Kubra Khan ‘didn’t want to do’ 2019 item song | The Express Tribune

In a candid interview with host Yasir Hussain, acclaimed Pakistani actor Kubra Khan, known for her performances in Sang-e-Mar Mar and Alif, shared her experience with an item number. A frequent feature of Bollywood and Pakistani films, the item song has become a hotly debated topic over the recent years. As per Kubra, her venture into this musical number was prompted by a misunderstanding.

“I was told that there is a song in Superstar, it’s a cameo of you, it’s very nice,” the actor discussed how she was approached for Dharak Bharak in the 2019 Mahira Khan starrer. “It’s a film within a film that the song is for. So I said okay, I was told that it’s a nice dance song that me and Bilal (Ashraf) will do together.”

Kubra emphasised how in her conversation with the film’s directors and producers, she failed to realise that she was agreeing to an item number. “It doesn’t occur to you that this could be an item number because he told me it was a song for a film within a film. It was an entire scenario,” she explained.

“It was when I reached the set that I realised. I was shown the ghagra choli the night before the shoot,” Kubra disclosed. The celebrity shared how she talked to the team regarding her dress for the song without realising she would be wearing that for an item song.

“I was asked how high can we go with the ghagra choli so I said not high. They asked me what about strapless and I declined, I said we could go with very short sleeves. They also asked me about the choli’s back, so I said there you can go slightly lower as it won’t be seen on the camera,” she recounted.

On item numbers

However, the song was not just a misstep for the Jannat Se Aagay actor who expressed how unpleasant she found the ordeal. Kubra said, “The part where I enter in the song where I am walking and people are going crazy. When we were shooting that part, there was a path ahead, the camera was right in front of me, there was a bunch of boys standing and I was walking in with style and sass.”

She furthered on, “The boys were whistling and exclaiming when I gave my first walk and I had tears in my eyes that I don’t want to do this.” For Kubra, her reaction was born out of her personal reservations about item numbers in general. “Honestly speaking, [item numbers] are a personal preference. It’s the idea of objectification.”

On a lighter tone, she referred to her song costar’s shirtless look and added, “I am not going to lie, I don’t have a lot of issues with Dharak Bharak to this day because I wasn’t objectified because of that, Bilal was.”

Elaborating on how these songs typically have problematic lyrics, Kubra brought up the 2014 Mehwish Hayat hit song Billi from Na Maloom Afraad. “Even if you look at Billi, Mehwish has done a phenomenal job in it and she didn’t do it in a vulgar way as well so that’s okay but if you look at the song’s lyrics, they are not appropriate at all,” she contended.

“I won’t do item numbers,” Kubra asserted, underscoring the importance of context and appropriateness in the portrayal of female characters in the industry. Divulging more of the conversation that preceded Dhadak Bhadak’s shoot, she said, “I asked them to tell me if there’s a context to the song. He said it’s all context, Mahira has gone to watch a film and she’s a superstar and that film’s heroine and hero are you and Bilal.”

New in town

Opening up about her early days in the industry, the actor shared how she entered the scene without knowing many people. “When I came to the industry, I didn’t know anyone,” Kubra admitted. “I didn’t know who was who. I knew about Ahmad Ali Butt and Nauman Ijaz. And I knew about Mikaal because someone had sent me his commercial.”

She went on to describe how her unfamiliarity with the showbiz giants impacted her interactions with other celebrities. Kubra remarked, “So I knew three people in the industry which is why many people were so intrigued because people would come up to me with big names and I wouldn’t know who they are.”

“I would treat them normally like I would treat a friend. For them, it was confusing that why is she not bringing this up. Not that my actor friends ever did this but there were others who would behave like this,” she clarified.

Bonding with Mahira Khan

Commenting on her camaraderie with Mahira, with whom she starred in the 2021 drama series Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay, Kubra relayed how others would frequently spot similarities between the two. “I didn’t know Mahira when I worked with her. Before we worked together, everyone would tell me that my personality is very much like Mahira and to her, they would say the same that you guys are very similar.”

“So when we worked on Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay, that was us being like we’ve been hearing that a lot, now we need to know why. Then we understood that it’s because we’re both a bit strange,” Kubra stated with a laugh.

Love and beyond

The actor also shared her desire to take on a strong romantic role. Discussing the sorts of acting roles she anticipates, Kubra confessed, “I used to be like I want to do this or that but now I really wanna do one good intense romantic drama. I am filled with so much love, it needs an outlet.”

Off-screen, she maintained, her approach towards love is slightly ambivalent. When asked if she believes in true love, she replied by quoting a dialogue from her drama Alif where Sajal Aly’s character tells someone, “It’s unbelievable that you have never been in love” and is met with a cynical response, “I have this is why I don’t believe in it.”

The actor’s pragmatism extends to her thoughts about marriage. “I have stopped planning things in life. I planned once, it didn’t work out. I’m not gonna plan again. Whenever Allah wants it, it will happen.”

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