Haseena Moin: Last of the dramatists

March 28, 2021

The legendary playwright behind memorable serials such as Ankahi, Dhoop Kinare and Tanhaiyaan passes away at age 79.

The creator of some of the most memorable characters in television’s long and debatable history, legendary playwright Haseena Moin passed away in Karachi at the age of 79. She has left countless fans around the world mourning her loss.

Haseena Moin was the genius behind classic PTV dramas from the 1970s to the 1990s, and even wrote for films, stage, and radio during her career.

Born on November 20, 1941 in Kanpur in British India, Haseena Moin migrated to Pakistan in 1947 with her family. She received her early education from the Government College for Women and later pursued MA in History from Karachi University. She was destined for greatness, an achievement that began when she became the first ever writer in Pakistan television’s history to pen an original script – Kiran Kahani – at a time when adapted screenplays were the norm.

Haseena Moin began her career in the late ‘60s with Radio Pakistan and moved towards television in 1969 with a special Eid play called Eid Ka Jora. That play kicked off her illustrious career as a writer; it’s a career that will always be celebrated.

Her debut serial Shehzori became a hit while Kiran Kahani helped her in becoming a household name in Pakistan and beyond. Uncle Urfi and Parchaiyan in the 1970s then established her as a leading playwright and she carried that tag well into the 1990s with Ankahi, Dhoop Kinare, Tanhaiyaan, Aahat, Kasak and Jaane Anjaane. She will posthumously make her digital debut with Abhi Nahi on Rinstra; she had penned the series on breast cancer, of which she was also a survivor herself.

Haseena Moin was ahead of the times. Her dramas usually revolved around a female protagonist long before the word feminism became synonymous with strong female characters. Be it Beena in Uncle Urfi, Sana Murad in Ankahi, Zara and Saniya in Tanhaiyaan, or Doctor Zoya in Dhoop Kinaray, Haseena Moin knew how to make the audience empathise with and aspire to be the characters she wrote.

She also dabbled in films like Syed Kamal’s Yahan Se Wahan Tak, Usman Peerzada’s Nazdikiyan, and Jawed Shiekh’s Kahin Pyar Na Ho Jaye in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s respectively. However, Raj Kapoor’s Henna (1991), which introduced Pakistani actress Zeba Bakhtiar as the titular character was her most successful film venture across the border. She introduced Zeba Bakhtiar to Raj Kapoor.

She would also be remembered as someone who was a master at creating characters that felt relatable and lifelike. Who doesn’t have an ‘Appa Bi’ in their family who dictates orders or fears their eldest relative returning from abroad or met a Hasnat Bhai who acts funny without trying or a Qabacha who takes himself way too seriously and knows a Buqrat who has the answer to everything, yet still struggles in practical life.

Even as decades have passed, her characters have stood the test of time and have entertained generations. Such was the magic in her writings. She may have passed away but her dramas, her characters and especially her female characters, will remain a significant part of popular culture because she created them from the heart, not the mind.

Omair Alavi is a freelance broadcast journalist who can be contacted at omair78@gmail.com

Haseena Moin: Last of the dramatists