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Mehwish Hayat is not conventional by any means. In the past few years, she has made a conscious decision to portray characters that are strong and heroic, whether it was the independent and fearless Marina in Jawani Phir Nahi Aani, Anmol in hit TV series Dillagi or more recently, Amal in Punjab Nahi Jaungi. And Mehwish sort of took off after the release of PNJ, following a dream to sing on stage by touring the USA with live concerts.

We got in touch with her to find out what came next…

“Going forward I have been very concerned about the way that Muslims and especially Muslim women are being portrayed in western media,” she said. “I think that it is up to us to tell our own stories and show the West that the stereotypes being perpetuated are far from being true. We have had a lot of strong Muslim women throughout history and still continue to do so; I strongly feel that this really needs to be highlighted so that we can slowly start to shift perceptions.”

She didn’t elaborate how she planned to do this so we reverted to PNJ and her character.

“Empowering women and being a role model for young girls has been a key thread in all the work that I have been doing to date,” Mehwish reiterated. “None of the characters have been typical downtrodden girls; they are headstrong girls who know what they want from life and go out and get it. Amal in PNJ is the successful CEO of a major thriving business.”

Also read: Music is on Mehwish Hayat’s mind!

Did she agree with how the film ended, since feminists felt that it was regressive of Amal to return to Fawad Khagga after he hit her and displayed all traits of male ass-holism (we just made up that word)?

“When playing Amal, I got a chance to play a strong, beautiful and intelligent woman that was both passionately emotional and courageously smart at the same time,” she replied. “She made sure she let everyone know who she chose to marry and how she would not be cast as the stereotypical ‘good wife’. Through the role, I was also presented with a tremendous opportunity to shed light on several complicated issues that my character faced. Although people can disagree with the way the story unfolded, I am extremely proud of the fans and especially the women who stood up and spoke about it, raising their voices for an issue that mostly gets ignored in our society and our industry.”