Television mirrors the society we live in and possesses a strong ability to depict reality. Over many decades, the drama industry of Pakistan has played a vital role in showcasing strong women characters and addressing issues that are often brushed under the carpet.
Not only dramas have succeeded in providing wholesome entertainment but also given us role models to look up to. On the occasion of international women’s day, let’s revisit the memorable, nuanced and strong female TV characters that continue to inspire us in many ways.
Shehnaz Sheikh’s iconic portrayal of a young girl coping with her parent’s untimely death ends up achieving what she had set out against all odds. Her transition from an obedient, introverted daughter to a successful businesswoman is one of the most profound on-screen experiences. The 1985 drama serial, directed by Shahzad Khalil was a critical and commercial success and is now considered a cult classic.
One of the best Pakistani dramas of all time, Daastan follows the life of Bano and how the rioting and chaos during the Indian subcontinent partition changed her life completely.
Sanam Baloch’s monumental act is a jewel in her glorious career that still shines today. Sanam played the woman of strength and substance with impeccable perfection. She stood for her homeland with honor, grit and determination. Her act is a benchmark for the current generation of actors to learn from.
Mahira Khan has played a bunch of strong characters on screen. But, it was Humsafar that changed the game and made her a household name. Mahira wonderfully weaved life into the complex character, Khirad went through struggles and hardships but never lost her dignity. And who can forget her striking chemistry with Fawad Khan?
Khan in an interview in September 2020, reflected on Humsafar, stating that “Khirad is by far my most special character. She loved fiercely, she gave wholeheartedly and when it came to her self-respect, she held that closest to her heart. What a woman.”
Sajal Aly’s souls stirring performance in Alif is regarded as one of the best in the history of Pakistan television history. Momina’s self-belief to give her all to save her ailing brother and family is what makes her character exemplary. In pursuit of this, she goes through several losses personally and professionally. A girl all alone takes on the male dominated society single handedly, it is her strength that shines through.
What stuns most about Hadiqa Kiani as Mehrunnisa in Dobara is her sheer versatility. You forget her identity as a singer and her infinite achievements in the world of music once you watch her act on screen.
After making a smashing TV debut, Kiani hit the bull’s eye and won hearts with Dobara. The bold premise of a widow aiming to break stereotypes re-marries to live life to the fullest. Hadiqa handled the fragile character with utmost conviction.
Arzoo Daniel (Sinf-e-Aahan)
Syra Yousuf’s Arzoo is the perfect portrayal of a catholic girl defining her path. In Nadeem Baig’s patriotic drama, Arzoo single-handedly beats hooligans who ridicule her. She acts mature and chooses integrity over a long-term relationship with her selfish boyfriend. She goes all out and proves to be a valuable asset to the PMA.
How can the prestigious list be complete without the queen, Saba Qamar. With a range of empowering and powerful characters on her portfolio, her act as ‘Rania’ in her recent outing Sar-e-Rah is simply awe-inspiring. We should admit Qamar has the knack for smelling the right scripts.
In a society that can go to any length in the name of honour, Rania normalizes the idea to support her family even if it’s about being a woman taxi driver. In the process, she calls off her long-time engagement and sets new benchmarks, and puts an end to the stereotypical gender rules. Women play a defining role in the industry, and over the years we have been host to some amazing story lines and strong female characters. Let us know who your favourite female on-screen character is and celebrate Women’s Day in Style with Galaxy.