Instep raises a toast to 7 young actors who have taken their time to make a breakthrough but are finally shining very bright with these fabulous performances.
Pakistan loves its television and in times like this, when there’s very little more for entertainment, dramas are what keep the masses hooked on to something beyond COVID-19 and the global mess it has created. Pakistan also loves its celebrity culture; it’s a mix of love and hate one would say, but people are very emotionally attached and passionate about their favourite actors. We’ve seen blind and impermeable loyalty to actors like Sajal Aly and Yumna Zaidi; they can do no wrong and they have earned their respect through inconsistently impressive work. Then there are veterans like Noman Ejaz and Faysal Qureshi who command respect because they rise to every single character they take on. New to the Top Club, Ahad Raza Mir and Bilal Abbas Khan are current favourites, for a combination of reasons.
All these actors are the usual favourites but we are fortunate to have a frontline of young actors who are willing to lead Pakistan’s league of extraordinary performers beyond the expected. These are actors who have taken time to make a breakthrough but have finally achieved excellence with these roles they are currently delivering.
Film and TV actress Hania Amir has been in the limelight for years since she made an impressive big screen debut with Janaan in 2016. She rose to fame quickly with both TV and silver screen performances that were enjoyed but didn’t necessarily put Hania in the top league as an actor. Last year she was impressive as Daneen in drama serial Anaa but then one felt she was typecast as the rebellious albeit chirpy young girl in Ishqiya followed by Dilruba. All roles appeared very similar and seemed to limit her range as an actress. However, in the past two episodes of ongoing drama serial Dilruba, in which she plays the role of a pretty, flirtatious college student named Sanam, Hania showed range in her character and thus revealed a new and refreshing dimension to her craft. The way she handled grief and shock, after the tragic death of her husband Razi, was phenomenal. Newly married and tragically widowed, she allowed a combination of complex emotions – from sorrow, grief, regret and remorse, to tumble and roll out and the range was very impressive.
Sarah Khan has been around for almost eight years and has a number of small screen projects such as Mere Humdam and Deewar e Shab to her credit. She has picked up appreciation for her performances but more than often has been relegated to being little more than a pretty face. One feels that Sarah’s character Miraal, in ongoing drama serial Sabaat, will be a game changer for her. She portrays a rich, over-entitled young woman who wants to control and micro-manage everyone’s life and can’t take no for an answer. She treats human beings, whether her fiancé Ali or her brother Hassan, as projects and wants them to live according to her rules. Miraal as a character has impact for her cold and heartless attitude and psychotic moves and Sarah’s disposition as Miraal, her attire and her body language, complements the character that she is fitting well into. She is not the antagonist but rather has a twisted personality that lands her and her family in discomfort. Sarah is acing this performance.
With over five years of acting experience, Ali Ansari has played important roles in various drama serials this year. From playing a self-centered brother Azhar in Darr Khuda Say to a considerate young man in Mohabbat Na Kariyo to a hopeless romantic in Kahin Deep Jaley, the actor has delivered some convincing performances lately. He is recently essaying the role of Haris in ongoing drama serial Muqaddar in which he loses the love of his life. Ali has done justice to the role as the character witnesses a transition of sorts; from a sweet and loving partner in the first few episodes to one full of aggression when he is hurt.
One of the leading names in the local entertainment industry, Mawra Hocane has various TV roles to her credit but not all of them have managed to win her applause as an actor. Mawra is amongst the country’s A-listers but it’s for her social media popularity and red carpet dominance more than anything else. Mawra’s journey as an actor, through strong roles in drama serials such as Sammi and Aangan, has been appreciated but half-heartedly. Her recently concluded project, Daasi, didn’t go down well at all. However, one feels that Anaya has changed that. Mawra’s recent-most role, as the simple yet strong character of Anaya in drama serial Sabaat, has been picking up rave reviews and for good reason. Anaya is simple yet strong, she is traditional yet vocal, she is smart and is also very family oriented. She’s the kind of daughter one hopes for and the kind of friend one wishes for. Honest and uncomplicated, she’s a young woman with a very stable head on her shoulders and Mawra is nailing the character. One has to appreciate her fuss free appearance, that has none of the gloss or glamour that actresses these days can’t do without. Lovely in her simplicity and effective in her sincerity, we can’t imagine anyone else in Anaya’s shoes and that’s a solid win for her.
Singer turned actor Junaid Khan took time to establish himself as an actor, when he first made the transition almost 10 years ago. However, with numerous TV roles to his credit, he has come a long way and over time has proven his mettle as an actor. Having played a chocolate hero in multiple drama serials, his role of an antagonist in Hania last year generated praise for the actor. However, his most recent work, as the male protagonist Wajdaan in ongoing drama serial Kashf, deserves appreciation. Wajdaan is a simple character of a man in love and willing to go any lengths to marry the woman of his dreams and Junaid Khan is pulling the character off really well. He is delivering the sensitivity and subtlety that his role demands and is extremely likeable and believable. The actor will soon be making his big screen debut with Kahay Dil Jidhar opposite Mansha Pasha and let’s just hope this impressive streak continues.
Sana Javed does not need any introduction. The actress played the protagonist in one of the most popular drama serials Khaani (2018), followed by Romeo Weds Heer and Darr Khuda Se. However, the performance that not only led to critical acclaim for the actress but also won her an award is the one she delivered in the recently concluded Ruswai. Sana as Dr Sameera gave the performance of her life when she sensitively portrayed the trauma of a gang rape survivor. She was understated in appearance and effective in emoting what a woman in her position must go through. Though the drama suffered its various digressions, no one can deny the fact that Sana Javed gave it her one hundred percent and was the main reason for its success. The actress is gearing up for her next drama serial opposite Bilal Abbas Khan and one is looking forward to seeing her onscreen again.
Hira Mani has some very big hits to her name, for instance Thays, Do Bol and the most talked about Meray Paas Tum Ho. Viewers have also been loving her in Ghalati, which has a lot to do with her onscreen chemistry with Affan Waheed. There is no denying the popularity and hype attached to these projects however, one can’t say that Hira’s performance was essentially the reason for the popularity of these dramas. It was always a combination of other elements. That said, her latest drama Kashf, in which she plays the titular role, allows her to showcase her acting prowess like never before. Kashf is shown as a woman who has voyeuristic dreams and with time, her dreams become a source of reverence for her. Looking to cash in on this gift, her father agrees to partner with the local, corrupt cleric, to have her sit and impart her wisdom to lost souls looking for hope and solutions to their problems. Hira as Kashf is attracting positive reviews for her strong delivery and rightly so. The character is simple and close to reality, more than any of her previous roles, and yet it is very powerful.