Mehwish Hayat biopic of Benazir Bhutto is a treat to watch. The biopic titled ‘The Deal is Signed’ is coming soon. It explores all this and more about the commanding and charismatic Benazir Bhutto.
Determined eyes on cheekbones that could cut. Benazir was smart and beautiful. She was born to the magnificent Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to learn all the tricks to do well in politics. But was there a price that she had to pay for getting and deserving the best of both worlds? Her father got hanged by Zia’s autocratic regime on unfound charges. All her siblings, except one sister, got assassinated in the quest for power. She got blamed by people close to her. It included her niece, Fatima Bhutto, for murdering Murtaza Bhutto. She got assassinated in the name of power in broad daylight.
Why Was a Biopic on Benazir Bhutto a Long Time Coming?
The name Benazir means ‘Incomparable, Matchless, Peerless, Unsurpassed’. Bhutto was the first of four children. She was born to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his Iranian wife, Begum Nusrat Isphahani. Bhuttos were an aristocratic family. They were wealthy landlords who had ruled Sindh for ages. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s father, Shah Nawaz was a prominent politician. He served as the prime minister of the Junagadh state.
Benazir got her education from the University of Oxford and Harvard University. She was the president of the Oxford Union. She graduated with honors (cum laude) in comparative government. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto observed her. She was preparing her for leadership in a country where a woman’s witness is half of that of a man.
She started formal campaigning as opposition after her father’s death. Benazir was an eloquent orator. Her speeches were powerful. They left an impact on the people who believed woman-lead nations get doomed to fail. She became the first woman prime minister of a Muslim country. It happened on 2nd December 1988, at the age of 35, making her the world’s youngest prime minister of the time.
She held the office from 1988 to 1990, and then from 1993 to 1996. She wrote many books. This includes
- Daughter of Destiny
- Pakistan: The Gathering Storm
- Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West.
She gave birth to three children: Bakhtawar, Bilawal, and Aseefa with her husband Asif Ali Zardari.
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After years of exile, she decided to come back to Pakistan and contest for 2008 general elections. Benazir got assassinated on 27th December 2007 by unknown outfits. Political analysts and average joes speculate her husband as responsible for the assassination.
She said, “You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea.”
The ideals set by Benazir still live on. It was necessary to create a biopic that gives a deeper insight on what went on in the unusual life and death of Benazir Bhutto.
How Does Mehwish Hayat Fit the Bill?
The National award winning Mehwish Hayat is one of the most paid actresses of Pakistan. Fun fact: She was born the same year as when Benazir was sworn in as the prime minister.
Hayat started her career in acting and modeling from television. She starred in various hit dramas such as Man Jali, Meray Qatil Meray Dildar and Mirat ul Uroos. She also worked in Hum Sab Umeed Se Hain as a parody master and gained immense popularity. From the year 2014 onwards, she started to work in movies. Her body of work includes projects like
- Na Maloom Afrad
- Jawani Phir Nahi Aani
- Load Wedding
- 3 Bahadur, and
starring opposite the likes of Humayun Saeed, Azfar Rahman and Fahad Mustafa. She has also done a dance number that goes by the name ‘Billi’.
Hayat has received mixed reviews from the public. The conservative faction decries her dance movies and attire. She has, but, received great praise by the critics. She has been appreciated for her immaculate timing and on-spot expressions. The girl stands out even in flop movies.
Mehwish Hayat fits the bill as Benazir Bhutto. Both women exude an air of confidence and determination.
Also, they both have the same cheekbones, if that counts.
Mehwish Hayat Biopic: What Will it Include?
Mehwish Hayat biopic work started in June 2018. It happened even before the project started filming. She said,
Indeed it is a difficult character to play. It is being written as of now and it is going to take some time, but I cannot wait to play it. I’ve been reading up about her. The more I get to know her, the more inspired I get and I feel a lot of pride. But at the same time, I feel sad also that we lost such a great leader.
When questioned about the Benazir Bhutto biopic project, Mehwish Hayat said that,
InshAllah. It is a huge subject and a very complicated one, her story is so inspirational. Our current generation and the one that is to come, needs to see her contributions… She was the first woman Prime Minister of the country. The world needs to know about her.
The actor praised the politician by writing on Instagram that,
We have broken the stereotypes. Today would have been Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s 65th birthday. It is an ideal time to reflect on her undoubted achievements. I have never been a political person. There is no denying the great strides she made for women’s empowerment and equality in our country. It is everything we are still fighting for even today. There was a time when she made women believe that almost anything was possible – she gave us hope and inspired us to reach for the stars… She was a remarkable woman and I look forward to giving life to her story soon.
She confirmed the news of playing the part on Aik Din Geo Kay Sath. The Bhutto family got surprised to hear the news. Benazir’s oldest daughter, Bakhtawar tweeted that their consent was not taken.
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What Transformation Does an Actor Need to Play a Protagonist in a Biopic?
A biopic is a film dramatizing a particular person’s life. It is usually a public or historical figure. From extensive diets to heavy prosthetics, actors have pushed themselves. They have gone beyond recognition to play a real life figure. It is part of the job to look like the person an actor is playing. To achieve this, actors may
Gain or lose weight
Go bald or use wigs
Chisel their muscles, or lose tone altogether
Also, they have to adopt mannerisms of the person they are playing. This comes from watching old videos. It also comes from having discussions with people close to the subject of the biopic. For this project, Mehwish Hayat had to lose weight. Mehwish Hayat biopic is about a young Benazir. Also, she has to gain weight to play the older version. She also required prosthetics and extensive classes on Benazir’s mannerisms.
Benazir Bhutto is the only woman prime minister of Pakistan to date. This may inspire Young girls to push through. The release date of the biopic is not clear yet.