Aisha Khan – best known for films such as Waar and Jawani Phir Nahi Ani – has had everyone talking of late, thanks to her portrayal of Jeena on popular serial Mann Mayal.
But according to Khan, she took up the role upon the insistence of her friend Sana Shahnawaz, who co-created and co-produced Mann Mayal alongside Momina Duraid. Aisha also never expected the show to blow up the way it did. “I think the ingredients for Mann Mayal were all just right. Besides, whenever Hamza and I do something together, it always gets noticed. We joke that we are each other’s lucky charms,” Aisha said.
In fact, shooting the serial was double the fun for Aisha as both Hamza and Gohar Rasheed – the second male lead on Mann Mayal – are her childhood friends. Writer Samira Fazal is also amongst Aisha’s loved ones. “Samira has written some of my most prominent works, so I trust her.”
But friendship was not the only factor attracting Aisha to the play. “I did not want to play the bechari girl role anymore as I have done that enough already. As actors, we have to dare to be different, grow and prove ourselves as being versatile. Jeena seemed like a good challenge to me,” she shared.
Nonetheless, the character did not seem as negative to Aisha initially, as it turned out to be on the series. “When I first came on set, I didn’t understand why Jeena had to be so negative. I thought she was just a girl who is in love and so, I became a director’s actor,” Aisha recalled. “I did exactly what I was asked and it worked, because Jeena became different, powerful and truly hated.”
“People would probably have sympathised with Jeena more and wanted it to be a Salahuddin-Mannu love story.”
To Aisha it feels as though Pakistani scriptwriters are stuck in a rut because the audience does not seem to enjoy stories about female empowerment. “I get a lot of hate for Jeena, even on pictures of me doing other things. But my life doesn’t revolve around Mann Mayal and I don’t revolve around Jeena,” she added