“There are a lot of reasons why 2017 was a defining year. Whether it was more and more films coming out, or the Pakistani drama industry doing better than ever. One thing that stood out the most, for us, was the position of women within our industry. Long gone are the days where women are seen as meek people, portraying mazloom roles in television and films. Even their personas outside of their actual work have changed. Women are now standing up for themselves and their rights. And that translates into the type of roles that they’re picking up. And it’s not just our actresses who have done us incredibly proud, this year.
1. Mahira gave a stellar performance in ‘Verna’ and single-handedly upheld the film with her performance
Mahira Khan has been a force to reckon with, this past year. Amidst all the noise that surrounded her and the fact that the film was banned once from showing in theatres, Mahira braved it out and didn’t let any haters or scandals break her down, she stood up to the haters. Her performance in ‘Verna’ was called brave, fierce and powerful. Taking a lesson from her character in the film, she stood strong in the face of the media and trolls after a certain picture of hers did its rounds on the Internet, to become the first Pakistani brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris, and educated everyone and anyone who’d listen, about never backing down and never letting anyone define their worth.
2. Ushna Shah took on the drama industry head on by opting for her role in the coveted ‘Alif, Allah Aur Insaan’
Her character goes through a transition, unlike anything we’ve seen on television, in recent times. From a beggar to an escort, a murderer Apart from playing one of the strongest characters we’ve seen on television, Ushna’s had a crazy year. She also called out her fellow industry people for being hypocritical during Ramazan, not fearing the consequences. Ushna also refuted all the hatred she got for he clothes, and publicly stated that as a woman, she should be allowed to wear whatever she wants, however she wants it. That her body only belongs to her.
3. Saba Qamar took on Bollywood AND the most controversial role in Pakistani TV
Saba has possibly been the most daring actress this year, in the Entertainment industry. She took on the most daring role, faced immense amounts of backlash and fought her way through it. She shone light on the story of the late Qandeel Baloch with her drama ‘Baaghi’ and made it into a drama with one of the highest ratings.
4. Pakistani models took risks and shot photo shoots that broke the norms of society
And people weren’t having it. However, they kept their heads high, chins up and walked right past the hatred. Which is not as easy a feat for everyone.
5. Momina Mustehsan made YouTube viewing records for Pakistan
Paired with the younger Zafar brother, the song raked in more than 7 million views on YouTube. What’s more is that she made it to the BBC’s list of the 100 most influential women in 2017. She’s not only an acclaimed singer but also an active human rights activist.
6. Sajal Aly effortlessly gave us two of the most successful drama serials to have come out this year
Both ‘Yakeen Ka Safar’ and ‘O Rungreza’ have had some of the highest ratings that television has seen, as of late. And in doing so, she literally became the Woman of the Year in the drama industry along with some of the greatest talents that we have.
7. Meera Jee showed us just how amazing and timeless she is
She came out and unabashedly said “No one can become ‘Meera’ after starring in a few movies, it takes years of struggle” in an interview with The Express Tribune. She’s always flaunted her fabulous self wherever she goes. We will always be in awe of the confidence that this leading lady has. And if the rumors are true, we might be seeing her making her comeback into films!
8. Kami Sid showed us just how strong a voice can be and taught us all a lesson or two
Kami Sid set the record for being the first transgender woman to feature in a film and gave us this bomb photoshoot. She was covered by countless publications, both local and international. Her strength and resilience was unparallel and needless to say, she’s here to stay.
9. Noor Bukhari broke all stereotypes and decided to wear the hijab and carried on with her public appearances like the boss she is
In doing so, Noor showed us all that being different and doing whatever you want will go a long way. With the support of thousands upon thousands, Noor has the strength and power to flaunt it as best as she can!
10. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won another award for her work in Pakistan
In spite of the hate that this one woman gets from her own country, she’s a very big reason why Pakistan’s name is on the international film map. She was nominated for 3 Emmy Awards for her documentary, ‘A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness’ for Best Documentary, Outstanding Short Documentary and Outstanding Music and Sound. The documentary won for Best Documentary. Thank you for bringing in the trophies, S!
11. Special mention to Malala, who got into Oxford and made us all a little prouder
Our girl Malala is studying at the Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford, following the footsteps of Benazir Bhutto. She’s majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. 5 years after Malala was shot by extremists for fighting for education for girls, Malala is at one of the most prestigious universities in the world!
Who’s been your woman of the year in 2017?