Year 2016 has been a rough ride for showbiz denizens unfortunately. Looking back, while there have been some positives, but the negatives have easily outweighed them. Quite a few bid adios to worldly life to move on to a better world, while others had to gulp their anger and frustration just when they thought their career had peaked. In this case the two names that instantly come to mind are Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan who had to unceremoniously exit from high-profile and lucrative Indian projects because of the ongoing tension between the two countries just when they were on the threshold of great success. While previously they were quite inaccessible for the public in general, and their fans in particular, here’s hoping that with more time on their hands they will be more accommodating towards their local fans who can actually make or break a star’s career.
Talking about stars, the true star of 2016 was the inimitable Hina Bayat, who seamlessly portrays her character of a butcher’s wife. She plays a woman, who has moved up the social laddar in drama serial Sanam. While Bushra Ansari once again wowed her audience by portraying a gypsy in drama serial Udaari.
“This was also a role quite close to my heart. I greatly enjoyed during the recording of the serial. It was a demanding character of a gypsy woman who used to sing at weddings and I had to work a lot on the costume, dialect, diction, songs – in fact, I personally worked on all the aspects to give authenticity to my character,” Bushra shared, talking about her memorable performance of the year.
The best drama serials of 2016 have to be Udaari, Besharam and Izn-e-Rukhsat all beautifully packaged by the directors and producers. The scripts for all three were powerful as were the acting skills of all participating actors.
As for the worst drama serials of the year, they have to be Khuda Mera Bhi Hai(KMBH) and Waada – both dealing with offbeat (read ridiculous) themes. The story of KMBH revolves around a normal couple who give birth to a transgender. Seriously, are we so devoid of any ideas that we have resorted to such topics for our prime-time dramas. What’s worse is the fact that each week the story revolves around the same topic with nothing much happening even as the drama reaches midway.
And then we have Waada where we see a decked up frisky maasi jumping into the lives of unsuspecting men, in the garbs of a housekeeper, only to end up in their boudoir. There’s only as much that one can take and when repetitive suggestive scenes continue dominating the screen, one feels like puking in disgust as all this filth gets too much to digest!
Well, all cannot be bad now, can it? There’s the good, better and best of year 2016 as well. The two celebrity couples who top the list in 2016 are surprisingly the brother duo – Farhan Saeed and Gohar Mumtaz. While Saeed impressed all in the garbs of a musician-turned-lawyer in Udaari he brought the screen alive with his co-star Urwa Hocane and as the new year approached their reel-life pairing turned into a real-life pairing, making them a darling couple.
As for Mumtaz, he comes across as a promising new entrant on the showbiz horizon alongside his beautiful better-half Anam Ahmed, incidentally also his favourite co-star. Drama serial Ghayal has brought out the actor in him and Mumtaz sure does justice to his character which is that of a psychopath, while Ahmed is already creating a stir in showbiz as the main protagonist of Kathputtli.
But the best is yet to come! We have saved the best for the last which is none other than our very own Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy who has come a long way in getting Pakistan recognised as an enlightened and progressive country proving to the world our girls are equal, if not better than our international counterparts.
Her latest exploit is receiving the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award 2017, regarding which she shared with MAG, “I am proud to have received such a prestigious award - that too for the second time. I am grateful that SOC Films was able to share the untold story of A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness with a global audience, and begin a much-needed conversation about women's rights in Pakistan.”
Chinoy is greatly acknowledged for her undying efforts to the cause of women. “It means a lot to me as it is a testament to my long-held belief that if you work hard and strive for excellence, the world will appreciate your product and your efforts will be recognised. Since the start of my career I have always endeavoured to share the stories of those who cannot do so themselves. With A Girl in the River I wanted to tell the story of a victim of honour killing because I wanted to start a national discourse about this issue and build momentum to garner support for key legislation that better protects women from such violence.
“To be acknowledged for this work is always very humbling, but for me personally, it was a bigger win when we, as a nation acknowledged that we have a problem and passed the Anti-Honour Killing Law,” she emphatically said.
“I had always hoped to push the envelope and further the discourse around difficult subjects and I am glad that my work allows me to do just that.”
Chinoy is also co-chairing the 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting scheduled to take place on January 17-20, 2017 in Davos Klosters, Switzerland. “The theme for the meeting is “Responsive and Responsible Leadership” which I believe is crucial to our time now. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to be a part of this prestigious forum which includes 2,500 participants from nearly 100 countries and over 300 sessions,” shared the proud Chinoy who is currently busy writing her first book.
Internationally, the golden age of TV stretched into 2016. There was a huge variety of shows making for diverse viewing which is why it was hardly surprising to witness competition that was stiffer that ever. Apart from the big production houses, more and more streaming services propped up with various original series providing quite a feast to viewers worldwide.
Among the must-watch shows of 2016 was Westworld. Full of twists and turns, this futuristic HBO sci-fi thriller is about a western theme park and its visitors and android inhabitants. With powerful performances from Evan Rachel Wood, who plays Westworld’s full-time resident Dolores and Thandie Newton portraying brothel madam Maeve, the show has garnered massive interest worldwide.
Then there was the NBC drama This Is US which takes viewers back and forth between different times and generations as it follows the Pearson family which consists of twins, Kevin and Kate, and their adopted brother, Randall.
In 2016, Netflix made huge strides with shows like Stranger Things. The show paid homage to cult movies of the 80s like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and The Goonies and also marked the return of Winona Ryder, who played Joyce Bayers, the mother of missing boy, Will. •