Hira Mani - The Girl On Fire

Good looks, talent, a heart of gold – Hira Mani has it all. Who would guess that this petite lass has been married for 10 years and is a mother to two adorable big boys – Muzammil and Ibrahim. She has a successful career to boast of and a happy, close-knit family to be proud of. Off the camera, her child-like laugh fills the room, and in front of it, she turns into a diva who means business. Hira Mani is a quintessential Pakistani beauty and a role model – a perfect example of a modern woman who can manage all areas of her life efficiently.

Most memorable moment?
When I gave birth to Muzammil.

The scariest moment?
The first time my son fell sick, I got really scared.

You’re most nervous when?
Nothing really makes me nervous.

You’re most satisfied/comfortable when?
Whenever I am with my Mani.

First celebrity crush?
Salman Khan.

Someone you wish to work with?
Shoaib Mansoor.

Favourite colour?

Any personality you would like to spend a day with?
Kareena Kapoor. I’d love to take care of her baby Taimur and observe how she manages him and her work, simultaneously.

If you were stranded on an island?
I would die if I don’t get out of there quickly. I can’t stay alone at all. I’m a people’s person. Even if I’m sitting alone in a room, I will call up all my relatives one by one just to have someone to talk to.

Craziest fan encounter?
Whenever I go to a mall, young girls run towards me and show a LOT of affection, which I find is crazy.

If you could wake up as someone else for a day, whose life would you like to live?
I’d like to relive my own life and not do things that I feel I shouldn’t have done.

The most embarrassing moment?
Once my son and I were in the car and he really wanted to go to the loo. So I pulled over the car for him, so that he could do his business on the side, and two aunties recognised me at the exact moment! [Laughs]

If you weren’t doing what you are, what would you be doing?
I would have been a dancer, for sure! I love dancing and I would be teaching and choreographing.

If you were to get stuck in a lift with someone, who would you want it to be?
I’d rather take the stairs! [Laughs]

If you could change something about your appearance or personality, what would it be?
Nothing, main apni favourite hoon!

If you could go back and undo something, what would that be?
I’d undo the decision of taking logic as a subject in intermediate; I failed that twice.

You’re scared of?
Upsetting Mani. I also get really scared of the thought of him getting a second wife. I even dream of it sometimes and wake up crying. Mani just laughs at it and calls me crazy.

Foolproof way to win your heart?
Just be yourself, be natural. I can easily detect when someone is being fake.

Ideal man?
Mani and my father. Today I am able to handle everything so well because of my father. I strongly believe that every daughter is a reflection of her father. Ek aurat ko perfect bananay wala mard hi hota hai.

Ideal woman?
She should be family oriented.

You can’t live without?
My family.

You would never forgive?
No mistake is that big for me. I don’t keep grudges, too. I will forgive and forget everything and move on.

Who/what is closest to your heart?
My own self; especially my thoughts. You should first be in love with yourself and build sync and symmetry between your mind and heart.

You get most emotional when?
I wasn’t like this before, but ever since I became a mother, I cannot see a kid crying, or in any kind of trouble. I feel their pain so much that I console crying kids wherever I see them.

The secret to your lush locks and skin?
I don’t do anything as such, just try to sleep well.

Your work out regime?
I do yoga at 8:30 in the morning, along with treadmill during the day and gymming later on. I am a gym freak. If you ever find me looking dull just know that I haven’t been to the gym; missing it depresses me.

How would you describe your style sense?
It depends on my mood. Often, I try to emulate the style of the heroine in the movie I have last seen. But I am the kind of girl who would move around in a tee and shalwar.

How do you relax after a tiring day?
I relax with my kids; we have story time together. I also have an aromatic candle that is really soothing.

Three things you can’t leave home without?
Lip tint, water bottle and Mani’s wallet. I keep losing my cards so I use Mani’s cards to shop. In fact, if I’m in need of some change, I ask my driver for it.

What makes you impatient?
I don’t have patience at all. I want to get done with the shoot as soon as I reach the set. I am a very impatient person, I can’t sit still. Whenever I sleep, Mani says ‘Hira charge ho rahi hai abhi’. [Laughs]

What are the most important things you have learnt in life?
There is a huge difference in how I am today and how I was 10 years ago. Hira in the past was gullible, weak, sensitive. But today, I manage my work, my kids, house, Mani’s production, everything. I have learnt a lot from life and become a responsible, mature and strong individual.

You are addicted to?

Three words that describe you perfectly?
Emotional, sensitive and filmy.

Women should never...
Lie, because when a woman lies no one can catch her. She can easily fool anyone.

How long does it take for you to get ready?
Five minutes. You will never see me in a three-piece suit; I’ll just put on a shirt and jeans and be ready. I only hide my eye bags and wear a lipstick. I also try to keep my nose red because I think it makes one look innocent.

What would you never wear?
I don’t see the sense in wearing half sleeves. The top should either have full-length sleeves or be sleeveless.

A habit of yours that you like the most?
I like everyone and trust them easily. I don’t find any fault in a person.

A habit of Mani’s that you like the most?
He likes reading the newspaper and is very well informed; you can talk to him about anything.

A habit of yours that you dislike the most?
I am always the only one missing everyone. I would be working and missing the kids or Mani, and they would be completely fine, busy in their own things.

A habit of Mani’s that you dislike the most?
Mani would call me, say whatever he wants and put the phone down. He doesn’t wait for what I have to say.

How have you changed post-marriage?
I was an eccentric, crazy, fun-loving girl before marriage. Everyone would say ‘Shaadi hogi na tou theek ho jaogi’, but it’s funny that all those qualities have multiplied after marriage because I am blessed to have a husband who appreciates everything that I do. I haven’t had to change a bit.

How have you changed post-motherhood?
I have realised that no matter how much your husband loves you, there will be times when he will forget about you. But a child cannot stay without his mother, he will always need her. Mani can eat food made by someone else but my sons will not. That feeling that there are lives that solely rely on you, is beautiful.

When did you realise that Mani was the man you wanted to marry?
I always knew I wanted to marry Mani because I was a huge fan of his. I had always liked him a lot even before we had met.

How did the proposal happen?
I was engaged to someone else at the time when Mani and I met and was going to get married in six months and move to Dubai. I chased Mani and proposed to him, and he had turned me down, as well. But I was confident that he would say ‘yes’. It was after about three months, Mani realised he wanted to get married to me, too.

Most memorable moment after marriage?
I have been married for 10 years now. Every moment I spend with Mani and the kids is so memorable that I can’t express in words.

Who is more expressive, you or Mani?
I am! I can’t hide my expressions at all. Mani says you act for a living and can’t even hide your own expressions.

Who is more romantic, you or Mani?
We both are. As for me, I am always in a romantic mood. [Laughs]

What is your 10-year plan?
My son plays football really well. I want him to be able to play professionally. He has also started showing interest in acting, so I want him to pursue that. I want my kids to achieve all those things that I couldn’t.

Things that you have learnt from Mani?
Mani has calmed me down a lot; he has taught me to ignore people and not to get paranoid.

A project you wish you were a part of?
I don’t have a sister or a daughter, so I want to play a mother to a daughter because she is more sensitive and needs more care. And I want to play both the characters myself.

An advice to a 10-year-older self?
I hope she is more mature than I am, but she should be a very good person by heart and nature.

An advice to a 10-year-younger self?
I had to let go of a lot of projects that other actresses did and got a lot of fame after. I was busy with the kids at that time. But I wish I could do some of those.

The drama you last watched?
Recently I watched Black Mirror on Netflix, and I loved it.

What is the one thing that you love doing with Mani and the kids?
Cooking! My kids, Mani and I love cooking. We cook and keep an open house for everyone. Mani makes desi food really well and I cook more continental.

An advice to young couples today?
If you have invested two years in a relationship and it doesn’t seem to be working out, it will not work out in the future, too. Understanding is inborn and it happens naturally. I don’t agree with giving it time and seeing how it turns out. If you can’t even get along with someone as a friend before marriage than it won’t happen later, as well.

Hair, Make-up & Photography: Akif Ilyas