Pakistani dramas, regardless of their genres or quality of content, have a few fundamental aspects in common. It can be observed that in the majority of Pakistani dramas, we have female characters occupying the center stage. While a lot has been written in appreciation for the younger actresses who take on challenging roles and get credited for a drama’s success, we cannot overlook the contribution of our legendary senior actresses who add a lot of credibility to a drama’s narrative and presentation.
We are in the times where a legend like Badar Khalil was asked to leave her seat to accommodate Fawad Khan at an awards show. Many senior actresses are treated as secondary artists to facilitate and highlight the younger crop of actresses. This needs to be changed for the betterment of fraternity.
While she often plays the role of a mother both on TV and on the big screen, Asma Abbas always brings out a different shade of reality with her performance. Be it her role in Daldal where she played a doting mother but a ruthless mother-in-law, or a tyrannical matriarch in Beti, or the kind, single mother of two daughters in Dillagi – Asma Abbas never plays the same character twice. Her performance in the recently finished superhit drama Ranjha Ranjha Kardi, was unanimously praised by all as she played Bhola’s loving, sometimes frustrated, but always wise Amma.
Hina Khwaja Bayat
Whenever Hina Khawaja Bayat is on screen, she glows. There is an inherent grace with which she plays her characters that leave a mark on the audience. Always ready to try her hands in different genres, Hina Khawaja Bayat has played everything from the Prince Charming’s mother in Aik Nayee Cinderella, a supernatural being in Deewana, a child-like woman in Dil Banjaara, an upper-class socialite in Zindagi Gulzar Hai, and the over-protective mother in Aunn Zara. Her choice of characters has always been diverse and she does justice to them all.
Momo might be Hina Dilpazeer’s most well-known character but this woman has the ability and the range to perform many different kinds of characters with equal ease. Who can forget the multiple characters she played in Qudusi Sahab Ki Bewah? She played characters of an old woman, a man, a transgender, playing both mother and daughter at the same time, and many more such interesting and eccentric characters all in one show. But that does not mean she is only good for comic roles.
Her negative role in Jahez, as well as her layered performance as a middle-class woman with many children in Mohabbat Jaye Bhaar Mein, are both memorable performances of her career.
Saba Hameed’s line “Azam, aap agaye?” in Family Front is etched in the memory of drama viewers who grew up on early 2000s PTV dramas. Likewise, her career boasts of many blockbuster dramas.
Often seen playing the role of a mother, Saba Hameed’s characters can be both kind and understanding like in Pyaray Afzal or ruthless and cunning like in Aik Nayee Cinderella. She is one of the most versatile actresses of her generation. She is equally good in her comic characters like her stint in the Baraat Series as well as melodramas like Aik Tamannah Lahasil Si and Mann Mayal. Saba Hameed knows the art of fitting in perfectly within the world of the drama and successfully manages to immerse into her characters a distinction that is not easily forgotten.
Parveen Akbar is a face that is well known to the drama viewers of various generations. She has been in the industry for more than four decades and has a body of work which reflects that. A truly natural performer, Parveen Akbar has the way of charming the audiences by her acting that comes to her as easily as breathing. It is a testament to her acting skills that she can play a comical character in Yeh Zindagi Hai with as much ease as she can play a villainous one in Digest Writer.
These are some of the women of our Pakistani drama industry that deserve more praise and appreciation for all the work that they do. Our dramas really owe them a lot for being the success that they are. Cheers to them and may we continue to see them work and elevate our dramas for a long time.