2017 has been a glorious year for strong female roles in contemporary Pakistani television. The facade reigning dramas has been a depiction of voiceless women, however, it forms nothing but an empty veil for the spectacular truth that women protagonists have been crafted on the premise of resilience. Writers have unfailingly molded their female characters to be nothing short of strong goddesses built with heavy armor, and how our impeccable actresses have brought such figures to sparkling life goes to show that we really are riding the stars.
So ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, here are 15 of the best, most emphatic performances in Pakistani dramas, female (in no particular order).
Saba Qamar, ‘Baaghi’
Saba Qamar’s loose portrayal as contentious social media star Qandeel Baloch is gutsy and raw. The actress put herself in an incredibly precarious role and shone onscreen with her fiery projection as the star with a dizzying downfall. Her transition from the village girl pining for a dream to the bold girl making Facebook videos showcases Saba’s talent brilliantly.
Mawra Hocane, ‘Sammi’
Mawra proved to the world just how daring she can be in picking roles. The actress as the torn Sammi was no less short of spectacular. Her husband-to-be is murdered ruthlessly by her own brother, and Sammi’s life changes forever.
Sania Saeed, ‘Sang-e-Mar Mar’
What can be said about veteran Sania Saeed? The actress has come a long way from her theater days, and time and time again she proves she is one of Pakistani television’s greatest living performers with her Pashtun role in ‘Sang-e-Mar Mar.’
Sana Nawaz, ‘Alif Allah Aur Insaan’
Sana Nawaz plays the breathtaking courtesan Nigar Begum, who has a void that’s formed a gaping hole in her soul, and beyond the glitz, the glam and all the colors, there lays bare a broken woman who is more alone than ever before. Sana is underrated, yet this role gives her leeway to prove to audiences how to play both a protagonist we root for and an antagonist we hate – both at the same time.
Samina Peerzada, ‘Rasm E Duniya’
Another veteran, Samina Peerzada shines in this family drama. The actress has always stolen presence from whoever shares her screen space and brings about elegance, grace and an oozing warmth.
Ayeza Khan, ‘Mohabbat Tumse Nafrat Hai’
Ayeza Khan played Maheen, a girl who was left fumbling in the dark after a forced arranged marriage that was an emotional whirlwind, after having been denied her one true love. The ending was catastrophically heartbreaking, but Ayeza’s portrayal of a girl who had been stripped of love was laudable.
Sajal Ali, ‘Yakeen Ka Safar’
2017 is Sajal’s year, and her role as Zubia, a girl who couldn’t shake off her turbulent past is commendable. Sajal’s tiny frame is no match for her palette of facial expressions that knock you time and time again, even in the simplest of dialogues. Zubia’s mother is killed by her abusive father, and after an attempted rape, she stays a recluse. Sajal is mesmerizing as a woman fighting her demons, something we’re all doing.
Kubra Khan, ‘Sang-e-Mar Mar’
Kubra is one to watch out for. The actress embodied the quiet and humble Shireen, the girl poked at time and time again by burning hardships. She was part of a tribe living in a rural pocket of Pakistan where women were kept hidden, and where the slightest screw up would catapult one into mayhem. Unrequited love forms the premise of Shireen’s story, and Kubra does justice entirely so.
Ushna Shah, ‘Alif Allah Aur Insaan’
Ushna’s portrayal as a mere beggar fighting for survival to eventually becoming head courtesan of a brothel house has the actress toplining method acting far better than most of her contemporaries. Her emotions range an impressive spectrum, first as the angry beggar with dreams far too high to catch hold of, to the adoringly simple helper at a brothel house, and finally siezing power through vengeance. Bravo, Ushna.
Suhaee Abro, ‘Yakeen Ka Safar’
Suhaee is an actress who shatters you, even if she’s in just one scene. Her role as a rape victim on ‘Yakeen Ka Safar’ never falls short – she is not one who will play the victim. Instead, she fights for justice, and to put the men who did her wrong behind bars, and Suhaee’s softness and supple nature is embedded even in her most startling dialogue deliveries – a splendid delight to watch, as always.
Kubra Khan, ‘Alif Allah Aur Insaan’
It can’t be easy playing a pestering, spoilt girl who wears her heart so precariously on her sleeve, so much so that even the man she loves is frightened by the sheer amount of adoration she holds. Kubra dips her toes into wary waters as Nazneen, the girl who will do anything to be with the man she loves; he’s of a poorer background, and despite being engaged, she will stop at nothing.
Sania Saeed, ‘Sammi’
Sania once again gives contemporaries a run for their money in a breakthrough performance (as per all her past roles) as the hurting mother Chandi, who lost the love of her life at an early age. Sania is a living legend, and you can’t keep your eyes off her, often wondering how she rattles you to your core with a mere flinch.
Sajal Ali, ‘O Rungreza’
Sajal’s ongoing drama ‘O Rungreza’ is questionable as it fluctuates in quality, yet two things remain very constant – Bilal Abbas Khan as Qasim and Sajal as Sassi. It’s a far cry from her role on ‘Yakeen Ka Safar,’ and we see Sajal embody a girl so rude, so arrogant but so inspiring at the same time, it’s an enthralling rollercoaster. She’s outspoken, and her dogged determination to get whatever she desires in the most unapologetic manner thrusts Sajal as quite the actress.
Who has given your favorite performance?