SKJ Bollywood News

Fawzia Mirza, Pakistani, Lesbian & Not Afraid To Make Movies On Her Sexuality

The spirited Fawzia Mirza who is currently shooting Signature Move in Chicago with Shabana Azmi introduces herself as “a lesbian, Muslim, Pakistani, actor, activist, writer, producer, lawyer “& creature of passion.” 

And that’s quite a ferocious fusion of  seriously challenging and threatening roles for Fawzia,whose short films and a one-woman play entitled Me , My Mom & Sharmila—a homage to Sharmila Tagore—have stirred debates and incited discussion among South Asians all over the world.

But Fawzia sees no harm in assuming all the roles that she has assigned herself. “I was told by everyone who mattered that  it was dangerous for me to an out-of-the-closet lesbian who is a Pakistani in America. But I’ve never played the game by the rules. I wanted to be all the things that I saw myself being.And if some of my roles made other people uncomfortable, so  be it. As long as I am comfortable being a Pakistani lesbian who is also an activist and an actress, I see no reason for anyone to be upset about it.”

Upset, her Pakistani brethren certainly were. This , Fawzia discovered when she went to her country of origin with her play Me, My Mom And Sharmila. “I am a Canadian by birth. But my ties with my heritage in Pakistan are very strong. No one can take away my lineage and my roots from me. I’ve been to Pakistan eight times to  visit my relatives.The one occasion when I faced protests and threats in Pakistan was when I took the play there. I couldn’t perform it in areas populated by Punjabis.It was an eye-opener.”

The trollers haven’t made Fawzia’s life easy either. “There is so much hatred on the social network.My initial instincts were to block the ugly attacks on my sexuality,my nationality, my work and my identity. But instead I chose  to tackle the hatred, try to reason with it.”

This is when Fawzia realized her moves as an individual and an artiste are not going to please everyone. “The threat is everywhere,not just in Pakistan. But that won’t stop me from being the person I am and doing the things I want to do.”

High on Fawzia’s wishlist is a visit to India. “I’ve grown up on tales of India and Bollywood . I’ve never visited  India. But I plan to tour the entire country soon, specially now when I’ve worked with Shabanaji. I find my bonding with India stronger than ever.I hope I get a visa to travel  in India.”

Fawzia’s mother  on whom Shabana Azmi’s character in Signature Move is based is the biggest Sharmila Tagore fan. “I’ve done a one-woman play based on my mother’s adoration of Sharmila Tagore. It was an unforgettable moment in my life when Sharmilaji came to see my play in October 2015 in Chicago. Initially she took notes, then she just watched. It was surreal.”

Fawzia’s mother figures prominently in her film which Fawzia says is an amalgamation of many people and situations in her life. “I find the cultural diversity in America very fascinating.Not only are Indians and Pakistanis very similar but even Mexicans are bonded by food and family as we are.The film has character’s I know personally. The characters are based on the the many people  from the Indian, Pakistani and Mexican community that  I know.”

Fawzia’s film is also about the Mexican form of wrestling Lucha Libre

Says Fawzia, “Yes I find female wrestling such an underrated and misunderstood practice. My character’s lover is a Mexican-American, and that where the wrestling comes,”

In  real life Fawzia has found immense solace and peace with her soul mate Ayesha. “She has brought so much happiness and comfort in my life. I am grateful for all that I have. Including the chance to work with the wonderfulShabana Azmi in my first feature film. Jennifer Reeder who is celebrated for her short films, also makes her feature film directorial debut with Signature Move. I guess I just got lucky.”

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