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Getting their act together

May 03, 2012

Pakistani television dramas
The ability to mould according to any situation or any role is what makes an actor professional in his line of work.

With a remote control in hand and tons of channels to flick through, a viewer today has the capacity to go as diverse as he wants to. However, the prime time slot on our local channels has decided instead to make us sit down and watch only the dramas. And then again there is a fight for which one to go for as mostly every other drama has, if not has great script, then definitely a talented bunch of actors who are doing tremendously good job.

I have grown up listening to my parents talking about Ankahi, Dhoop Kinarey, Half Plate, Anna, Kiran Kahani, Angan Teera etc, praising the Golden Times of PTV and brilliant acting days of Khalida Riyast, Rohi Bano, Rahat Kazmi, Badar Khalil, Marina Khan, Asif Raza Mir and Salim Nasir, to name a few. The list of plays and actors can go on, as those really were the days where every drama from story to art direction to acting used to be just perfect.

Coming back to today where there is an influx of frightening kinds of entertainment with morning shows, chai times and the not-so reality shows, we should appreciate the fact that the Pakistani television industry has given us the days of dramas again, with actors giving power pack performances in almost every serial. It is said that if you start hating an actor for his negative role, it means that the person has actually done his job really well.

If you look at our industry and the work that has been produced, I would say that more than the often wandering script and loose art direction, the actors are actually the ones who should be appreciated.

Humayun Saeed’s negative role in Kaafir actually makes you feel disgusted by him, while veteran actress Atiqa Odho’s tremendous performance in Humsafar, perhaps made everyone instantly hate her. Performances such as these leave a lasting impressiong on viewers.

Such performances are not only coming from the experienced actors in the industry, but also from young actors such as Adeel Hussain and Sarwat Gillani who in Maat-e-Jaan produce an absolutely beautiful on-screen chemistry.

Aamina Sheikh’ diversity in both Mora Piya and Maat, despite Mora Piya’s drifting script (where I think the writer probably got lost somewhere) has been brilliant, making viewer’s tune in especially to see her power pack performance.

In the Drama serial Jahez despite loose art direction and major directional flaws, Faisal Qureshi is giving an amazing performance of an unintelligent son, whose parents want him to get married again and again only to build up a “dowry” for their three unmarried daughters.

If talking about the sheer talent, the list would go on with names but one more name that I would especially like to add in here is of Hina Dilpazeer. Someone who started her career a few years back has done a bag of roles ranging from a dominating mother to a crazy forgetful wife to a high-end escort etc. Her style of work actually fits Glenda Jackson’s quote; “Acting is not about dressing up. Acting is about stripping bare. The whole essence of learning lines is to forget them so you can make them sound like you thought of them that instant” – and this is exactly how she does it by making the audience feel that the dialogues are coming straight from her and not from a pre-written script.

The quality that we should admire in our actors is that they are doing a wide range of roles simultaneously yet giving a different performance in each play. The ability to mould according to any situation or any role is what makes an actor professional in his line of work. Hats off to them for succeeding in captivating a bigger audience with every new serial being aired.

It would be interesting to see some new faces also enter the industry and help create a more diverse platform for the growing number of local drama fans.

The writer is an Interactive Producer at Dawn.com