What it takes to be Mahira Khan

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What it takes to be Mahira Khan


She’s given decades to the industry and throughout her career has proven that she’s an actress par excellence.

The name Mahira Khan itself has become synonymous with the word superstar, the starry-eyed girl who started off as a VJ has now become the biggest stars of the country and she has proven time and time again her might with each project that she opts for.

Khan started her career as a VJ in 2006, hosting the live show Most Wanted before hosting a reality show Weekends with Mahira in 2008, where she played music videos, spoke to celebrity guests and took live phone calls of fans.

Her range really has no comparison, from the starry-eyed Ayesha in her debut film Bol, to the naïve Khirad in Humsafar to the self-centered and vain Falak in Shehr-e-Zaat, to the hopelessly-in-love Shano in Sadqay Tumhare, to the envious Saba in Bin Roye and then a carefree Manizeh in Ho Mann Jahan, I could keep writing and her accomplishments still wouldn’t be complete.

Khan is one actress who has proven that an actress can be good looking at the same time  have acting capabilities to match to make it to the best actresses of the industry. Her stints have been successful one after another, be it her dramas, her movies, her short films, telefilms or even the ads she chooses to do.

Proving her prowess in the Pakistani entertainment industry for years, the actress signed up for Raees in 2017, alongside the hero that most heroines can only dream of. Romancing the king of romance himself, Shahrukh Khan, the actress’ skills in the film were massively talked about and she hasn’t since then looked behind with enough film cred to her name today. But this wasn’t the first time the audience across the border had heard of Mahira Khan, she was already popular across the border after a channel broadcasted Humsafar, gathering her a ton of very loyal fans.


But with tensions between the two countries growing, India banned all Pakistani artists from collaborations and the starlet could not be there in-person to promote the film and did most of the promotions online. But that did not stop her from becoming the top grossing actress in Bollywood as well during the first quarter of 2017, Raees went on to become a commercial success, earning over ₹3.0 billion (US$39 million) worldwide making Khan the first Pakistani actress to join Bollywood’s 100 Crore Club.

And while things may have been a little difficult for artists working in India, Pakistan was Khan’s territory and in 2017 she made her way back to the silver screen with Shoaib Mansoor’s Verna where her performance in particular was lauded by critics and movie buffs where she played a rape victim seeking justice, from her body language to her plight, the audience felt everything with her. Her acting in Verna scored her the award for best actress at the Lux Style Awards. The actress then turned to Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi’s rom-com flick 7 Din Mohabbat In alongside her Ho Mann Jahan co-star, Sheheryar Munawwar in 2018.

This is the same year when Khan graced the Cannes Film Festival representing Pakistan and putting Pakistan on the map when it comes to art and their artistry in the entertainment industry. Khan also won an award honouring her remarkable contribution to screening industry at the star-studded UK Asian Film Festival, where she was featured as a special guest representing Pakistan. In the same year, the actress was taken on as the United Nations Ambassador for Refugees earlier in 2018 because of her stance on different humanitarian issues concerning the world and especially the refugees.

The actress then went on to sign one of her highest grossing films in Pakistan, Ehtishamuddin’s Superstar, alongside Bilal Ashraf where she played Noori, a struggling theater artist who falls in love with a star and ends up getting betrayed after he chooses his career over his love for her. The film was exactly what Khan needed, from the picturesque dance sequences to her dialogues, it proved her prowess as a literal superstar for all screens – be it TV or films, it was her reign! In the same year, 2019, Mahira Khan attended the Paris Fashion Week representing her country.

The following years kept the actress busy shooting for Bilal Lashari’s The Legend of Maula Jatt, the film was going to be an epic re-union of one of the most adored on-screen couples that fans had been praying for ever since Humsafar – Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan. But with the pandemic on the rise, the release of the film was halted, before it met some legal battles which added to the delay in its release.

Giving in to the fans who missed her on TV screens, Khan went on to play a role that called for intensive training, playing Pakistan’s first female Lieutenant General Nigar Johar in the biopic Aik Hai Nigar that superbly unfolds her passionate and courageous life, and it was not an easy feat. The starlet spent days working on her salute, her body language and the ruggedness that the character asked for. She had to breathe and live like General Nigar to play her, the telefilm also starred Bilal Ashraf. The telefilm was critically acclaimed to be one of Khan’s best work, but for Mahira, sky was the limit! She made her TV drama comeback with Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay and while some believed that the drama glorified toxic relationships and cousin marriages, Khan’s acting was in a league of its own. From being the broken Mehreen to an outspoken Mehreen who was anything but a damsel in distress, the drama did highlight the effects of toxic family relationships and how they impact children.


Khan also ventured into the territory of short films and dare we say, she conquered that too! Featuring in Prince Charming with Zahid Ahmed opposite her and Sheheryar Munawwar in the director’s seat, the actress brought forward the very real issue of post-marital depression. Portraying an issue so gravely dominant in the society was a feat that no one else could have done better than Khan herself. It won over the critics and shut down the trolls who had stereotyped Khan as eye-candy in most projects.

The starlet has just finished shooting for Neelofar alongside Fawad Khan, which is now under edits and has recently ventured into producing with the web series Baarwan Khiladi alongside Nina Kashif, calling it their passion project. All set to hit the cinema screens, Khan’s film Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad is to be released this Eid-ul-Azha where she’ll be starring alongside Fahad Mustafa, yet another superstar of the country.

Apart from being busy in her projects, Khan has come a long way, she does not settle for regressive scripts anymore and is very cautious when choosing scripts for her projects. She’s always stayed away from controversy and does not let trolls get the best of her. Never have we seen the actress throw shade or wash dirty linen in public like other stars in the entertainment industry and has always taken the high road no matter how big the controversy surrounding her was. In a recent interview, the starlet opened up about all that she had been keeping bottled in for years, the actress shared that she failed to understand why journalists and critics feel apologetic when praising her. In the same interview, the actress admitted that her role in Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay was indeed a little regressive and how she had initially declined the script but due to some unforeseen circumstances that called for the actress to stay in Karachi, she took the project and expressed that she wanted to play the grey character, Mashal, but the director casted her for Mehreen Mansoor – the main lead.

The star also shed light on how she does not get enough credit for her roles just because she’s ‘the Mahira Khan’ and will probably never be enough. “I find it so sad that I work really hard on my characters but I don’t get the deserving appreciation. I have to constantly prove myself, I am playing a blind girl in Neelofer, what do I have to play, next? A monkey?”

With that being said, it’s high time that people stop taking the actress for granted and give her the due recognition that she deserves for she is the biggest star the industry has at the moment and her legacy shall be remembered for years to come. From playing a character as naïve as Khirad to being a badass in Verna, one cannot beat Mahira Khan when it comes to the diversity of roles that she’s played throughout her career as they speak volumes of her prowess as an actress and with Baarwan Khiladi out now, her prowess as a producer as well!


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