Mahira Queen Khan Is Indisputably Here To Stay

Mahira would stand in front of the mirror wrapped in her Nani’s sari involved in the craft that she keep’s falling in love with. And she gives words to her relationship with acting, “It also bothers me from time to time, gives me sleepless nights, but there is no other companion I would choose, but acting.”

Our very own Queen Khan is electric, even in composure and silence. Be it in the garbs of winter’s wonder or carrying the sunny glam, Mahira’s flight path in the sphere of the entertainment hub had been frictionless, but of late, it is anything but.

On controversies:

“Put yourself in other people’s shoes before writing stuff”

But that doesn’t bar her from remaining true to her craft and staying motivated, which is very important within the profession she is associated with, and Mahira always holds on to it firmly when working on a project. “Many things [motivate me] but most importantly it’s always the specific project that I’m working on that motivates me. Sometimes it’s my director’s passion for the project, or the script, in any case, I try to create a positive atmosphere so that work also gets easier,” she says.

For the open-hearted soul, her greatest accomplishment is yet to come. “But for the audience to connect with me as the characters I have played, means a lot to me,” she points out.

Mahira is always on the look out to not get sucked into a routine, which according to the industry’s paramount diva ‘isn’t fun’. “You know instantly that you are following a routine. I know very quickly when I’m not feeling the creative kick,” and when bouts of creativity go missing, she goes searching for it. When looking for inspiration, she does not take a flight to fantasia, but sparks of inspiration hit her from all fours in any form, in the dungeons of everyday life. “I am [inspired] everywhere and from everything; I really mean that,” she remarks.

Having tried her hands in films and TV, content is what matters to this leading lady. “As an actor I feel one is acting, be it films or TV, so it’s the same. It’s just that in TV the narrative is longer, so one gets to explore a story/ character more which for an actor is more enjoyable; one can create arches, flesh out roles, but then again in films, the challenge is to convey the same emotions in two hours. Honestly, I love both; it’s the content that matters,” Mahira talks about her medium of choice.

With movies releasing almost every month, is the quality of content being compromised? “We need to indulge in all kinds of films right now; quality is subjective. It’s a great thing that films are being churned out at the moment. Of course, we should all try to make good films, but no industry is consistently making great quality cinema all year round.”

This year has been tough for Mahira – managing work and taking out time for her number one priority.

“Azlan is topmost on the priority list and everything else comes later,” she talks about her son, adding “sometimes it gets hard, but this year was tough, otherwise it’s much easier,” she says.

On the work front too, storms were churned out her way in the age of gatekeeping and publishing which rests in the hands and screens of many – be it the spiralling photos of her and Ranbir Kapoor that were blown out of proportion, or the recent ban on her film, Verna, which was soon called off, Mahira has had quite a year.

Refraining from commenting on the two subjects, Mahira does have a message for the gatekeepers of these times. “Put yourself in other people’s shoes before writing stuff,” says the individual who handles criticism ‘by taking it on the chin’.

But the little things in life are where Mahira finds solace – be it her plate of daal chawal, or her time spent doing nothing with Azlan and her selected playlist of old Indian music playing in the backdrop that transcends her to the 1950s and 60s.

As she is being photographed for MAG, she sings to the faint song playing in the backdrop, trying to recall the lyrics, and as she sings, her hands weave tapestries in the air. It is then that she tells us she likes “working in romantic films; I’m a real sucker for romance.”

Her current film being screened in cinemas these days is Verna,. Even though the film that shows Mahira playing a rape survivor has a strong message, it was its director, Shoaib Mansoor, that made Queen Khan go for it. In a script however, Mahira looks for the thought behind the words, which if speak, make her go all up for the role.

When asked about her role, in the film, “she’s fearless, she’s a fighter,” the star elaborates, who, if wasn’t into acting, would have been a “junior artist. I would probably be working in some field related to filmmaking,” Mahira puts across. And she adds, “I want to start directing, and maybe give myself a little more time, personally,” she says thoughtfully about the coming years.

The shining lady has fans all over, and they are the ones who ‘push me to work extra hard’. Speaking of which, a recent episode comes to her mind.

“This 16-year-old fan had come from a small town all the way to Lahore and made it up to the stage after fighting with God knows who all. He was crying like a baby, had a gift which was his most treasured present from his father, and wanted to give it to me,” and this is one of the many tales from Mahira’s diary of fond memories and these alone make her feel loved.

There may be a list of dreams the A-lister has, but one known to most is when she got an opportunity to work with the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, of which Mahira doesn’t say much but that it was an “amazing experience from which she learnt a lot.”

For you who may be struggling with a dream, Mahira has something to say: “Focus on what you really want and never let anyone or anything distract you from the main goal. Don’t give up on what you believe is right and wrong; keep those values close. And remember, the power of ‘no’ is way greater than the power of ‘yes’,” shares the individual who keeps faith in good times, as well as bad.

The real Mahira is “one with an ‘H’ at the end,” says the leading lady who has been interviewed locally, and globally. But she would want to reverse roles too – and take up the pen, if she could. “I would interview Benazir Bhutto, Madhubala and Princess Diana if I could,” Mahira utters, as she time-travels.

In her moments of fame, and glory, there stands still one point in time where her hallway of recollections comes to life every time she thinks of it.

“It was when my father was in the audience when I received an award,” Mahira says, as her eyes sparkled thinking of that day.

Coming back to present day, Mahira flicks her tresses and rushes, as she has the rest of her day planned with Azlan – a day the duo are to spend reading superhero comics.

Styling: Samiya Ansari
Hair & make-up: Adnan Ansari
Coordination: Umer Mushtaq
Photography: Shahbaz Shazi