Mansha Pasha Talks Exclusively to Masala Magazine about Laal Kabootar, Her Controversy with Sadaf Kanwal and Her Views on Bollywood

Mansha Pasha Talks Exclusively to Masala Magazine about Laal Kabootar, Her Controversy with Sadaf Kanwal and Her Views on Bollywood

Mansha Pasha is one of those actresses who believe in accepting the challenges and not following the stereotypes. Her film Laal Kabootar is Pakistan’s official selection for Oscars

Mansha Pasha is known for her strong characters in Pakistani dramas and films. She has always avoided following the path defined for Pakistani heroines on the television and films. Mansha Pasha prefers interesting characters over the stereotypical heroine roles usually offered to the women in the Pakistani showbiz industry. She has done many critically acclaimed projects like Shehr-e- Zaat, Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Mera Naam Yousaf Hai. She made her debut in films with Chalay Thay Saath in a supporting role. She worked as the main lead in a critically acclaimed film Laal Kabootar which also happens to be Pakistan’s entry for the Oscars.

Mansha Pasha recently spoke to Masala Magazine about Laal Kabootar, her controversy with Sadaf Kanwal and her views on the Bollwyood.

Were you expecting Laal Kabootar to be the submission from Pakistan for Oscars?

Yes, I mean in the sense that it is a very well made film. When I saw the film myself n the premier, it had all the ingredients necessary for a good film. Great storyline, shot really well, the whole thing came together. It was a great film. I am very critical of my work. When I saw, I thought it was a great contender. Obviously, I did not know that it will be selected. I knew it had a very good chance. Now that it has been selected I am very happy.

How would you compare Laal Kabootar to your previous projects?

I think much more than me changing as an actor, the industry is evolving. It changes every few months. In Pakistan, the film industry has started quite recently as compared to the rest of the countries. The last few years have been instrumental. Every year you see new filmmakers and artists who have come back from abroad bringing all the expertise back to Pakistan. The journey was not all about my evolving but more importantly about the industry’s evolution.

How do you weigh in on how Indo-Pak region views ‘heroines’. Have you been offered those ‘typical’ roles or have you stayed away from them on purpose?

I think that it’s mostly by choice. In the television, I have been offered many such roles. I could do one such role but not all. If I don’t find a project and character interesting I can’t sell that to the audience. My challenge is finding the project and the character interesting enough. Finding the project and character interesting is my biggest challenge. If I find a character and project boring and think anyone could do it, I would not do that role.

How hopeful are you of Laal Kabootar making it into the Oscar nominations?

It would be a dream come true but let’s take it step by step. The first step was getting selected form Pakistan. Being selected was a great achievement as many great films were made in Pakistan last year and all have their own standing. The second step is getting shortlisted for the Oscars which happens in December. I really hope it goes there. First, let's concentrate on getting shortlisted.

What are you working on next?

I am a part of a new film called Kahay Dil Jidher with Junaid Khan. We have just wrapped up our first spell. Let’s see how it goes.

How would you respond to the jibe at you by Sadaf Kanwal on Ahsan Khan’s show?

I think I have said everything that needed to be said. Everyone can have an opinion but it is important for the industry people to respect each other. It is okay to criticize people on their art but not personally.  She is a great model and I have good respect for her. Many models came out and wrote about it. It’s fine.

What’s your take on Bollywood and the recent Priyanka Chopra controversy?

I think we all agree that the role of art and culture in films should be to promote harmony among people. Bollywood has now become politicized. In the last year, many films either showed Muslims or Pakistan in a negative light. We saw what happened to Fawad and Mahira Khan. They were not able to promote even their own films. It started on that side. We can’t expect things to happen and no one reacting. In a  country of billion people, you can’t keep promoting this narrative; dehumanizing all people from Pakistan in particular and Muslims in general.

Mansha Pasha is among those actresses who have tried to break the stereotype of weak and wailing women in the dramas and films. According to Mansha Pasha, now the trend is changing. We see strong women around us in our daily lives so not portraying them on the screen will be unfair. Her film Laal Kabootar has already been selected for the Oscars. Fingers crossed for Laal Kabootar making it to the shortlisted films.

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By Saadia Ahmed
Saadia Ahmed is a Bollywood and cheesecake fanatic with no obvious interest in space travel. She tweets @khwamkhwah day in and out