A UK based British Asian newspaper has named multiple Pakistani celebrities including Sajal Ali, Atif Aslam and Bilal Abbas in its Top 50 Asian Celebrities In The World list for 2021.
Sajal, ranking seventh, is the only Pakistani national in top 10, having surpassed global stars, including some from Hollywood, the music industry, television, literature, and social media, as her performances in several recent dramas and a web series her in the spotlight.
"It is a great honour for me to be included in the top 10. The challenges Covid-19 brought with itself continued in 2021, but this did not deter me from working hard," Sajal said of the honour.
"In fact, 2021 was one of my busiest years with two films and two dramas back-to-back. As we are inching closer to 2022, I would like to take this moment to reiterate my commitment towards my craft and would like to assure my fans around the world there are more exciting projects to witness in 2022."
It is pertinent to mention that the list is curated that based on those who did incredible work, made a positive impact, broke boundaries, shattered glass ceilings, generated fan attention or were just inspiring in their own unique way.
Public input also played a part as countless posts were generated by social media users nominating their favourite.
Other Pakistanis in the list included Atif Aslam (25), Hadiqa Kiani (30), Yumna Zaidi (35) and Bilal Abbas Khan (39).
Showbiz journalist Asjad Nazir, who put together the list, told this reporter that Sajal has become an icon for a new generation.
"The prolific actress has gone from being the crown princess of Pakistani entertainment to the undisputed queen. Her work on web, TV, film, and the music video space in 2021 backs that up," Asjad said.
"Sajal breaking new ground for Pakistani actresses with roles she is taking on like her first big international project and setting a new benchmark with incredible performances. She is blazing a trail and others are following in her footsteps.
Meanwhile, topping the list was India’s biggest Pan-Indian star Prabhas for changing the face of the world’s biggest film industry, dethroning Bollywood, and his secret philanthropic work.
British Pakistani Riz Ahmed ranked second for his path-breaking work in Hollywood, which included becoming the first Muslim to get an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, starring in big budget film Encounter and speaking up against Islamophobia.
Third placed Priyanka Chopra-Jonas who is still the most famous Indian on the planet.
Fourth placed Mindy Kaling who remains the biggest South Asian power player in Hollywood having developed multiple projects, along with being a strong symbol for working mothers.
Highest placed singer, Shreya Ghoshal (5) delivered more hit songs in multiple languages than anyone else.
Pakistan born, American actor Kumail Nanjiani (6) shattered the ultimate cinematic glass ceiling by playing a superhero in mega-budget Hollywood film The Eternals.
The rest of the top 10 is Half-Indian British pop superstar Charli XCX (8), British actor Dev Patel (9) and India’s fastest rise star Shehnaaz Gill (10).
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