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Why 'Raees' Mahira Khan is unhappy

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
January 18, 2017 15:43 IST
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'I have a desire to go to Mumbai, but it is not possible and not in my hands.'
'My friends and parents tell me not to think about this, but I have put in lot of effort in this film.'

Pakistani actress Mahira Khan seems unhappy about not being able to promote her big Bollywood debut Raees in India.

In an interview to the BBC's Urdu service, she said, 'I feel now, kaash I could go. I have a desire to go (to Mumbai), but it is not possible and not in my hands. My friends and parents tell me not to think about this, but I have put in lot of effort in this film.'

'I am happy the film is releasing, but at the same time, I am unhappy because I worked for two years on this film. Raees is very special to me. I have grown up watching Bollywood films, watching Shah Rukh Khan's films. I am happy that I worked with him,' she added.

Directed by Rahul Dholakia, Raees will release on January 25.

A month ago, Shah Rukh Khan and Raees Producer Ritesh Sidhwani met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena founder Raj Thackeray and assured him that they would not get Mahira to India to promote Raees.

After the Uri terrorist attack in September, Raj Thackeray declared that he would not let any Pakistani actor act in a Hindi movie.

He took a hard stance on Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil as it featured Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.

Johar had to apparently trim Fawad's role; the actor could not promote the film in India either.

At his meeting with Raj Thackeray Johar agreed to pay Rs 5 crore (Rs 60 million) to the Indian Army's welfare fund as a 'punishment fee' for casting a Pakistani actor.

Does Mahira fear that her role would be cut in Raees like Fawad's was?

'I do not know about Fawad Khan's role and how much it was cut. Seeing the Raees promos, I feel my role has not been cut. Right now, I am nervous about people liking my work. I want them to love my acting,' she replied.

When she was asked where her career is headed, since she would not be able to work in Bollywood, Mahira said, 'I do not think that way. I did not think of my career even when I was doing Raees. Life is unpredictable. That is the biggest lesson I have learnt in the last one year.'

'Over these two years,' she added, 'I am scared to answer questions. I do not think and answer. I say whatever comes to my mind.'

'I am very self-doubting; it has come out of experience. When I read my interviews, I feel, is it me? I constantly wonder if someone will get hurt if I say this or that. It is unfortunate that I am scared to say what I feel.'

'I have become like an old aunt,' the actress said, saying 'nazar nahi lag jaye.'

Quoting Frank Sinatra's advice to George Michael, Mahira said, 'I want to say this to my fans: Thank you for being there when it got lonely.'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf /