‘Actors are sensitive’: Maya Ali calls out critics for ‘harsh’ reviews after watching a single episode of a show

‘Actors are sensitive’: Maya Ali calls out critics for ‘harsh’ reviews after watching a single episode of a show

She and costar Bilal Ashraf want them to understand the work that goes in a project before judging.
Updated 26 Jan, 2023

The Pakistani drama industry is often criticised for regurgitating the same content over and over. Critics feel it is their right to voice what they think is not working but according to actors Maya Ali and Bilal Ashraf, those critics do not fully consider what goes on behind the camera. Calling out critics, Ali said they write their “harsh” reviews after a single episode, not even bothering to watch the entirety of the drama to understand the progression and the work that goes in to making it.

In an interview with Something Haute, the actors spoke about the need for mutual respect between actors and reviewers. Ali went into detail about how even streaming giants like Netflix don’t always produce the best content, some are hits and some are flops. She added that critics don’t reflect upon why an actor picks similar scripts. It may be because the actor feels more suited to a certain type of gig or because they have to run their household, she reasoned.

Addressing drama critics, she said, “I have a request from you guys — when you give a review, you watch the first episode and give your verdict. No one knows what’s going to happen in 25 episodes, what turns the story will take but your judgment is here after the first episode. There are so many actors who feel this but don’t say anything. In winters, they’re spending nights shooting and in summers they’re doing the same under the scorching sunlight. I think it’s easy to sit in an air conditioned room and give a review. “

Ali requested more empathy on their part. “If you do want to give us a review then work with us for 90 days and you’ll understand how a person is commuting from home and what kind of work they’re doing,” she remarked.

Ali noted that though sometimes the criticism is actually helpful, it is not worded kindly. “I’m not saying that you guys spew negativity, many times it’s good things that we take up with our production [houses] saying, ‘Look, people are not stupid, they have started to understand especially because of Netflix, etc so do better.’ But the words they use are very harsh, very harsh. I’m not only talking about you but others who don’t even know the r of review.”

She pointed out the insane expectations from actors to just take it without taking it to heart. “Do you know that actors are sensitive? People say, ‘Oh you’re an actor? You should withstand criticism.’”

Establishing that “constructive feedback” is what’s needed, Ashraf gave his two cents on the matter. “I want that before giving us any feedback, they should make a drama or, say, something that’s five minutes long. Then watch it. It’s easy to sit and judge. But as far as I’m concerned, I’ll just say that a hit or a flop for me is a state of mind. It doesn’t matter. I agree with Maya, only we know how much effort and hard work we’ve put in. Respect should be mutual,” he added.