In Pakistan, an actor is remembered more for the roles they have done on television than in any other medium. Simply because television is bigger than film or theater and it is more easily accessible to the general audience, hence it comes with a bigger reach. Script sense of an actor paves the way for how they will be perceived in the public spectrum, their characters provide them a public image which is cultivated for further brand associations and media coverage.
A drama ultimately belongs to the actors who end up doing it. However, there have been many instances where some of the most well-known actors have chosen to pass on some scripts that ended up becoming memorable dramas. Here is a list of Pakistani actors that were initially offered dramas, that they refused, which ended up becoming quite popular.
Humayun Saeed – Humsafar
Humayun Saeed is the reigning king of the Pakistani entertainment industry. His last small screen marvel Mere Paas Tum Ho took the ratings by storm. His performance as Danish was praised unanimously. However, in a promotional interview for Punjab Nahi Jaungi, Humayun revealed that he regrets refusing Fawad Khan’s role in Sarmad Khoosat’s Humsafar. Humsafar became an instant hit when it aired in 2011 and brought in the leading couple, Mahira and Fawad immense love and appreciation transnationally.
Fawad Khan – Pyaray Afzal
Fawad Khan became the industry’s blue-eyed boy after giving back to back blockbusters in a row, Dastaan (2010), Humsafar (2011), and Zindagi Gulzar Hai (2012). He was approached for almost every big-budget venture but Fawad was extremely mindful of the content that he wanted to be a part of. Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar’s script was initially offered to the Kapoor & Sons actor, but he couldn’t accommodate the project due to his Bollywood debut opposite Sonam Kapoor. Pyaray Afzal was then done by Hamza Ali Abbasi and it escalated his popularity to newer heights.
Mahira Khan – Kankar and Ainee Ki Ayegi Baraat
Mahira Khan is known for her refusal to monstrous film offers such as Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Jawani Phir Nahin Ani. The actress is very picky in terms of the people she collaborates with and also avoids being repetitive with her work associations. Mahira refused the drama Kankar that was ultimately done by Sanam Baloch. Kankar dealt with the subject of domestic abuse. Mahira instead chose to do Sarmad Khoosat’s directorial Shehr-e-Zaat as she found it to be more challenging as a performer. She was also offered the titular role in Annie Ki Ayegi Baraat, but she turned it down for being a multi-starrer and the role went to her Humsafar co-star, Naveen Waqar.
Ayeza Khan – Ishq Zahe Naseeb
Ayeza Khan was approached for the role of Shakira in Farooq Rind’s Ishq Zahe Naseeb opposite Zahid Ahmed. Ayeza turned down the role of Shakira which was later accepted by Yumna Zaidi. Yumna revealed that actresses were hesitant as the role was less in screen-time as compared to Sonya Hussain’s character. The role was also offered to Neelum Munir who turned it down for similar reasons as Ayeza.
Feroze Khan – Mere Paas Tum Ho
Feroze honestly admitted that he turned down Danish’s role in Mere Paas Tum Ho because he asked for a huge signing amount. The writer Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar got angry as someone asked for a huge amount for his script. There were negotiation issues between both the parties and Feroze let go of the blockbuster project which was initially supposed to be starring him alongside Ayesha Khan and Adeel Hussain.
Urwa Hocane – Mere Paas Tum Ho
The casting progress for Mere Paas Tum Ho was not smooth. Urwa Hocane was cast in the drama and despite shooting for a couple of days, the actress opted out of the play to give her complete attention to her production venture, Tich Button in Nankana Sahib. This made the director Nadeem Baig very upset but Urwa chose to prioritize her own production. Urwa was replaced by Hira Mani.
Kubra Khan – Mere Paas Tum Ho and Mushk
Kubra Khan is one choosy actress, there was a time when she had refused her career-defining drama, Alif over script changes but destiny had other plans for her and she eventually did the project and received immense critical acclaim for her role of Husn-e-Jahan. She and Gohar Rasheed were supposed to star in the Aehsun Talish directorial Mushk but were later replaced by Momal Sheikh and Osama Tahir. The London Nahi Jaunga actress also refused Hira Mani’s role in Mere Paas Tum Ho opposite Humayun Saeed, as it was a supporting role and she didn’t want to play a second fiddle in a television series.
Mikaal Zulfiqar – Udaari
Mikaal has proved his mettle as an actor in projects like Diyar-e-Dil and Sang-e-Marmar. Mikaal is extremely conscious of his on-screen persona and hence found the role of Imtiaz in Udaari a bit too out of his comfort zone. The role was then performed by Ahsan Khan who won awards for his fabulous performance of an antagonist.
Sanam Baloch – Bin Roye
Sanam Baloch is an actress par excellence and her performance in projects like Dastaan and Daam provides testimony to the fact. However, Sanam let go of many professional opportunities due to her wedding with Abdullah Farhatullah. She was offered Armeena Rana Khan’s role in Bin Roye opposite Fawad Khan who was supposed to play the role of Irtiza, which was later played by Humayun Saeed.
Mohsin Abbas Haider – Khaani
Mohsin Abbas Haider was last seen in Nabeel Qureshi’s music video with Sonya Hussain. The actor candidly confessed about being approached for Khaani before Feroze Khan. Khaani starred Sana Javed and Feroze Khan in lead and became a huge money-spinner for the television industry and earned Feroze Khan many new fans and praises for his performance in the show.