Amar Khan’s father warned her not to bring shame to the family | The Express Tribune

Amar Khan’s father warned her not to bring shame to the family | The Express Tribune


Amar Khan has not had it easy with her name. When she was younger, her teacher used to pronounce variations of her name when taking attendance. “Ammar, Amber, Aman – there were so many versions,” revealed the star on FWhy Podcast, once host Frieha Altaf proceeded to beat herself up for mispronouncing the actor’s name.

On her mother’s side, she is the only child. “My parents separated when I was two, I guess. So I didn’t get to spend much time with my Abba. He was in New York, he has a family there,” shared Amar, who grew up in Lahore. “I’ve been raised by a single parent.” 

Coming from a Punjabi household which she jokingly referred to as “dysfunctional,” Amar spoke about how big her family is as well. Her mother, an actor in the industry, was quite active during her time, as per Amar. “My nana was a filmmaker,” said Amar. “In fact, I recently met Shaan Shahid and I told him – my mom, she made a diary of her father – so Shaan’s mother had done a film with my nana. There were some paper clippings that Amma had saved. I showed him that and he was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re the third generation working in this business.’ But he died very young of liver cancer. He was just in his late 40s.”

Amar praised her mother for managing her hardships, applauding the mask she kept on to prevent her daughter from perceiving those obstacles. The actor also lauded her maternal grandmother for taking on the role of a parent while her mother worked and father resided in New York. 

“My mom was always away at work and my father always lived in New York with his family. So technically, both my parents were my nani,” said Amar. The star revealed that she shared a very tight-knit bond with he maternal grandmother, crediting her for making the actor the person she is.

Unfortunately, her grandmother passed away during the first spell of shooting Dum Mastam. However, her grandmother made her promise that Amar would cry when she departed, claiming that she was taking nothing of Amar’s alongside her to the other side. In fact, her grandmother said that she was leaving behind trails of joy and learning. 

Amar also spoke about her anxieties during that period of time, which coincided with the COVID-era lockdown. “I think it was a very tough time,” remarked the actor, thinking back to how her depression was doubled down upon during that point in time. “The good thing about times being tough is that whenever I find myself depressed, I write,” shared Amar further. “I think whatever I have written in my career, I have done so at a time when I was going through something.”

The star also shed light on the struggles that made her and her mother’s bond unbreakable. Sharing in their sorrows and joys with a poignant silence, the star, who studied filmmaking, recalled, “Actually I always wanted to be an actor. I was hiding that from Amma. Because Amma has always struggled. When she started off in this profession, it was out of passion. But then she was a single parent, so even if she did not get the meatiest role, it was her bread and butter. She would take it.”

She continued, “I remember she hadn’t paid my fee for one semester of A Levels and I was not allowed to sit in my exams. Thankfully, they weren’t finals, just mock exams, which take place internally. My business teacher came outside and said, ‘I apologise because you’re a bright student.’ I was always an A-grade scorer. But she said this is the rule, this is the policy and we can’t let you sit.”

Amar furthered, “So I went back home right away and my mother also started wondering that she just left and she’s back in an hour. What exam did she take? The entire way, it kept bothering me that my mom has worked so hard for me. If I go to her and if I tell her, ‘Because you were not able to pay my fee, I couldn’t sit in the exam’ –  I wasn’t upset about not taking the exam. I was more afraid of breaking her heart. And I didn’t say anything the whole day. These are the acting classes that prepare you better than any institute.”

Adding on to the heartfelt tale, Amar concluded, “The entire day, Amma and I did not speak to each other. In dramas and films, we see that in emotional situations, we end up welling up easily. The challenge in real life was to make sure we didn’t tear up in front of each other. We kept hiding. In corners, on my mobile phone, something or the other. At night when I was about to go to sleep, she just came and it was during Winter, so she brought some oranges for me. She kept the oranges and did not say a word but I’m sure she understood that something had happened that I was not able to give my paper. She hugged me tightly and she just broke down.” 

While acknowledging her privilege and thanking the generation before her for paving a path in the rough, Amar admitted that her father had a minimal role to play in alleviating her family’s struggles. “When he found out I was going to enter the industry, he wasn’t fine with it. He wrote to me in a long email. We had a formal relationship. Anyway, I didn’t know him much.” The email consisted of her father saying that by entering her mother’s profession, her father didn’t want her to “inadvertently bring shame to the family.”

“I wrote back, ‘I don’t think I’ll bring shame to mom especially and of course not to you also.’ The way she raised me, she had always instilled in me to be cordial with him, to give him an enormous amount of respect, break that ice, but unfortunately, I could not. And then we never spoke. I was in BNU at the time, graduating, and after that, we haven’t spoken,” shared Amar. 

The poignant and revealing interview doubles as an insightful glance into the Pakistani actor’s life, given that Amar bared her soul, sharing the challenges and triumphs that have shaped her journey in the entertainment industry and her personal life.

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