Pakistani actress Mehwish Hayat has been making waves internationally. She was recently awarded Pride of Performance in Oslo, Norway and the starlet used the international platform to make her voice about Pakistan and Kashmir heard world wide.
Also, after the recent incident pertaining to Priyanka Chopra, insulting a Pakistani-American with her condensing behavior and calling herself a patriot for encouraging war, Mehwish Hayat, has penned down an opinion piece for CNN, which openly speaks about the hypocrisy Chopra is endorsing as a UN Goodwill Ambassador and simultaneously supporting war.
“Chopra’s response to her questioner in LA as well as the February tweet, did have the effect of both shining a light on the crisis in Kashmir (despite India’s media blackout and food blockade there), and forcing many of us to think about celebrity activism, its uses — and its abuses,” writes Mehwish Hayat.
“Celebrities who act as charity spokespeople should always focus on humanitarianism. Chopra — again, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador — should not be using her voice to legitimize a regime opposed to the values she claims to represent,” adds Mehwish stating that Priyanka had hypocritically said that they were all here for love and represented otherwise.
Mehwish also states that Bollywood, as an industry, has been too often been used to fuel hate and Islamophobia.
“Perhaps alarmed by Hollywood’s open opposition to his ally Donald Trump, Indian PM Modi has arguably co-opted and weaponized the country’s film industry. It is difficult, often impossible, for Pakistani actors to find work in India. Pakistan is a Muslim majority nation, and Islamophobia is a top-down industry in India: at the top, hyper-nationalist films, songs and slogans teach the masses to hate,” writes Mehwish.
“This makes Chopra’s mistakes potentially all the more costly. Rather than use her position as a US-based celebrity to broaden what it means to be an Indian celebrity, she has fallen into the same jingoistic role that her fellow countrymen are forced to adopt at home. It’s this kind of failure that tempts many observers to insist that celebrities stay out of politics completely. Just look at the damage those ill-informed starlets can cause, they say, wading into issues they know nothing about. They should shut up and stick to entertaining us — in silence,” the Punjab Nahi Jaungi starlet adds further stating ill informed celebrities cause more damage than they actually think about.
Mehwish Hayat concludes on a point writing that Priyanka, alongside other celebrities have made a mistake by lending their name to racism dressed up as patriotism, they have done us all a disservice, and the fact that Kashmir was not a trivial issue to be played with. She adds that people with a platform should focus more on human suffering and counter negative stereotypes, inviting her Indian colleagues to participate with her on a noble cause of the same nature.