Mahira Khan is reportedly playing a rape victim and survivor in ‘Verna’

Wondering what Shoaib Mansoor’s next feature ‘Verna’, starring Mahira Khan, is all about? The details are not made publicly known yet, but, trusting the sources of Something Haute and The News, it seems the film is set to touch on the highly sensitive topics of rape and abuse of power by the influential people.

Shoaib Mansoor is known for bringing tough subjects to the big screen. The pioneer of Pakistan’s new-age cinema has earlier touched on slew of social and religious matters in critically acclaimed movies ‘Khuda Ke Liye’ and ‘Bol’. This time something equally powerful and audacious is expected from the auteur, making the audience taken aback by his feats of derring-do.

Earlier talking about ‘Verna’, Shoaib Mansoor hinted on the film’s theme was set on women empowerment. He said, “This film is being made by a man of Pakistan, to urge the men of the world to listen to women. It will encourage women to speak up. Khuda ke liye bol verna… (For God’s sake, speak up, or else…)”

We also heard through the grapevine that the film’s story was partly inspired from the murder of Shahzeb Khan, a university student, by son of an influential figure of Sindh in 2012. The murder of the youth sparked country-wide outage against the abuse of power by the wealthy people in Pakistan. The perpetrator was sentenced to death by the court, but, surprisingly, the family of deceased later pardoned him.

Connecting the dots gives us some clue about the story and also substantiates the aforementioned speculations. Only time will tell how the master storyteller weaves these threads in the film. We need to wait till the film release.

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Mahira Khan, who started her acting career in Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Bol’ six years ago, is reuniting with the ace filmmaker in ‘Verna’. She is reportedly playing a rape victim and survivor in the movie, a role she has “taken up as a challenge”. She will star along with musician-turned-actor Haroon Shahid and former TV actor Zarrar Khan in the film.

Zarrar Khan is playing the lead antagonist in ‘Verna’, essaying the character of son of an influential political figure. While talking with The News, the actor opened up on how he landed up in the project after he had bid good bye to his acting career and settled in UAE as a banker.

Talking about how he got into the skin of the character, Zarrar Khan said, “I actually threw my ball into Shoaib Sahab’s court in the first place. I knew how to get into my character, but I did chat with him so that I would know how he has envisioned the character and what facets he had in mind. It helped a lot more since he’s also the writer of the film.”

‘Verna’ is entirely shot in Islamabad and the northern areas. It will be released later this year by Hum Films.

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