"They could've used cinema to promote mutual understanding instead of vilifying us as they do," said the actor.
"They could've used cinema to promote mutual understanding instead of vilifying us as they do," said the actor.

Don't know who those naysayers were who said Mehwish Hayat didn't deserve her Tamgha-e-Imtiaz; she deserves all that and more for using her platform to raise her voice against injustice.

Recently awarded the Pride of Performance award by Norway's Prime Minister, Erna Solberg in Oslo, the actor's speech started doing the rounds on social media soon after.

"We in the film industry, carry a tremendous responsibility. Cinema is a very powerful tool and it has the ability to change people's minds, behaviours and attitudes.

I sincerely believe that Hollywood films and programmes, vilifying my country and portraying us as backward terrorists, has had a profound effect on the psyche of the west. It has greatly influenced what people think of Pakistan," she said.

She named a few shows and movies that perpetuated harmful stereotypes such as Homeland, Zero Dark Thirty and The Brink.

"They have built an image of my country that I certainly don't recognise...These films, combined with others have fuelled the rise of Islamophobia," she added.

Hayat went on to call out Bollywood for doing the same.

"Our neighbours have one of the largest film industries in the world and in a time where they could've used the power they yield to bring us together, what do they do? They make countless films showing Pakistanis as villains.

I understand given our history, upbringing and politics of the region, it can be difficult to remain neutral and in being so, can be seen as unpatriotic... They really need to decide which is more important - nationalistic fervour or a peaceful future."

The Load Wedding star added that Bollywood must acknowledge the damage they've inflicted: "I'm not even asking for more posiitve representation but can it just be more balanced? There's more to us than gun-weilding terrorists and subjugated women. Come on, that's so cliched, let's move on from that."

Mehwish further made an excellent point about how our own film industry should start making films about Pakistan as opposed to just for Pakistan, to show international audiences what we're all about.

Read: A Pakistani woman called out Priyanka Chopra for being a warmonger

So savage and articulate without being patronising. Priyanka, this is how you really promote peace and acceptance, please take notes.

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