Hajra Yamin, who began her career with theatre in 2011, made her television debut in 2016 and has some remarkable performances to her credit, including drama serials Tau Dil Ka Kia Hua, Tabeer and Baandi, with the latter coming to an end earlier this year. Last year the actress ventured into films with Aabis Raza’s Maan Jao Naa (that didn’t fare well at the box office) followed by her second feature film, Pinky Memsaab that released in Pakistan and Dubai last December. Written and directed by Shazia Ali Khan, Pinky Memsaab turned out to be Hajra’s breakthrough project and generated rave reviews with critics and the public both appreciating her work. It was for her work in Pinky Memsaab that the actress got nominated in the ‘Best Actress’ category at the Lux Style Awards 2019.
Given her body of work, Hajra Yamin is among the emerging generation of versatile actresses who are passionate about their craft and opt for roles that are diverse.
Hajra can currently be seen in three drama serials: Naqab Zan, Aas and Ehd e Wafa. In Naqab Zan she essays the character of Farhat, the eldest sibling, who is always composed, more family oriented and is willing to compromise on issues. In Aas, she plays the role of Hania, a career oriented and headstrong girl, who has a mind of her own.
“Though both the characters are completely different from each other, my track in the ongoing drama Ehd e Wafa has started from the ninth episode. I am playing a journalist in the series, which features Ahad Raza Mir, Osman Khalid Butt, Ahmed Ali Akbar and Wahaj Ali in pivotal roles,” Hajra Yamin told Instep.
Apart from television and film projects, the actress is still affiliated with theatre and has not given up on this artform. Earlier this year she performed in Zain Ahmed and Bakhtawar Mazhar’s play Heer Project, which was a modern yet feminist take on the classic Punjabi folktale Heer Ranjha. “At least once or twice a year, I make sure that I take out time for theatre. It always feels good to go back to your roots and learn something new each time,” she said, adding that there is a theatre project in the works and that she will share details as soon as things are finalized.
Talking about portraying positive or negative characters onscreen and the risk of being stereotyped, Hajra asserted, “We need to make a shift in showing career oriented, opinionated and strong headed female characters. Stepping out of the realm of positive and negative portrayal of women will make it easier to understand and see them just the way they are; which could be unpredictable. We’re all human,” she continued. “We need to realise that characters can’t just be set in either positive or negative roles. You have to show both sides, so that the audience may relate better to them.”
While there are some progressive, strong female characters portrayed on TV, we mostly see dramas that revolve around weak and vulnerable girls. Why is that so, one asked?
“I always hear producers say that the reason they show repetitive victimization of women as well as emotional and physical abuse on women is because the audience asks for it. I feel like this is an excuse that is used to avoid the problem at hand and it further stops them from resolving the issue,” she responded.
As for drama serials highlighting social issues, the actress went on to say that there is no harm in producing dramas which showcase social issues as long as they’re portrayed in a way that sends a message to the people.
When asked about her upcoming projects, Hajra shared that she is currently working on a TV serial and also reading a script for a film. “As far as film is concerned, I still haven’t found the script I can connect with, as my priority is to look at how strong the character’s own story is and how challenging I find it as an actor,” she concluded.