Just as chicken soup is not just chicken and water thrown together in a pot and cooked till it becomes mush, a good drama is a lot more than just the story of the hero and heroine. Just like vegetables and spices add much needed texture and flavor to chicken soup hamarey goody two shoes hero heroine stand out and shine because of the tarka added by the cast of colorful characters that surround them.
It is these characters and the situations they create that allow our lead pair to shine. Think about it, fabulous as Ashar and Khirad were, wouldn’t they have been plain boring and sappy had there not been a Farida and her evil machinations to spice up their love story? Would Aunn and Zara have ever gotten together were it not for their crazy family members driving them nuts? Wan’t Talkhiyan as much Mama ji, Apo and Janoo baba’s story as it was Bibi and her bachas‘ story?
Where characters are a crucial element of any story, many times it is the actors who play these roles that make a world of difference. It is the nuance, that special something they add to the written part that elevates a character from being yet another run of the mill ammi abba naani daadi phupho khala and making it something memorable. Remember naani from Shehr-e Zaat? It was a fabulously written and directed role, but it was Samina Peerzada who made this grandmother truly special. Same goes for Nasreen Qureshi as the firecracker of a daadi in Aunn Zara. What about Shamim Hilali and Mohammed Ahmed as Nusrat and Mutma’in in Coke Kahani? They could’ve easily been yet another uncle aunty, but there was that undefinable something about this pair that made me wanna invite myself over for chai at their house. And of course how I can I not mention Hina Bayat and her recent take on Khala Khursheeda – simply brilliant!
Alongside these much loved performances, there is also a very special class of actors who very seldom get public acknowledgment and applause for their outstanding work. This is not because they don’t stand out, rather, this is ’cause like chameleons they become the character, leaving behind no trace of their real selves. They are like the building blocks, unnoticeable till one block falls out and the entire building collapses. So good are they at what they do that many a times the audiences don’t even know their real names or remember their previous appearance, but mention the character and but of course we all remember. Rashid Farooqui, Salim Mairaj, Khalid Ahmad, Rehan Sheikh, Adnan Shah Tipu, and more recently Adnan Jaffar, are all brilliant character actors.
The late Moin Akhtar and Bushra Ansari and Hina Dilpazeer are three actors who also fall into the category of character actors, but their impressive list of memorable out-of-the-box performances puts them in a class all their own.
Finally, rounding out the category of character actors are one actor and two actresses, who, in my opinion, are beyond the definitions of class, type and category. No matter what role they play, whether as a part of an ensemble cast or as the solo lead, be they be playing old or young, rich or poor characters – all this simply ceases to matter. At the end of the day its all about their performance. They command the screen and while they are in the frame you simply cannot look elsewhere. Yes, peeps, these are none other than Sania Saeed, Nimra Bucha and Nouman Ijaz.
Nouman Ijaz is one of those performers jin ka naam hi kaafi hai. Fans of Jackson Heights and Bhatti sahab know exactly what I’m talking about. His Aao Kahani Buntay Hain (with Sania), Mera Saeen, Rihaee, Ullu Baraye Farokht Nahin, count among some of my favorite Nouman Ijaz serials. Similarly, Sania Saeed is Sania Saeed – have no adjectives to describe her work. From her Ab Tum Ja Saktey Ho, Aahat, Kahaniyan, Numm, Aseerzadi to her most recent Kithay Nain Na JoriN video, she has no saani.
Nimra Bucha is another actress whose work always leaves me in awe. There is a kind of a thehrau (don’t know how else to describe it) about her and her acting that I absolutely love. Most people know Nimra from Daam, [the horrible] Mera Yaqeen, Sabz Pari Laal Kabootar, Ek Nazar Meri Taraf, and Bandi, but it is in telefilms that she really shines. For those who haven’t watched these, I would highly recommend Ghar Aur Ghata, Firdous Ki Dozakh, Tum Mujh Mein Zinda Ho, and Tamasha Mere Aagey, to name just a few.
Yes, I’m shamelessly biased and anything from these three is an automatic must-watch in my book.
Khair, kahan se kahan baat chali gayi! I began by drawing your attention to the fact that though most conversation tend to revolve around the hero and heroine, there is a lot more that goes into making a story work. So lets take this opportunity and pay tribute, if you will, to these unsung characters and performances. I invite you to share your favorite character, one that has stuck with you since forever, or tell us more about your favorite character actor. I know I have not even begun to scratch the surface of this very rich topic, so aa jayen aap maidan mein…
Written by SZ~