaps, for she seemed to be in her element, chilling while remaining completely oblivious to the camera.)
I saw this video and the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Not again.”
I wasn’t concerned about the fact that Mahira Khan was smoking. I understand that what she does in her downtime is her prerogative. No, what concerned me was the fact that she had just stepped out of a major controversy along the same lines.
You know? White dress. Cigarette in hand. Ranbir Kapoor by her side – who was also smoking, but people gave zero fucks because, again – haw, aurat.
There are a bunch of things that irk me about this entire fiasco. The hypocrisy behind the outrage, the breach or privacy and people sharing this video with the caption, “Haw, look at this addict. Yeh banegi role model?” would be some of those things. To drive my point home though, I’ll refrain from stating my opinion. Instead, I’ll simply share a few images that should do the talking.
Let me also point out something even more ironic. These pictures, perhaps barring the last one (also, only four out of the NUMEROUS pictures I found) seem to be a part of a photoshoot. As in, these guys were paid to be in these pictures that were evidently going to be public.
And these pictures aren’t new either. So, matlab, outcry kahan hai bhai?
Nahi hai outcry. Why? Because these are pictures of “men being men.” These are pictures of something that, despite being just as hazardous, is a social norm that no one points fingers at. But agar Mahira ne galti se apne free time main privately cigarette peeli, toh sab peeche parh jao.
I’ll be dead honest, I’m not a die-hard Mahira fan, so I don’t really have much reason to be biased here. What I do know is that it’s absolutely ridiculous to hound her for the choices she makes in her own time.
Yes, smoking is hazardous. But Mahira isn’t advocating for smoking. In fact, if anyone should be mad, it’s her over this clear-cut breach of privacy.
And, let’s be REALLY honest with ourselves.
If we were bothered about celebrities setting bad examples, we’d raise our eyebrows at Fawad, Sheheryar or Hamza. But we don’t.
In fact, we’d stop every man we see smoking openly on the streets. But we don’t.
We’d pay attention to the fact that smoking is a habit that’s been plaguing our society since before Mahira was even born. And maybe, we’d give a fuck about the horrifying statistics associated with smoking in Pakistan. But we don’t.
Kyunke ungli sirf tab hee uthani hai agar aurat saamne ho.
Aakhir main, meri sirf yehi darkhwast hogi ke Mahira Khan ko chain se saans lene dein. Stop dragging her each time a video or picture goes viral without her consent. And if you do want to make a big deal about it, apne haath main pakri cigarette pehle bujhayein, yah apne betey ka packet pehle confiscate karein. Shukria.
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Cover image source: @mahirahkhan/Instagram