Not long ago Pakistani Television drama seemed famished, with no versatility in characters and stories. But unlike local films, TV plays have taken the plunge to introduce daring concepts and make space for fresh faces. One such name is Iqra Aziz who has slowly but steadfastly made a mark in the industry with her gifted talent. What’s interesting is that she is an actress who possesses a key quality of any good actor — adaptability — she was feisty as the hyper teenager Jia in Suno Chanda and now equally fierce Noori in Ranjha Ranha Kardi.
Iqra — who started working when she was just 14, is still only 20 years old. But she is definitely wise beyond her years which not only reflect in her roles but also her personal life. She is quick-witted, confident and speaks her mind.
Speaking to Instep, the actress — who purposely ignores negative remarks on social media — accepted that she has been a victim of body shaming all her life.
“I feel it is better to ignore and move on even if I am offended with something,” she said adding, “If I put up a pretty picture of myself, it’ll take two hours for people to start praising it and they will forget what I said or did earlier. The sad part is that the criticism is anything but constructive. People don’t realize that it can literally take someone to the edge of dying and that is really bad. If I hadn’t made peace with the fact that I am short and tiny, I would have felt really bad every time I was criticized on my height. Whenever people see me in person, they’re like ‘aap kitni choti si hain’ and then they expect a reply. How should I respond to that? Being a public figure it is important for us to maintain peace within ourselves because the world is not going to change.”
Iqra also spoke on the Me Too movement, expressing that men will continue to behave recklessly anywhere in the world, if we don’t speak up. “If I find any behavior unacceptable or a gaze that’s inappropriate, I say it on the other person’s face, Sir I respect you but I will not accept this,” she said.
Iqra’s stance on victim blaming is clear and she doesn’t shy away from articulating it. “I am amazed to see how people make fun of the #MeToo movement and take it so casually. It is a campaign that’s helping women come to terms with what happened with them, which is otherwise hard to face. Once a woman is able to accept it, she is in a position to react to it so that it doesn’t happen again,” she said.
“Also, one should refrain from blaming the victim for taking so much time to speak out. How can you question someone for not speaking out earlier? Every woman has a different level of acceptance; it requires a lot of courage. The reason they are speaking out now is because society is changing and there is a movement that is encouraging them to finally expose those who have offended them. Women, including those who have been through it, are standing in solidarity. We need to stop victim blaming and need to hear those stories, support each other and take a stand against it,” she added.