In the olden days, supporting characters existed in a drama just so the story could move forward. They did not have separate character arcs, which is probably why the actors that played the characters never got much attention even though they made their presence felt. Fortunately, the trend of shoving supporting characters in the background has slowly changed.
Now, our drama writers have started writing substantial supporting characters who keep the audience invested in their storylines as much as the main leads do. That is most likely due to the fact that our industry is filled with talented actors who do a great job even if they are in supporting roles. Following is the list of actors who always give their best in supporting roles.
Even though Yasra Rizvi has appeared as one of the lead characters in many dramas, primarily in the web-series ‘Churails‘, these days she’s co-starring in two dramas: Dunk and Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi. In Dunk, she is playing a grief-stricken wife whose entire world changed after a tragedy strikes her husband while in Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi, she is playing a woman who works at an elite brothel.Both the characters are poles apart from each other, but thanks to the bundle of talent that is Yasra Rizvi, there’s no overlap in any of the characters’ mannerisms and body language. Regardless of the character she is playing, she sinks her teeth into the role so well that it’s hard to separate the actor and the character.
Rabia Butt is not the only model-turned-actress working in our industry. However, she is one of the very few ones with a strong screen presence. From playing a Hindu widower in the period drama Aangan to playing the vengeful Sahira in Yeh Dil Mera– it seems like Rabia Butt can handle any character with ease. Currently, she is starring in Pehli Si Mohabbat. The fact that she can hold her ground in front of other veteran actors like Saba Faisal and Shabir Jan says a lot about her acting skills. Her scene where she calls out her neighbors for their hypocrisy in the latest episode was especially powerful. The audience cannot stop showering their love for the character Nargis, played conveniently by Rabia Butt.
Anoushay Abbasi has been working in the drama industry since 2012 and she has certainly come a long way since then. She has appeared in a lot of dramas in supporting roles but after watching her performance in Ghalati, it seems like she has taken things up a notch with her realistic performances. Currently, she is starring in two of the most interesting dramas, Prem Gali and Raqs-e-Bismil. Although she appeared briefly in Prem Gali, she still managed to evoke the right emotions in the audience. In Raqs-e-Bismil, her character Sakeena is quite intense and very different from the happy-go-lucky woman in Prem Gali, yet she fits her character like a glove.
Uzma Hassan doesn’t appear a lot on screen because she is very selective when it comes to her projects. She is always looking for challenging roles to do which is precisely why despite appearing in about thirteen dramas since 2013, each of the characters she has played can be easily distinguished from the rest. Currently, she is co-starring in Prem Gali and Pehli Si Mohabbat. Her character “Musarrat” in Prem Gali is overemotional and the audience would have easily found her annoying if it wasn’t for Uzma Hassan’s commanding presence. She was just introduced in the drama Pehli Si Mohabbat and it would be interesting to see what she has to offer.
Despite starting his career as a theater actor over 10 years ago, Osama Tahir didn’t enter the drama industry until 2017. He made his debut with Dar Si Jati Hai Sila, where he played the role of a supportive cousin and husband Raheel. The audience did not take long to fall in love with his excellent performance and good looks. Since then, he has appeared in a number of projects including Ruswaai, Belapur Ki Dayan, and Hania – all of which were appreciated by the audience as well as critics. His recent role in Aehsan Talish’s directorial Mushk cemented him as one of the most versatile actors of Pakistan. Playing the role of a man who was jailed by his uncle for years wouldn’t have been easy, yet Osama made it look effortless.
Furqan Qureshi is another household name who isn’t afraid to pick the most challenging roles. While many actors might hesitate to play the role of an intersex character in a drama, that didn’t stop Furqan from showcasing his brilliant acting in Khuda Mera Bhi Hai. He performed that role with such finesse that after looking at his other projects, sometimes it can be hard to believe that the roles are being performed by the same actor. Currently, he can be seen as the doting son in Aulaad and the elite Malik Shehriyar in Raqs e Bismil. His performances in both dramas are very natural which is why the audience doesn’t have a problem resonating with his characters.
Sunita Marshall has been enthralling the audience with her superb performances since 2008. But it still feels like she is one of the most underrated actors of Pakistan. Her acting in a lot of dramas, including Tair e Lahooti, Mera Saain, and Sitamgar, has been top-notch yet not a lot of people talk about her. Whenever she’s on screen, her performance is so natural that the audience forgets that they are watching a drama. Currently, she can be seen essaying the role of a woman stuck between choosing to satisfy her husband or his parents, in Aulaad. Because of Sunita’s graceful portrayal of the character, she has the full support of the audience and they feel for whatever her character is going through.
Many people might not even recognise the name Saqib Sumeer considering he hasn’t appeared in a lot of dramas. But that scene is going to change thanks to his electric performance as Rafeeq Ali in Raqeeb Se. The drama has a talented cast comprising of young actors and veterans, yet he steals every scene he’s in, which is saying a lot since he didn’t make an appearance until the 3rd episode of the drama. Of course, the credit also goes to the writer Bee Gul for writing the character in such a way that the audience was already curious to see the character even though he was yet to make an appearance. But if it wasn’t for Saqib’s command of his character, Rafeeq Ali would not have been so enthralling to watch. It might be too early to say this but Rafeeq Ali definitely deserves a spot on the list of most compelling antagonists of all time- all thanks to the actor playing the role.
It doesn’t happen very often that the audience gets invested in a supporting character’s story as much as the main lead’s story. Especially if the supporting character is the female lead’s father. But that is precisely what happened with Saleem Mairaj’s Sultan in the blockbuster drama, Alif. The character had multiple layers to it and Saleem Mairaj performed it brilliantly. Sultan is one of the many characters Saleem has played throughout his career since the ’90s. But it would be an understatement to say that he has done justice to those characters. Saleem Mairaj, with his spellbinding performances, has proven that you don’t need to be the lead to contribute to the story. For instance, currently, he can be seen in a supporting role in the Imran Ashraf-Sarah Khan starrer Raqs e Bismil as Namurad. The audience holds a soft spot for the character only because of how beautifully Saleem has portrayed him.