Updated: July 30, 2021 4:53:22 pm
Some may remember her as Akshara, others might love her for her style statement, however, the world has many reasons to love Hina Khan. After being the regning television bahu for more than eight years, she decided to take a big jump into films. Making her debut with Vikram Bhatt’s Hacked, Hina announced her arrival into films and backed it up with web projects like Damaged 2, Smartphone, Wishlist and more.
The 33-year-old turned heads in 2019 when she walked the Cannes red carpet where her film Lines was screened. On Thursday, the project was premiered on Voot as part of its robust Film Fest. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Hina Khan gets talking about the film, co-producing them with boyfriend Rocky Jaiswal and working with legendary actor Farida Jalal. The former Bigg Boss champ also opens up on the cons of being a celeb, discrimination against TV actors in films and coping with her father’s death.
Excerpt from the interview…
After a long wait of two years, Lines is finally here. How are you feeling?
I was just discussing that I am reliving so many memories. Lines is very close to my heart, as it’s set up back home in Kashmir. Even though I have grown up there, I didn’t know of the many difficult times people go through. We live in a metro, and treat them as numbers but never get to know of the devastation they go through — be it families being divided across the border or people losing loved ones in wars or crossfire. Innocent people die or are living away from their loved ones for years. Lines will bring forth the beautiful story of Nazia and her grandmother, and what happens to them.
Was that the reason you and Rocky decided to back the film as producers?
We backed it because we loved the story. I heard the concept first. When I told Rocky about it, he said let’s co-produce it. It’s such an amazing story and has been put beautifully. It’s not a commercial project but is realistic with raw emotions. I won’t say it’s based on a true story but it’s anecdotal. There are some really unfiltered emotions, and it’s said the way it’s supposed to be.
We also caught a glimpse of Rocky in the trailer, how did he come about. Also, how different is he as a producer compared to a boyfriend?
(Laughs) Don’t even ask how we have dragged him into the film. We wanted an army officer to say this particular line but we were not finding one. Given he has a personality like an officer, we tried our best to convince him to do that part. I almost ran behind him to make him say yes. As for a producer, Rocky is quite strict as we both take our jobs very seriously. However, now he understands that I really put in a lot of efforts in my work, so we have found a common ground.
Tell us more about becoming Nazia and shooting with Farida Jalal
Nazia, in terms of her look, is just a village girl and I have actually gone without make-up for the film. Before we went on floors, I spent time with people from the area to observe the way they talk and behave, to be able to bring forth that simple side. It was really fun for me as I even rode a bike. For Farida ji, what do I say, it was an honour to share screen with her. You won’t believe, she is so updated about everything that’s happening in the industry. She even knows what one wore to the airport (laughs). She might not be on social media but she has all the latest news and has even watched every film. It was a treat to work with her, and even when I wasn’t shooting I would just watch her perform.
Lines put you on the global map when you walked the Cannes red carpet, and also created quite a furore with the ‘Chandivali to Cannes’ comment. Have things changed for TV actors since then?
I don’t know about others but things have changed for me. It did make an impact, a difference, however, I must say that it was not only because of Cannes. It’s also a lot to do about the kind of projects you do, your personality and how you present yourself when networking. And in today’s time, also the kind of content you have on social media. So all these things make a difference. I still have a long way to do but with each passing day, I am trying to better myself.
Have gender bias ever come into play, especially when it comes to remuneration?
Well honestly, I am yet to reach there. I am still taking very tiny, baby steps. So I really wouldn’t be able to comment on that. I think once I am there, I will be able to share my experience. Abhi to bas chote mote paise mil jate hain (Right now, I get my small amount).
It’s said that lines between mediums are blurring but the kind of content that gets created are still very different. As an actor who is looking to win the world, will a daily show still interest you?
I have been saying this for the last year that I have taken a break from television. The medium made me who I am with my very first project, and Akshara, my character is still loved by all. However, I have really worked hard to be known as Hina Khan today and I feel happy that people know me for who I am. I still get calls for TV shows and it breaks my heart to say no to everyone but I want to focus on OTT and the web space as of now. It takes less time and you can try a lot of variety.
While you have always been very opinionated, what is your take on celebs expected to be always vocal on every issue, be it socio-political or current happenings?
It’s not at all necessary. Even I am always asked why I didn’t comment on something. There are times when something has happened, or someone has passed away or even getting married, we do feel emotions but it’s not always important to tweet about everything. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you may not have an option, or it doesn’t match with the universal opinion, you just don’t want to put it out there. You sometimes need time to react, we are not robots to be out there with an expression instantly. I personally also felt that when my dad passed away. For more than two months, I didn’t even have the strength to post a picture on social media. We all need time before we can be out there on social media.
The last few months have been really tough for you, from your father’s death to you testing positive for Covid-19. Where did you find the strength to cope up with all of it?
Pata nahi (I don’t know). I don’t want to talk about what happened but I experienced something — the art of distraction. We humans, even in the worst of times, we learn to move on and want to distract ourselves. And honestly, that hurts. You want to think about what happened but choose not to, and that really pains. But at the end of the day one has to move forward. I think the past few months I have learnt and mastered the art of distraction.
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