Women in Pakistani films have either been used as eye candy, a sex symbol or as a mother, sister, wife or any character that is supporting to the male lead. Rarely have they carried the weight of a film on their shoulders because that’s a man’s job, isn’t it? Thankfully the tide is changing and with the release of Actor In Law, Janaan and Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai the fairer sex is getting the importance it deserves. In fact, besides looking absolutely stunning, these actresses have played their parts well and next year, they might bag an award or two for breaking the barriers. Let’s analyse the performances of all three actresses who went for parallel roles in these Eid releases and see who came out a winner.
For the second time in as many years, a film featuring Mehwish Hayat has created history at the box office; last year Jawani Phir Nahi Aani became the biggest hit EVER in Pakistan and one year later, Actor In Law crossed 6 crores in its first 3 days of release. In JPNA Mehwish played the daughter of a don who takes what’s hers by hook or by crook. There were a few songs on which she performed and her attire was the centre of discussion even before the release of the film.
The beautiful actress, who has impressed her fans and critics by her powerful rendition of Anmol in Dillagi, takes her performance to another level in AIL. She adapts an accent that is alien to her – she plays a Parsi in the film – and she does full justice to Meenu Screwala. Her attention to detail is spot on as she plays a minority in the film, a character that isn’t portrayed much in films this side of the border. To top it off she’s a hot headed journalist who won’t take no for an answer and will go the extra mile to fight for her rights. Bollywood actor Om Puri went on record to appreciate her performance and while we’ll always have critics and cynics it goes without saying that Mehwish has proven them all wrong. Plus, to see the hot head curse and swear on screen is extra amusing as you don’t get to see this side of things on TV!
Acting Prowess: 4/5
Portrayal of Character: 4/5
Engaging the Audience: 4/5
Armeena Rana Khan
Born in Canada, Armeena Rana Khan resides in England and acts mostly in Pakistan. The stunner made her film debut in a crossover film (Huff! It’s Too Much) before making her presence felt in TV dramas and serials in Pakistan. For Armeena, acting doesn’t come naturally since she comes from a non-filmi background but that said she has worked in short films that have been screened at Cannes. After Bin Roye – where in her own words, her character first died on screen and later on the editing table – she comes back to play the title role in Janaan. And it’s a strong comeback.
In this movie Armeena takes your breath away with her looks but it is her acting that comes to her aid as well. There are scenes where she acts drunk (due to anesthesia), one where she appears extremely sad and a few where she lets the strong woman inside her comes out to slap one of the characters. Two years back, no one would have expected such a performance from her since all she was doing was crying on screen and fighting for her rights. Janaan gives her a chance to display her skills as an actor rather than go the Katrina Kaif way and she manages to steer her career upwards.
Acting Prowess: 4/5
Portrayal of Character: 3/5
Engaging The Audience: 4/5
Ever since her debut on TV a few years back, Sajal has been in demand for the very reason her character Mahira succeeds in Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai. Had it been upto the audience they might have named the film Zindagi Kitni Udaas Hai because all Sajal Ali does is look beautiful and weep-at will. Be it her scenes in the courtroom or on the sets of the morning show she hosts, Sajal can cry at the drop of the hat. She manages to excel in the looks department but unfortunately the script commanded her to bank on her super power – tears.
The very young actress (compared to the other two) makes the audience cry but it would have been wonderful had she made them smile in a few scenes as well. Next time she should ensure that her magnificent smile gets as much time on the screen as her tears. It isn’t that she can’t do that … she has done that on many occasions on TV and people will be waiting for her alter ego to make an appearance on the silver screen. The climax sequence gives a glimpse of her acting diversity where she looks good and smiles for a change. Way to go, girl!
Acting Prowess: 3.5/5
Portrayal of Character: 3.5/5
Engaging The Audience: 4/5