A challenging year is nearing its end with hopes that 2021 brings more luck, health and prosperity to all arenas of life. Despite being an exhausting period where Covid-19 hampered most of the TV productions, 2020 has given viewers a lot to cherish when it comes to wholesome entertainment as the world was glued to TV and laptop screens for quite some time.
Many of our favourite dramas wrapped up and a few new started this calendar year, giving us praise-worthy performances and engaging stories to pass time. However, it has made it difficult to narrow down the list to a few names that impressed us the most. So let’s do things a little differently this time; here we will include only dramas that got at least half of its episodes aired in 2020.
Here is a list of remarkable performances that were either inspirational or laudable for different reasons; these actors may have taken us by surprise or left us in awe with their sheer talent, some of which are obvious and some of which might have flown under the radar. Have a look!
Bilal Abbas Khan
Undoubtedly Pyar Ke Sadqay (PKS) was one of the finest TV productions this year and Bilal Abbas Khan aced his role as an under confident, clueless and naïve Abdullah. He effortlessly played a guy whose step-father has destroyed his personality so much so that he has lost control over his life.
Another shining star of PKS was Mahjabeen played brilliantly by Yumna Zaidi. The actor embodied the persona of a foolish girl who had to encounter sexual harassment at the hands of her father-in-law. Mahjabeen was sweet, dumb and innocent throughout the drama, yet she was smart, feisty and stepped up to defend her husband at times. Yumna nailed the balance between the two extremes and convincingly made us fall in love with her character, like always!
In PKS, Atiqa Odho also impressively showcased the dilemma of a widow who has remarried in pursuit of love. She showed audiences how we view a woman as only a mother, a wife or a caretaker rather than an individual who may have her own desires. Atiqa Odho embraced the flaws of Mansoora’s character and made them so believable that in the end we empathized with the character.
Hira Mani gave one of the most heartrending performances of the year as the titular character in Kashf. She depicted a resolute yet demure girl who is blessed with a unique power to have premonitions about real life. Hira brilliantly showed how a big burden like this can scar a girl’s life.
Junaid Khan’s act in Kashf has to be appreciated whole-heartedly. The actor impressed all and sundry with his range of emotions while playing Wajdan; a guy who is madly in love with a girl who has chosen a difficult path to live. Junaid’s stellar act added weight to the drama, making a fine pair with Hira Mani.
The biggest highlight of Sabaat, other than its powerful script, was Anaya played by Mawra Hocane. The actor breathed life into the character of an ordinary girl that we usually don’t get to see on TV screen; a girl who is smart, pragmatic, open-minded, obedient, respectful but not submissive. She made Anaya so much relatable to every 21st century girl.
Sarah Khan is another name that stood out in Sabaat; the actress has been around for quite some time but Miraal’s character gave her room to experiment and emerge as a star performer. Sarah was phenomenal in her unique portrayal of an egocentric and spoilt girl who didn’t even care about her parents, her brother or her husband. Her calm yet toxic demeanor will be remembered for a long time.
Ahad Raza Mir
We loved Ahad as a sweet, caring and courageous Saad in Ehd-e-Wafa as well as a conflicted and disturbed Amaan ullah in Yeh Dil Mera (YDM). Both of his performances deserve applause but my personal favourite is Amaan ullah for the brilliant portrayal of a twisted mind.
Sajal is going to be a fan and critics’ favourite this year and the reason is simply her unrivaled acting prowess. She bowled us over as troubled Aina in Yeh Dil Mera and then mesmerized us as charismatic yet simple Momina Sultan in Alif. She is surely going to take many trophies home for 2020!
Many avid Umera Ahmed followers were doubtful when Kubra Khan was cast as Husn e Jahan in Alif, however, Kubra embraced the role as it was written for her and left us in awe of her beautiful performance. She took viewers on a journey where they felt her love for Taha, her devotion to the Almighty, her longing for Momin and eventually her loss.
Many will disagree but Minal Khan established her place as an actor in 2020. Her role as a menacing Nisha in Jalan, albeit very controversial, took the drama to the next level. After all, it is commendable if an actor can make you hate her character with her exceptional performance.
Adnan Siddiqui is a master at playing characters of all shades and his body of work is a proof; however his portrayal of a doting father who is a criminal mastermind i.e. Mir Farooq Zaman in YDM will live for a long time in people’s mind.
Hamza Ali Abbasi
Hamza Ali Abbasi is a powerhouse performer and somehow by his selection of roles on TV, he has made sure that viewers fall in love with him each time. Hamza embodied a complex character like Qalb-e-Momin in Alif with such ease that it felt like it was tailor-made for him. He aced both phases of his character – from the rebellious and self-indulgent film director to a caring grandson and humble admirer of Momina — with comfort.
Though a short appearance, Ahsan Khan’s portrayal of a conflicted Taha Abdul Ala is one to remember for a long time. He delivered what was required from the role: a certain charisma to fascinate a successful actress like Husn e Jahan and then later on his inner battle to be unable to practice his craft.
Sana Javed cemented her position in the television industry with a gut-wrenching role of a gang rape survivor in Ruswai. Despite various flaws in the story and an odd direction that the drama took, Sana played Dr. Sameera so close to reality that viewers were able to feel her agony. She also emerged as a strong woman in the end who didn’t hesitate to report and take action against the rapists.
Dushman-e-Jaan may have been one trump card in 2020 which worked well with a slightly fresh concept. Mohib Mirza was the star of the serial and his performance as a torn lover (Hatim) was phenomenal. He played the role of a neglected child, who in his narcissistic streak, became one of the reasons that led to his love interest’s tragic demise.
As the senior most performer in this list and undoubtedly a maverick, Manzar Sehbai gave us the most beloved grandfather of 2020 in Alif. We can’t imagine anyone else delivering those soul-stirring and thought-provoking dialogues so convincingly as Manzar Sehbai conveyed them while portraying the calligraphy genius, Abdul Ala sahib.
Honorable mentions to the rest of the cast of all the above-mentioned dramas; all the actors added more depth and character to the story with their refined performances. Don’t get disheartened if you are not able to find some very obvious names in this list; they may have made it to our next list of breakthrough performances of 2020.