This year has proved to be very different than last one. While last year we saw stars like Fahad Mustafa, Humayun Saeed, Ali Zafar and Hamza Ali Abbasi pull folks in droves to movie theatres, this year these stars stayed away from cinema screens. While it has affected the annual cinema business, this eventually proved to be good for other stars as they shined brighter this year than ever.
Mehwish has always been part of the most successful films throughout her career. Most of her movies were the highest grossing films of the year when released. But all her films have been male dominated flicks with superstars like Humayun Saeed and Fahad Mustafa taking over the driving seats. This year Mehwish finally stepped out of her comfort zone, by doing the Wajahat Rauf directed “Chhalawa“. The film entirely relied on Mehwish’s stardom and she successfully brought audiences to cinemas for it. With that Hayat further cemented the fact that she is a bankable cinema star.
Another daring step that Mehwish took this year was to go back from where she started, i-e, doing an “item number”. Although Mehwish shot to fame in the cinema world from her very first cinema appearance in “Na Maloom Afraad” as ‘Billi’, since then she never accepted a film just for a song. But this year, by doing ‘Gangster Guriya‘ of “Baaji”, she proved that she is still as fierce and unapologetic as she was five years ago.
It won’t be an exaggeration if we say that this year belonged to Mahira Khan. This was the first time that Mahira appeared in two films in the same year as she has been doing only one film each year since “Bin Roye”. Khan shattered her ‘girl-next-door’ image and exhibited a larger than life persona that she holds by playing a film actress in both “Superstar” and “Parey Hut Love“. Be it ‘Noori’ or ‘Morey Saiyyan‘, we never saw this side of her before in Pakistani films. As if this wasn’t enough, she also made headlines for her walk in Paris Fashion Week and most recently by being named as third sexiest Asian woman of the decade by a British publication.
This was Meera’s comeback year to Pakistani cinema. While she had attempted one back in 2014 with “Hotal”, that film bombed at the box office. However, “Baaji” delivered the goods and then some. If one actress dominated simply on the basis of performance this year it was Meera. While “Baaji” was impeccably shot, there’s no denying its strength was its performances. Meera showed how good she was and one wouldn’t be surprised if she’s awarded many Best Actress trophies for her triumphant return.
Her performance in the “Parey Hut Love” song “Ik Pal” was also lauded by audiences. The song was repeatedly used for promotions on TV channels. Her stardom was clearly utilized to its full to pull audiences into theaters there.
Bilal Ashraf might not have given the best performance of the year but he definitely has surpassed himself through “Superstar“. From physical transformation to acting trainings, Bilal worked harder than anyone else this year to enhance his craft and looks, equally and surprised everyone with his dedication. Despite sharing the screen with seasoned actors like Jawed Sheikh, Nadeem Baig, Marina Khan and Mahira Khan, he managed to make his presence felt. With “Superstar”, Bilal has finally entered the 200 million club. Also Bilal was named in the list of sexiest Asian men by a British publication and he was the only Pakistani to make it to top ten of this annual list, this year.
As we mentioned before in our review of “Parey Hut Love’, this was the role Sheheryar’s acting career has been waiting for all these years. Sherry never had a very good fortune when it comes to films. His supposed debut film “Kambakht” got shelved, his most passionate project for which he went through laborious physical transformation and training, “Project Ghazi“, released years after production and bombed at the box office. Last year’s “7 Din Mohabbat In” couldn’t do any good for him either. But finally the game changed for him with “Parey Hut Love”. With his macho looks, dance performances and acting performance for this vulnerable character, Sherry ticked all the boxes of a desirable actor for a commercial film.
Amna Ilyas had only two starring roles before 2019, in “Zinda Bhaag” (2013) and in “Good Morning Karachi” (2014). Since then, she had been sidelined as an “item girl” rather than an actress or was given supporting roles (“7 Din Mohabbat In”). However, her performances in both “Baaji” and “Ready, Steady No!”, this year have clearly charmed audiences and critics alike. While she’s not quite there yet, future projects may see her climb the ladder of success, onwards and upwards.