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“If an actor isn’t an intellectual, should they be hated for it?” – Hira Mani

As bubbly and happy-go-lucky as she may appear from a distance, Hira Mani is actually a highly sensitive person who gets stressed out very easily. On the sets, Hira can be seen pacing back and forth, biting her nails, worrying about her scenes and whether she’ll deliver or not.

“If one isn’t an intellectual, should he/she simply die and be hated for it?” she asks very earnestly while discussing her move from hosting to acting. Back in the day when Hira was the host of a television talk show, women such as Shahista Lodhi and Nadia Khan were ruling the talk show arena. Hira had decided then that she should switch to acting because she didn’t claim to be an intellectual, or feel comfortable discussing socio-political topics that she didn’t know too much about.

hira mani

“Is it necessary to be a philosopher? Bhai I’m not this person, what do I do?” This opens up an interesting discussion. Why are actors expected to be scholars or intellectuals and why are they castigated for not having answers to heavy topics, such as feminism, for instance? “I’ll tell you honestly, I don’t know how to define feminism. I would much rather tell you that please, explain xyz concept to me. If you know better then please teach me because I don’t know. Better to admit that you don’t know something then to pretend that you do.”

Hira’s honesty doesn’t come as a surprise, considering how she recently gave an interview on Samina Pirzada’s show that exploded on the Internet. In the interview, many claimed that Hira admitted to ‘cheating on her fiancé’ with her ‘best friend’s then-boyfriend, Mani’ (Hira’s now husband). The confession received a lot of backlash with many people calling Hira all sorts of names for being a ‘cheater’ and a ‘terrible friend’.

“First of all, I never said that she was my ‘best friend’ or that Mani was dating her,” Hira took the opportunity to address the whole fiasco. “Secondly, I was a young, immature girl when I got engaged. I wanted to make my parents happy so I got talked into it. When I saw the opportunity to talk to Mani, my favourite actor and TV personality, I took it without intending it to be anything other than a fan talking to their idol. I fell in love in the process, is that so terrible?”

Hira is complete unperturbed by the backlash though. “I don’t even care, I have a wholesome life and things to do. I do understand if people got upset, but if they had seen the interview they would have known that I was apologetic about the way Mani and I ended up together. But failures make you smarter, so when something goes wrong, I take it as a lesson and not as something to cry over.”

At this point it seems unfair that Hira has to justify herself for simply being honest. “But you know, what’s interesting is that I’ve been retelling this story for years, this wasn’t the first time I talked about how Mani and I met.” Why did it blow up now then? “Because I’m successful now, so people care more,” she answers with a smile.

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