In a recent interview, Actress Sonya Hussyn talked about something that surprised a lot of us.
She talked about how she was offered the lead role of “Mehwish” in the latest controversial drama series titled “Merey Pass Tum Ho”, and that she refused to do it.
When asked why she’d let the role go she replied “I have issues, there’s already no acceptance of women in our society, I didn’t want to do anything that would make things even worse”
She goes on to say that she understands that it’s a story, fiction, they’re all characters but that she has a problem with things like these;
“Mein khawateen ko bura nahin dekh sakti”
“I can’t see women in a negative light”
“This is why I couldn’t accept the role, I didn’t want to go that far”
She was then asked if she regretted her decision after the show blew up the way it did. She replied “Bilkul bhi nahin” “Not even a little bit”
She said that her decision was very well thought out and that she’s happy for Ayeza Khan – the actress that eventually went on to play “Mehwish” in the actual series. Adding that it’s a really challenging role and that she did justice to the character.
This is something that doesn’t usually happen.
Traditionally women that work in the media weren’t respected, they weren’t taken seriously and they felt like they should just take any role that comes their way because “there’s plenty of other actresses out there that’d kill for this role”, and lastly, refusing a role and then talking about it publically could hinder future working opportunities.
A lot of these are still problems today. If women in the spotlight talk about anything that sounds even a little “feminist” they’re labeled as “problematic”, “hard to work with”, “nakhreybaaz”.
Sonya talking about her reasons to say no to the project might inspire other actresses to really read about the roles they consider, and if they don’t align with their beliefs – to let them go.
In Pakistan, we’re seeing a rise of actresses that acknowledge the poor position of everyday women and the challenges they face, they’re now standing up for them and raising their voice.
Television is a huge part of our culture
It’s the medium that’s the most commonly used here and a lot of the times, it shapes the way people think. It’s time that the people behind the scenes start to really think about the content they produce.
Maybe soon, there won’t be many actresses that want to partake in the shows that do more harm to women in a country where they’re already policed on every single thing they do.