Pakistani drama actors are up against Netflix and Amazon Prime – and guess what, they’re winning! These are the 8 actors who wowed us in 2019!
The year was a big one for Pakistan Television as the twelve months were filled with high-quality dramas that were made worth your while due to brilliant performances. Be it veteran Humayun Saeed’s take as Danish in Mere Paas Tum Ho, Saba Qamar’s headstrong Mannat or Imran Ashraf’s outstanding Bhola from Ranjha Ranja Kardi, every actor outdid has outdone themselves.
So let’s throw some light on the four best male and four female performances of the year and how they made 2019 memorable with their magnificence. First up on our list:
1. Adnan Siddiqui (Shahvar in Mere Paas Tum Ho)
This is not the first time that Adnan Siddiqui has played a villain on TV; however it is the first time that he has done that in two ongoing plays Mere Paas Tum Ho and Yeh Dil Mera. In the former, he plays a rich businessman who impresses the wife of a middle-class person who leaves her husband and child for him. In the latter, he plays a rich businessman (again) and an over protective father – the suffocating kinda love. He therefore, casts a shadow of doubt on everyone he meets, including his daughter’s suitor from abroad. Adnan delivers a fabulous performance in both characters and steals the show, making 2019 his year of dominance.
2. Ayeza Khan (Mehwish in Mere Paas Tum Ho)
Remember the middle-class wife who left her hubby in Mere PaasTum Ho? Well, Ayeza Khan played that character and her Mehwish was the most hated TV personality of the year. Every Saturday, her fate changed and by the time you get to read this, she will be back to a sympathy seeker from being a money seeker. Yes she did Yaariyan and Thora Sa Haq in 2019 as well but none of the plays was able to match Mere Paas Tum Ho, where she played the classy and beautiful bone of contention between two men, (before landing out of contention completely).
3. Bilal Abbas (Wajih in Cheekh)
Not even his super patriotic naval officer in telefilm Laal could make people fall in love with Bilal Abbas Khan; such was the impact of his performance in Cheekh. As Wajih, the person who throws off his sister in law’s friend from a building, he slipped into the bad guy role as if it were made to order for him. His mannerisms, sudden change in expressions and his pretense as an innocent person being framed for a crime he didn’t commit – every aspect of his character was played out brilliantly. Yes, he loses the battle in the end but not before pulling off a convincing performance and making life miserable for his entire family, the family of the deceased girl and her sister in law, who came out as victorious in the end.
4. Humayun Saeed (Danish in Mere Paas Tum Ho)
It was his comeback on TV after two humongous hit films; the last time he did a play, it went off the charts so Mere Paas Tum Ho was always going to be huge for Humayun Saeed. Even he wouldn’t have imagined that the play would go onto become the most successful TV drama of all time. Be it the dialogue about his wife (do takay ki aurat) or the slap he delivers to Shahvar (Adnan Siddiqui), every nuance of Danish’s was appreciated and obsessed by the audience. It may seem far-fetched but some even credit the sudden rise in the Stock Exchange to Danish who became rich through trading on the stock exchange in the drama. Whatever the reasons, Humayun Saeed enters 2020 on top of his game and proves that age is just a number – superlative actors stay in demand and in the audiences hearts forever.
5. Imran Ashraf (Bhola in Ranjha Ranjha Kardi)
And then there was Imran Ashraf who stayed on our TV screens the whole year round. He was the ruthless Rehan Chaudhry in Inkaar who stabbed his friend’s bride on her wedding day; he played the good brother in Jaal opposite Ali Kazmi, he also played the love interest of Neelam Muneer in Kahin Deep Jalay but that’s not all. There was the role of Bhola that took the country (except veteran actor Firdous Jamal) by storm. Paired with Iqra Aziz in Ranjha Ranjha Kardi, Imran Ashraf was on top of his craft as he made people believe in the character more than the actor. It was a role delivered so powerfully that it was considered an unspoken given in the industry that the award for Best Actor would go to none other than our Bhola.
6. Saba Qamar (Mannat in Cheekh)
Saba Qamar has been around for over a decade and has delivered some of the best performances on Pakistan Television. However, with Cheekh, she was seen in a new avatar as the hero of a murder mystery. Despite the presence of veteran actors Aijaz Aslam, Noor ul Hassan, Nayyar Ejaz, and Shabbir Jan, Saba Qamar stood tall throughout the play where she not only took down her friend’s killer but also her own brother-in-law played horrifyingly well by Bilal Abbas. In enacting the different shades of her character, from playing a hapless girl to a hopeful one; Saba Qamar proved that she is a class apart in Cheekh, which was also the perfect way to make fans forget her Baaghi character.
7. Sajal Aly (Chammi in Aangan)
2019 might not be as big a year for Sajal Aly as 2017 and 2018, yet with Alif, Yeh Dil Mera and Aangan she managed to blow away her fans and foes alike. However, Chammi from Aangan remained her most iconic role of the year when she played a youngster in love and even crossed the levels of decency to ensure that her love doesn’t end up elsewhere. She was slapped for being herself, and was married to the wrong man before she had a happy ending in the Ehteshamuddin period drama that also featured Ahad Raza Mir, Mawra Hocane among others. It was the same year when her engagement to Ahad Raza Mir was announced, making this pairing all the more memorable!
8. Sana Javed (Sameera in Ruswai)
Although she was part of both Romeo Weds Heer and Darr Khuda Se, Sana Javed reached an excellence in her performance in Naila Ansari’s Ruswai, where she played the role of a rape victim. Her dialogues on returning home, her expressions before and after the incident and the way she won the audience’s sympathy is something only an actress with multiple hits to her name could do. Even though Darr Khuda Se was aired at the same time as Ruswai it gave the audience a double Sana Javed delight, which was proof that the snub at Lux Style Awards last year had nothing to do with her performance.
2019 has been special for every actor in this list and one hopes that they raise the bar post-2020. Will there be a bigger drama than Mere Paas Tum Ho next year or will there be a more serious take on dramas revolving around rape, we will have to wait and see. These 8 Pakistani actors performances have established one thing for sure – that drama serials in Pakistan are far from over and despite the emergence of Netflix and Amazon Prime, Pakistani dramas will keep their place until these platforms manage to come up with something bigger, better and beyond imagination.
Omair Alavi is a senior entertainment journalist who has been reviewing films, conducting interviews and writing about dramas for the last 20 years. He has recently joined Fuchsia as a contributor and will be writing about everything under the sun.