The video of the senior actor Firdous Jamal making sexist and ageist remarks about Mahira Khan in a morning show has gone viral all over social media. And the reaction towards Firdous Jamal’s remarks has not been positive, to no-one’s surprise.
Firdous Jamal remarked that Mahira Khan is a, “mediocre sort of a model. She is not a good actress and not a heroine.” He further went on to say that Mahira Khan is too old to play heroine roles. “Iss age mein heroinay nahin hoti, maa ke kirdaar karte hain.” The remarks are not only extremely offensive but also reflect the deeply rooted toxic mentality of our society who deem a woman as too old once she crosses the age of thirty.
The severe backlash these remarks have faced is all over social media. But what is the most refreshing is that while on one hand we have a veteran actor like Firdous Jamal pulling Mahira Khan, the woman who has made Pakistan proud on many international platforms, down and criticizing her based on her age, on the other hand we have another veteran of the industry, Resham, speaking up in Mahira Khan’s defense and showing a rare case of women uplifting women in this industry.
The need for appreciation
In a casual conversation with GalaxyLollywood, which we are putting on-record with her permission, Resham commented on Firdous Jamal’s comments and expressed her disappointment in the veteran for pulling down Mahira Khan like that.
“It’s saddening to see a senior actor making such remarks. If the seniors of the industry would not support and appreciate this lot of actors then who would?”
She further said that Mahira Khan keeps improving herself as an actor and the difference in her skills as an actor before and now can be clearly seen in the trailers of Superstar and Parey Hut Love.
“I feel this is the first time that I have been so impressed by Mahira on screen. She has shown grace and the adayein that have me very excited to see her work now. Acting is something that you improve upon the more you do it. And that can be seen in Mahira’s work. The current lot of actresses continue to work on their craft and groom themselves constantly which is then reflected in their work. It has been years since I last watched a Pakistani film in the cinemas but Superstar and Parey Hut Love have really impressed me and I am looking forward to watching them.”
Resham pointed out the double standards by saying that whenever a Bollywood film is screened in Pakistan that features Kareena Kapoor or Aishwariya Rai, the actresses who have been in this field of work for so long, those films do great business in Pakistan but if a Pakistani actress in the same age bracket is doing lead roles in a film then she gets criticized instead of appreciated.
Opinions should be expressed more respectfully
Pointing out the way Firdous Jamal made those remarks, Resham commented that while every individual is entitled to have an opinion and freedom of speech, that does not mean it should happen in a crass manner.
“I was shocked to hear him say those remarks in such a disgusting manner. A senior actor like him should realize that we have done our best work; now is the time for the current generation to do their best. And we should appreciate them and support them. It is with our positive encouragement that they would continue to grow which would positively affect the industry and it would grow to be bigger and better.”
The social media way of staying relevant
The recent trend of being of actors being in the spotlight by commenting on some other actor has not been missed by Resham. She expressed her dislike about this misuse of social media and said that this way of becoming relevant by pulling others down just for the sake of two minutes of fame is very immature and classless.
“We are seeing it almost every day now that any person who feels left out sitting at home and wants to be in the news would either make a tweet or a post making negative comments about another actor or a politician and get their claim to fame. I dislike this way of thinking and more so, abhor the direction at which our industry is going by doing all this.”
In a concluding note Resham said, or rather appealed to the seniors of the industry as well as the audience of the country, to appreciate the things that belong to us.
“The country we live in, the land that we belong to, this place that we call our home, and the people that we call our own – learn to appreciate them and support them. This must be our collective priority. Instead of looking at others and praising them all the time while criticizing and pulling down our own work, we should focus on positively uplifting what is our own.”
The old Lollywood has always been full of stories of actresses getting involved in petty fights, a behavior that can still be seen some in those actresses. So, it is such a refreshing change to see a veteran like Resham to exhibit such grace and maturity by speaking up in defense of Mahira Khan like this. Our industry, like the rest of the world, desperately needs to set more examples of women standing up for women and we are hoping Resham’s stand would set a positive example for the rest of the industry veterans to follow.
As for Firdous Jamal’s sexist and ageist remarks, so all we can say is that it is because of this mentality that we see young girls, who are barely out of their teenage, taking on roles that have them romancing actors almost twice their age. This toxic mentality has normalized a highly problematic trend that actresses only have a limited shelf life while no one questions the male actors as they continue to work as leading heroes even after reaching the age of 40+.
More power to Mahira Khan that continues to prove that this mentality wrong by continuing to not only lead projects but also shining bright in them.