Pakistani drama industry is filled with talented actors and actresses. With each passing year, all the actors continue to impress the drama viewers by showcasing their skills and craft. It is also very important for the actors to continue to challenge themselves because it not only helps them adding more range to their graph but also reinvent themselves time and again. An actor can make or break the character he is playing therefore it is so important for an actor to give his best to the projects he/she opts for.
It is important for an actor to breathe life into the characters by having a grip and by embracing all the shades of the personality that the character has. This way, it becomes a lot easier for the viewers to connect and relate to the story and journey of the characters. In many instances, a lot of characters fail to leave an impression because the actors fail to do justice to its essence with their weak performance. For any character to get etched into the hearts of the viewers, it has to be performed well. This year was no different because, in a lot of Pakistani dramas, the Pakistani actors outdid themselves and performed exceptionally well.
This list is dedicated to the best performances seen in Pakistani dramas of 2020:
Humayun Saeed – Mere Pass Tum Ho
Humayun Saeed had to showcase the pain of a husband who got betrayed by his wife and also the only woman he loved with all his heart. It was well established how much Danish had loved Mehwish and how his entire life revolved around her. It was heart-breaking for him to find out that his love was never enough for her and that was something he found hard to deal with. Although after Mehwish left, Danish tried to move on in life the pain and the emptiness in the eyes of Humayun Saeed was a depiction of how broken Danish was despite all the attempts of trying to take his mind off and come to terms with the truth. Humayun Saeed lived this character and that was the main reason why the viewers cried with Danish. Humayun Saeed’s performance in some of the scenes, in particular, was so outstanding that these scenes will always be remembered. He has a definite screen presence which he puts to good use by choosing the right projects.
Adnan Siddiqui – Mere Pass Tum Ho
It won’t be wrong to say that Adnan Siddiqui always impresses whenever he plays a character such as Shehwar’s. He was the perfect choice for playing the role and this time around he left more of an impact than ever before. While Shehwar was the most hated character in Mere Pass Tum Ho, everyone agreed that Adnan Siddiqui’s performance was the best thing about the drama. He made sure that he looked the role as well which made it easier to understand why someone like Shehwar was so capable of having things his way. This was one of those performances which gave Adnan Siddiqui a new recognition even though he is a seasoned actor.
Ahmed Ali Akbar – Ehd-e-Wafa
Shehryar’s character was written remarkably and Ahmed Ali Akbar was simply adorable as Shehryar. His performance gave him new-found recognition and love from the viewers. He made the viewers relate to his character’s journey even when his character was not getting a lot of screen time. In the initial weeks, the viewers eagerly wanted to see more of him. His expressive eyes translated the true emotions of his character superbly. His emotional performance was one of the main reasons why Shehryar ended up being one of the best characters in the drama.
Wahaj Ali – Ehd-e-Wafa
Ehd-e-Wafa definitely brought out the best in Wahaj Ali. All of us who have watched Ehd-e-Wafa will never forget that one scene in which Shariq’s sister hits him. But that wasn’t the only scene that showed Wahaj Ali’s brilliant performance in Ehd-e-Wafa. He performed superbly in the entire drama and made Shariq’s journey worthwhile.
Ahad Raza Mir – Ehd-e-Wafa
Ahad Raza Mir can make you hate his character and love him at the same time! He is an exceptional actor who clearly loves challenges. He makes sure that his performances or the characters he plays are never black and white. Saad was also one such character who went through different ups and downs. Ahad Raza Mir was outstanding as Saad throughout – right from the time when Saad was an immature college boy and when he grew up to a responsible army officer. He showed how Saad was like as a friend, son, and as someone who was in love with precision.
Zahid Ahmed – Ishq Zahe Naseeb
Zahid Ahmed has always been one of those actors who do not shy away from challenging themselves when it comes to their skills and craft. Zahid Ahmed knew he was picking up such a character which was a rarity to have been seen in Pakistani television. It was obvious that the team of Ishq Zahe Naseeb did not know what to expect but the way Zahid Ahmed performed the characters of Sameer, as well as Sameera, was so convincing that people could not stop holding back and got interested in his journey. It was because of his phenomenal performance that the audience showed acceptance towards a character like Sameer because he made the multiple personality disorder come alive on the screen as well as showed what a person goes through. Zahid Ahmed has given the strongest performance of his career in Ishq Zahe Naseeb.
Hamza Ali Abbasi – Alif
The story of drama serial Alif was based on the novel written by Umera Ahmed. This meant that there was a lot of burden on Hamza Ali Abbasi’s shoulders to meet the expectations of the readers and those who had imagined Qalb e Momin’s character according to their own perception. This rarely happens but Hamza Ali Abbasi did not only meet but exceeded the expectation of the viewers because of his flawless portrayal of Qalb e Momin. He was a flawed human being who then embarked on a journey of self-discovery and rectification. Each and every emotion felt by Qalb e Momin was portrayed and translated beautifully by Hamza Ali Abbasi, making it one of the phenomenal performances seen this year.
Kubra Khan – Alif
Husn e Jahan’s character had a lot of layers and to do justice to all the phases of her life was no easy feat. Kubra Khan got a chance to showcase her acting skills because this character required a certain kind of treatment. She played it beautifully and conveyed all of her emotions with a lot of clarity. There was this calm and subtlety about her character that made it a lot more charming. Kubra Khan looked absolutely beautiful as Husn e Jahan and even when she was seen as a wife and mother in simple get up. It definitely has to be one of the best performances of Kubra Khan’s career to date.
Saleem Mairaj – Alif
Saleem Mairaj is a refined and measured actor of the Pakistani drama industry. All the performances that he has given so far have always been flawless and the same goes for his performance in drama serial Alif as Sultan. Saleem Mairaj played the role of a makeup artist and a confidant of Husn e Jahan who was madly in love with her. There were nuances that clearly depicted all the things that Sultan wanted to confess but never had the courage to do so. Sultan was a loyal friend who kept his promise. This character was not only warm but beautifully written. Saleem Mairaj’s flawless portrayal made it one of the best performances of this year.
Manzar Sehbai – Alif
It won’t be wrong to say that everytime the name of drama serial Alif is going to be mentioned, viewers are going to be reminded of the beautiful character of Abdul Ala, portrayed phenomenally by Manzar Sehbai. This character deserved an actor who would give it a realistic treatment and add so much warmth and love into the character that the viewers watching would be able to see their own grandfather in him and this is exactly what Manzar Sehbai suceeded to do so.
Bilal Abbas Khan – Pyar Ke Sadqay
Bilal Abbas Khan is a handsome young man who can easily get away with not playing character roles but he has always chosen to experiment. After playing a negative role in Cheekh, he would have been typecast had he not chosen to play a completely different and extremely challenging character in Pyar Ke Sadqay. Even those viewers who were not fans before were impressed by Bilal Abbas’ solid performance in the drama. Although he was hesitant to take up this role since he was not sure whether he would be able to do justice to it or not, he was surprised by the kind of response his performance got. This role must have opened up new horizons for this young actor since the response from the viewers was so welcoming. His facial expressions and certain gestures went so well with this confused and timid character. Bilal Abbas Khan proved his versatility by nailing this character and making it memorable.
Yumna Zaidi – Pyar Ke Sadqay
Yumna Zaidi has always been a character actor, in fact, only lately has she started taking up some commercial roles otherwise most of the time she is content with playing challenging roles. Her role in Pyar Ke Sadqay was undoubtedly the most challenging role played by her. Her performance was so amazing that people laughed and cried with Mahjabeen. Just when we thought we had seen the best of Yumna Zaidi, she took everyone completely by surprise and left us in awe of her performance in Pyar Ke Sadqay. She was the most adorable part of a drama which as a whole too had so much to offer. Yumna Zaidi was really excited about this project and she definitely did her homework right too. She made Mahjabeen come alive on screen in such a way that the viewers completely fell in love with her. Yumna Zaidi was really excited about this project because she knew that roles such as this one are offered to actors only once in a blue moon. She came up with her own impression of the character and ended up giving the best performance of her career.
Omair Rana – Pyar Ke Sadqay
Everyone who watched Pyar Ke Sadqay hated Sarwar’s character. Omair Rana’s inhibited performance was definitely the number one reason why the viewers despised the character he played. So much so that many of us continued to watch the drama just to find out how Sarwar was going to be punished in the end. He also added the much-needed charm in his character which made it easier for the viewers to understand why Mansoora fell for Sarwar’s lies for so long. This wasn’t an easy character to translate on screen since Sarwar had his weak moments as well. He definitely had many different shades to his personality, all of which were highlighted brilliantly by Omair Rana. This was definitely one of those performances which will be remembered for a long time.
Srha Asghar – Pyar Ke Sadqay
Srha Asghar’s character in Pyar Ke Sadqay definitely gave her a new identity. Even though she played a supporting character in the drama but she made sure every single scene she was a part of, had an impact. She was especially likable in the scenes showing the feisty side of Washma’s character. Her energy and interpretation of the character she was playing were beyond superb. Srha Asghar understanding of her character was apparent from her apt portrayal. After this remarkable performance by Srha that the viewers expect more from her in the future too.
Ahad Raza Mir – Ye Dil Mera
Ahad Raza Mir played the role of Amaanullah, who suffered from PTSD because of witnessing the traumatic killing of his entire family right infront of his eyes. It was after his entire world was turned upside down, Amaan used the hatred for Meer Farooq Zaman as a fuel to keep going. As much as Amaanullah strengthened himself, he had those moments where he felt weak and vulnerable because he could not cope up with the burden of losing his family. Ahad Raza Mir is also one of those few young actors who believe in challenges and variety, this is why it was very much expected from him that he would perform it brilliantly but as the drama progressed, Ahad Raza Mir kept on outdoing himself. Despite being a dark and grey character who got married due to his ulterior motives, all the things that Amaan did seemed justified and Ahad’s performance was one of the best seen this year.
Sajal Aly – Ye Dil Mera
Sajal Aly has established herself as one of the powerful and strongest young actors of Pakistani drama industry. This is why, in every single project, viewers expect nothing but the best from her and she lives upto the expectations with her phenomenal performances in each and every drama of hers. In drama serial Ye Dil Mera, Sajal Aly played the character of Ana, a girl daunted by the real life experience which was turned into a nightmare by her father. Right from the beginning till the end, Sajal Aly continued to perform the character brilliantly, however in the last two episodes, she literally stole the show when Ana finds out the truth about her mother’s death and her father’s ugly past. Sajal Aly outdid herself in Ye Dil Mera.
Zarnish Khan – Ye Dil Mera
Zarnish Khan has been a part of the drama industry for a long time now. She has appeared in a lot of popular dramas but probably for the first time in Ye Dil Mera, she performed without holding herself back, because of which she added so much depth and gravity into the ordeal faced by Humera when she is at the verge of being physically violated by Meer Farooq Zaman. Zarnish Khan gave a performance of her entire career in that particular episode of Ye Dil Mera, hence making it to this list by stunning the viewers this year.
Mohib Mirza – Dushman e Jaan
Mohib Mirza played the role of Hatim, who was flawed and had a lot of layers but the best part about him was that he believed in making amends and becoming a better person. The character of Hatim went through a drastic change in his life, his entire journey was full of ups and downs but all of it was a slow transition. The way Mohib Mirza adapted this character and portrayed it soulfully not only impressed the viewers but allowed them to see him in a completely different light. Mohib Mirza dominated the entire show and continued to wow the fans of Dushman e Jaan. Mohib Mirza is one of the finest actors of the Pakistani drama industry, however, this performance put his name on the map and showed that he is a force to be reckoned with.
Tooba Siddique – Dushman e Jaan
Tooba Siddiqui made a comeback with Dushman e Jaan, however, her role made a tragic exit a few weeks after the drama aired. She played the character of Ramsha; a strong-willed, independent, caring, and focused girl whose life revolved around her family members. She made sure that her character was translated just as powerfully on screen as it deserved to be. Tooba’s body language and expressions were the best part of her portrayal. It was definitely sad watching her character exit from the drama in the early stages but her portrayal will always be remembered as one of the best seen this year.
Junaid Khan – Kashf
Junaid Khan’s approach towards Wajdan’s character in the drama serial Kashf made it obvious that he himself had a grip on it which helped him portray it with clarity and finesse. Although the character of Wajdan met a tragic end but right from the beginning where Wajdan had a lot of wit and quirk till the end when he lost his senses showed that Junaid Khan put his heart and soul in this project. Junaid Khan definitely succeeded in making Wajdan a unique and memorable character. The note at which his journey ended etched his character into the hearts and minds of the viewers because of the way he phenomenally performed it.
Hira Mani – Kashf
There is no denying the fact that Hira Mani has portrayed the character of Kashf convincingly. The kind of attitude, body language, and appeal that was the demand of the character was fulfilled by Hira Mani. Right from the beginning till the end Hira Mani did not lose her grip on this character. at Hira Mani lost the grip of this character. Every step of the way and as the drama progressed, Hira Mani made it evident that she put an extra effort to show Kashf’s niceness. Her approach and portrayal made it easier for the viewers to understand what was going on in Kashf’s mind. She was a perfectly written character that was portrayed in an excellent manner by Hira Mani. After seeing her as Kashf, there’s no doubt left that only Hira Mani could do justice to her with her flawless performance.
Waseem Abbas – Kashf
Waseem Abbas is a seasoned actor who has done everything from comedy to tragedy. He played the role of a greedy and selfish head of the family in the drama serial Kashf and once again showcased his range as an actor. His character was important since it drove the story forward in forward in more ways than one. Waseem Abbas owned this character completely and his performance left the viewers in awe of his talent and craft as an actor. Waseem Abbas made this character just as hateful and obnoxious as it was meant to be and despite Imtiyaz being a negative character, Waseem Abbas forced everyone to see him as a star of the show.
Sabeena Farooq – Kashf
Sabeena Farooq is comparatively a fresh addition to the Pakistani drama industry. In a short span of time, she has worked in big-budgeted dramas and has given convincing performances. However, in the drama serial Kashf, she played the role of a spoilt selfish younger sister who wanted to get married to Wajdan, her sister’s husband. Sabeena Farooq was so realistic as Zoya that she had all the viewers hating her for being so evil and aloof. Sabeena Farooq was o effortless that she forced the viewers to feel that this character was made for her and only she could do justice to it. Her effortless dialogue delivery, her expressions, and her timing as Zoya were impressive, making it one of the best performances seen this year.
Danish Taimoor – Deewangi
Sultan Durrani, the character played by Danish Taimoor in Deewangi was a layered and dark character who ends up running his life because he fails to see the other side of the picture. Driven by ego and hatred, he ends up committing a lot of mistakes but one thing that remains constant in his life was the love that he had for Nageen, which he realized when it was already too late. Sultan wanted to be with Nageen but he also held her responsible for all of the losses he had to bear in his life, and that puts him in a very confused state of mind. This entire thought process and shifts in his behavioral patterns were portrayed with so much clarity by Danish Taimoor that definitely made it one of the best performances of his career to date. Although Danish Taimoor takes up more or less similar roles the character of Sultan gave him a lot of margin to perform and outdo himself, which he successfully did.
Syed Muhammad Ahmed – Ruswai & Sabaat
Syed Muhammad Ahmed has the ability to make you fall in love with his characters almost effortlessly. In Ruswai and Sabaat he did just that. The viewers felt an instant connection with both these characters and watching his characters die had to be one of the most heart-wrenching parts of these dramas. Syed Muhammad Ahmed is one of those few actors who share great on-screen chemistry with all their co-stars. No one plays the role of a dotting on-screen father like him.
Mawra Hocane – Sabaat
Even though there were times when Anaya’s character disappointed the viewers, Mawra Hocane’s performance throughout in Sabaat was one of her best performances this year. She completely owned the character and brought out the different shades of Anaya’s personality come alive on screen. She made sure that she looked like a simple middle-class girl which definitely added to the overall impact this character had. Mawra Hocane made sure that her performance was convincing even when her character wasn’t!
Faiza Hassan – Nand
Faiza Hassan is one of those few actors who only work in a handful of projects but every time she takes up a project, she gives it her best. She played one of the most negative characters this year but even then her performance was so remarkable that most people watched the drama for her! Not only was her performance entertaining and engaging, but her looks for the drama were also loved by the viewers as well. This list would be incomplete without Faiza who gave a new face to the evil nand!
Minal Khan – Jalan
Minal Khan has been a part of a lot of dramas but the viewers have mostly seen her play the damsel in distress but this time around, Minal Khan actually wanted to show that she has a lot of range as an actor. This is the reason she signed a project like Jalan that challenged her as an actor because she got to play Nisha who is psychotic and negative to the core The grip Minal Khan has on Nisha makes the viewers feel that this character was written by the writer with her picture in mind. Every step of the way, she has convincingly portrayed all the negative personality traits of Nisha. Although the drama has failed to impress the viewers there is no denying the fact that Minal Khan has owned this character and given a very convincing performance.
Imran Ashraf – Mushk
Imran Ashraf is a talented actor who always impresses his fans when the characters he is playing are well written. Adam is one such character in the drama serial Mushk which has been penned down by Imran Ashraf too. Since he has written this character, he understands it so well. He always makes Adam’s positive personality shine through and he is equally convincing in scenes covering the assertive side of Adam’s personality.
Urwa Hocane – Mushk
Urwa Hocane decided to make a comeback on the small screen with the drama serial Mushk and everyone will agree that she made a wise choice. She chose to play a character that isn’t run-of-the-mill and her effortless portrayal made this character even more appealing. Urwa Hocane showed the vibrant and confident side of Guddi without going overboard which makes her performance truly impressive.
Faysal Qureshi – Log Kya Kahenge
We are glad that after playing the most twisted character and that too not so convincingly in drama serial Muqaddar, Faysal Qureshi decided to play a more likable character in Log Kya Kahenge. His performance in the drama definitely makes the viewers look forward to his scenes. He brings out the best in his character through his apt portrayal. Faysal Qureshi should definitely play more such characters instead of experimenting with negative characters such as the ones he played in Haiwan and Muqaddar.
Saboor Aly – Fitrat
Drama serial Fitrat is getting a lot of viewership and popularity because of its different storyline and strong execution. The fact that the viewers get to see it 6 times a week has also helped them develop an interest in the show. Saboor Aly has always played supporting roles and in those dramas where she did play the main lead, did not really do much for her. However, drama serial Fitrat seems to have the potential of being Saboor Aly’s breakthrough drama because of the craft and finesse she has shown as an actor. Although she plays a very despicable character of Faria, a gold-digger who has no sense of right and wrong, it won’t be wrong to say that she runs the show. Saboor Aly has given a memorable performance of her career in the drama serial Fitrat.
This completes the list of best performances seen this year in Pakistani dramas. Which of these performances did you find impressive? Feel free to add more names to the discussion.
Zahra Mirza & Fatima Awan.