Mehwish Hayat’s Cinematic Journey and Cultural Impact

Celebrating Eid proved to be extra memorable this year for actress Mehwish Hayat  since it involved going with friends to the cinema to enjoy the launch of her new film, Daghabaaz Dil.

“It’s a supernatural thriller romantic film,” she told British Muslim Magazine.  “I play a girl who is very confident, knows what she wants, very forthright and wants to make her dreams come alive.  There is family conflict, a lot of chaos, drama and supernatural activities.  A fun role to play as there is a lot of shifting within the character as she transitions throughout the film.  It was a challenge for me as an actor.”

Even before its official launch at Eid, the film trailer was arousing considerable interest, with viewers describing it as ‘spine-tingling’.  Flowers wilt as Mehwish glances at them, or she suddenly flies in the air by the door, while the reluctant groom tells her she is beautiful – but her tongue desperately needs a filter as ‘you blurt out whatever comes to your mind. 

Apart from those cinema visits, Mehwish was looking forward to a break over Eid. “I’ll be at home, very chilled out, enjoying lot of coffee and food and relaxing with friends and family. I’ve been so busy all year and travelling on business searching out possible film locations during Ramadan, so this is the only time I can catch up with everyone.”

There can be little doubt about her reference to ‘busy’.  Quite apart from filming Daghabaaz Dil, she has been actively setting up a new production business trading as Pink Llama Films.

Asked about the unusual name, Mehwish laughed and explained.  “Llamas a bit underrated like us.  Pink is my favourite colour and is also a very creative colour.  I like llamas and the colour pink so Pink Llama!”

“In 2022, I was the first Muslim superhero when I appeared in the Marvel TV series Ms Marvel.  The story was based around Partition with my character Aisha having to flee India to go to Pakistan.  It showed the world what Pakistan was really like, our culture, our lives, our food. It was ground breaking for a Pakistani actor as we were being reported as we were.  It was a delight working on the theme as it was a cause I had been fighting for and is something I am focusing on.”

“There are so many stories that have never been told, so many acting milestones, so many artists and singers. There are a lot of unique stories from our folk tales, cultural stories that people are not aware of.   My company mission at Pink Llama is to represent those stories to the west, and show who we are, the true Pakistan past and present.  It is a not a stereotyped portrayal, as we will tell stories in a more balanced way, so that people in the west can understand them and appreciate our culture.” 

The stress on diverse representation is set to a key element in the work of Pink Llama, as she wants to provide opportunities for people to from under represented communities to tell their own stories.  As a Muslim woman, she is passionate about content that reflects the experiences and perspectives of Muslim majority cultures, and is keen on storytelling that shifts perspectives and cultural themes.  

Mehwish has always been socially active both as a celebrity and an actor, seeking to act as a trailblazer within South Asia and the Middle East.  Over the years, she has spoken out on global media about human rights abuses and the underrepresentation of Muslim and Pakistanis in the mainstream media. Within the UK she is patron of the UK Muslim Film charity seeking to improve representation of Muslims on screen.

Work on concepts and ideas for the London based. Pink Llama Films were underway for some time before its official launch last year when she commented that they were “collaborating with brilliant partners to package these projects at the highest level for the global marketplace. They are universal stories that just happen to centre compelling characters from underrepresented backgrounds.’

She told British Muslim Magazine “We want people to contact us. We are very open to people getting involved in the process of making films, sharing stories, getting involved. People should write to us on the email on our website: www.pinkllamafilms.com

“We have a slate of projects and stories we are working on which are global, relatable but welcome contact from others.”

As to when the first will be announced – watch this space! It will not be long.

Mehwish says, “I am very close to announcing the first project this summer. I have been working on this project for a few years, and it is one I am most excited about and I am taking the lead role. It is a story about a woman, a figure who really represents us, a historical character at at the same time relatable to people of today.”  

Main Image Credit – Disney

British Muslim Magazine

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