“I’ve realized how responsible I am for all the women and girls in Pakistan in what I stand for, through my dramas and through my characters. It’s a burden I want to carry.”
Mawra Hocane has done it all. She’s gone above and beyond, struck chords in Pakistani film and television for over a decade, and even successfully completed a University Of London Law degree. She’s been hungry to work for as long as she can remember – from balancing school with theatre during her childhood to currently ensuring she’s booked and busy with projects brimming in purpose, Hocane has no time to rest. And she isn’t quite ready to slow down seizing reign.
In this week’s issue, the Qissa Meherbano Ka star talks evolution, education and enticing life lessons she’s picked up along the way to the top.
What education advice would you give to young women in Pakistan?
“Obviously, the most important advice is that everyone should prioritize their education, regardless of gender. Of course, education is great for future jobs, but it’s deeper than that – it helps you groom and evolves yourself. I feel everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, or at least try to, so education plays a major role in that regard. Plus, my parents instilled the concept of financial independence into my mind from an early stage, so I always realized how valuable my education was for my kids and me to pass similar values onto them. To promote what I so strongly believe in, I’ve recently taken up a project related to the importance of education, and I’m hoping it can create awareness among our people”.
What is a project you are most excited about?
“I’m starting the shoot next month for my upcoming project, which despite being a heartwarming love story, also centers on education. Especially how most children in our society aren’t granted the chance to study what they want or even go to school at all. Education is something we badly need in our country, so I think starting a discourse about this topic will benefit us as a whole. Hopefully, through this drama, we might convince a few people to take action or break out from their age-old shackles of thinking.
What Is Your Life Motto?
It’s a very long quote, but I have it saved everywhere on my phone; it goes like:
“Aye Ibn e Adam!
Aik teri chahat hai aur aik Meri chahat hai
Magar hoga wohi jo Meri chahat hai
Pas agar tu ne apney app ko sapurd ker dia uss ke jo Meri chahat hai
Toh Mein bakhsh doun ga tujh ko wo bhi jo teri chahat hai
Aur agar tu ne nafarmani ki uss ki jo Meri chahat hai
Toh Mein thaka doun ga tujh ko uss mein jo teri chahat hai
Phir hoga wohe jo meri chahat hai!”
I’ve put this as my phone wallpaper to serve as a reminder anytime I feel disheartened about how things are going that indeed I am not the one in charge, and it’s always Allah. He’s the one who’s planning what’s best for me, and there’s nothing much in my control. So the most important life lesson is when you are exhausted and broken, you should surrender yourself to the Almighty because that’s all you can do. I’ve learned that it’s better to accept that some things are not in our power because later on in life when you look back to seemingly bad things that happened three years ago, it turns out it was for the best. Often the bad leads us to the good, but we need to keep faith.
What inspires you to achieve more milestones?
Well, I started working when I was 13 or 14. I used to go to school, come back, go to the academy, and then go to work. My sister and I liked to make the most of our time, so we’d started working in the theater back then. So since childhood, I used to tell my mum I never wanted to feel like I wasted my life. I’d say I’m a workaholic who thinks that even sleeping too much is a waste of time too. If I’m on a shoot from 10 am till 2 am, I’d still be thinking of things I can do after going home – whether I hit the books or rehearse my lines. I really want my parents to be more proud of me and bring whatever difference I can in my capacity, so that’s what keeps me going.
Who is your role model?
I have always been a fan of Nazia Hassan because, from a very young age, I saw Mama listening to her songs and telling me her entire story, sharing tidbits from her life, so she was always there. But what inspired me was seeing how she spoke in her interviews as I watched her on my TV screen as a young kid. Nazia Hassan was so full of love and tenderness for everyone, aligning with my firm belief in always being kind. I think Nazia Hassan isn’t just a role model for me, but the many millions who followed and loved her deeply, for the woman she was and how she carried herself.
What is the best advice your parents have given you?
The best advice that Mama gave me is
“Ba Adab Ba Naseeb
Be Adab Be Naseeb”
I feel like wherever I am in my life is because of my mother’s words that still resonate with me to this day. She always emphasized that the amount of respect you give to people is what you’ll receive in turn, and whatever you want to become isn’t going to be possible without the support of your peers. I feel that it’s crucial to genuinely respect people for what they do and what they add to your life in whatever capacity, and I’m thankful for Mama to have taught me that from an early age.
Watch the Full Interview on our youtube channel!