Saba Qamar

Saba Qamar

Early life

Qamar was born on 5 April 1984 into a Sindhi family in Hyderabad, Sindh.She lost her father at a very young age and spent most of her childhood in Gujranwalawith her grandmother. She got her early education in Gujranwala then moved to Lahore to pursue further studies. Her family is settled in Karachi.

Career

2004–08: Debut in television

Qamar made her debut in the PTV Home TV series Mein Aurat Hoon.The series was shot in Lahore. It was followed by several classic PTV series including ChaapDhoop Mein Andhera Hai, Kanpur Se Katas Tak and Unbiyaanable.In 2007, Qamar appeared in ATV’s Khuda Gawah which was the remake of 1992 Indian film of the same name and Jinnah Ke Naam. She has played the role of Fatima Jinnah and the series was a tribute to the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Though the series failed commercially, Qamar received a nomination for Best TV Actress (Terrestrial) at the Lux Style Awards. In an earlier interview with The Express Tribune, Qamar confessed, “For me, acting is being able to express the feelings, emotions and expressions of different people and characters”.

Establishing with Dastaan (2010–15)

In 2010, She appeared in a supporting role of Surraya in Hum TV’s pre partition television series Dastaan, an adaptation of Razia Butt’s novel Bano. She was seen opposite Ahsan Khan, Sanam Baloch and Fawad Khan. Series proved to be the break-through for her and she won the Best TV Actress trophy at the Pakistan Media Awards (2010).She won the PTV Awards for the best TV actress in both public and jury choice categories at the 16th Annual PTV awards, held on 23 July 2011 for her role in Tinkay.Tinkay also earned her a nomination for Best Television Actress at Lux Style Awards. This was followed by a supporting role in the PTV Home’s social drama on women, Bint e Adam. Her role in the series was of a rich brat who falls for a boy from poor background, and marries him against her cruel father’s wishes. Bint e Adam was a major critical and commercial hit, however, critics noted that her role was “limited” from an acting point of view.

She then appeared in Sarmad Khoosat’s Pani Jaisa Piyar where she played the character of Sana who has been engaged to Adarsh, the son of her mother’s best friend ever since she was a child. Adarsh, however, has been unaware of this engagement, as his parents thought that he needed to focus more on his education than wedding plans. It was followed by a role in PTV’s Tera Pyar Nahi Bhoole.She was paired opposite Ahsan Khan in both the series. Both of which garnered her Lux Style Award nominations for Best Television Actress.Later she appeared in Maat where she played the role of selfish, self-obsessed Saman opposite Adnan Siddiqui and Aamina Sheikh.The series was critically and commercially hit and became the thirteen highest-rated Pakistani television series and also garnered her Pakistan Media Awards for Best Actress.

The following year, Qamar collaborated with Sami Khan in Geo TV’s three projects Jo Chale To Jaan Se Guzar Gaye (2011), Tere Ik Nazar (2011) and Main Chand Si(2011).She has appeared in Ameen Iqbal’s Thakan (2012) where she played the role of Sadaf who works extremely hard like a machine day and night to run her family but no one except her grandfather feels sympathy for her or even cares about her. It was followed by the leading roles in Amna Nawaz Khan’s Na Kaho Tum Mere Nahi (2012) and Faiza Iftikhar’s Yahan Pyar Nahin Hai (2012). The later of which earned her a nomination for Best Actress at Hum Awards. She gained recognition for portraying a range of characters in the serials Shehryar Shehzadi(2012), Kaash Aisa Ho(2013), Sannata(2013), and Ullu Baraye Farokht Nahi (2013), some of which garnered her several best actress nominations.Qamar won her first Hum Awards for the Best TV Actress for her role as Diana in Bunty I Love you, at the 3rd Hum Awards.

After two consecutive years of poorly received serials, Qamar’s career prospects began to improve in 2014; she appeared in five projects: JaanamBay Emaan MohabbatBunty I Love YouIzteraab, and Digest Writer.The romantic drama Jaanam (alongside Adnan Siddiqui) and the romance Bay Emaan Mohabbat(alongside Agha Ali and Adnan Shah Tipu) earned little praise, but the family drama Bunty I love You (a story about a girl who got married at age of 17 to much older man, later dreams of living a free life after his death) was Qamar’s first critical success since Maat.Directed by Siraj-ul-Haque, the series was generally well received. Reviewer from Daily Pakistan considered it alongwith Digest Writer as “one of the best performances of Qamar”. The series received five nominations at Hum Awards including Qamar for best actress. She next appeared in Izteraab. Her performance as the working women did not go well and despite the strong cast, story, production house and promotions, the drama turned out to be a major critical and commercial Disaster.

Qamar appeared in three series in 2015. She first reunited with Muhammad Younis Butt and Fawad Wyne in the comedy series S.H.E where she played a role of lady S.H.O Bajirao Mastani. She then starred alongside Adeel Chaudhry in Fahim Burney’s directorial Kaisay Tum Se Kahoon which tells the story of star-crossed lovers who are reincarnated. Its her third consecutive appearance in Momina Duraid’s production. Series did not do well in terms of ratings but her performance was praised by some critics. The following year, Qamar collaborated with Mikaal Zulfiqar for the third time (alongside Zahid Ahmed, Kiran Haq, and Sonia Mishal) in Kashif Nisar’s Sangat where she played a role of Aisha, a rape survivor who faced difficulties when her husband came to know that he was not the biological father of a daughter they have.The series earned her the nomination for Best Actress in both Jury and Popular categories at Hum Awards.

2016–present

In 2016, Qamar played the role of Surraya (Sitara) in Seema Taher Khan’s Mein Sitara (serial based on lollywood golden era)alongside Mekaal Zulfiqar and appeared as Mishal in Farooq Rind’s Besharam opposite Zahid Ahmed. The later was a commercially and critically hit. Sadaf Haider of The Express Tribune praised her saying, “Qamar is in great form as Mishi and plays her with restraint and quiet power; a welcome relief from the wounded women she has played of late”.During the 16th Lux Style Awards, the series earned 5 nominations including Qamar for Best TV actress. She was also nominated for her projects Mein Sitara and Lahore Se Aagey in Best Actress category.

In 2017, Qamar appeared in Farooq Rind’s biographical drama series Baaghi, in the role of Pakistani controversial figure Qandeel Baloch. The series was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the highest-grossing Pakistani drama of 2017. Qamar’s performance was widely praised by the critics and her portrayal of the actress and singer was applauded even before its release. Neeha of The Nation wrote, “Without a doubt, Qamar has done an outstanding job”, whereas reviewer from The Express Tribune said she “slayed the social media star with such finesse”. The series earned her a Lux Style Awards for Best Actress (Television) and IPPA Awards for Best Actress.

Film career

Qamar’s debut film was Aina (2013) opposite Faysal Qureshi for which she was nominated for Best Actress at Tarang Housefull Awards. She established herself as a leading actress of Urdu cinema for portraying the singer Noor Jehan in the acclaimed biographical drama Manto (2015).Directed by Sarmad Khoosat and produced by Babar Javed under A&B Entertainment, the film was made on a big budget and performed poorly at the box office with a lifetime collection of Rs5.05 crore, however it was critically praised and also earned her a nomination at the ARY Films Awards for Best Supporting Actress.The film was also adapted as a TV-series in 2017 titled Main Manto.Later she played a rockstar Tara in the travel comedy Lahore Se Aagey (2016). The film was the second installment in Karachi Lahore (film series) and ranks among the highest-grossing Pakistani films of all time with a gross of Rs21.60 crore. In the same year, she made a special appearance in the psycho–thriller 8969.

She made her debut in the Hindi film industry, in Saket Chaudhary’s film Hindi Medium (2017), opposite Irrfan Khan.The film became a sleeper hit in India and China with a collection of ₹334.36 crore.Her performance in the film was praised by critics. A reviewer for The Times of India wrote, “Saba, as the dominating wife is sheer delight onscreen”. In a scathing review, Sreehari Nair of Rediff.com labelled the film “fascinatingly frustrating” and called Qamar “natural actress, sexual daring”.Qamar also received nominations for Best Female Debut at Screen Awards, Best Actress at Filmfare Awards and declared top Bollywood debutant of 2017 by Eastern Eye.Earlier, Qamar was also offered a Hindi film opposite Randeep Hooda and supporting roles in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai (2012) and Heroine (2012) which she declined.After the 2016 Uri attack, relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated; the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) and the Film Producers Guild of India banned Pakistani artists from working in India until the situation normalised.

In 2018, Qamar appeared in three short films. She first paired with Ahsan Khan in Siraj-ul-Haque directorial Moomal Rano. The film was made as part of the Zeal For Unity initiative to bridge cultural barriers between India and Pakistan. It was critically praised and was nominated for Best film at the 2018 European festival. It was also released by digital platform Zee5. She then appeared in Fahim Burney’s Dil Diyan Gallan, opposite Zahid Ahmed where she played the character of Raniya and Iss Dil Ki Essi Ki Tessi.

Other work

In 2009, Qamar joined a political satire Hum Sab Umeed Se Hain as a host and presenter where she also did the Parody of politicians and actors. The show was extremely popular and was at the number one spot in ratings in Pakistan. She decided to quit the show and was replaced by Meera in 2013.In January 2018, She appeared in photoshoot for Mahid Khawar’s creation “Padmavat” where she dressed up like Rani Padmavati. In May 2018, she showcased golden bridal couture for designer Nilofer Shahid. She was showstopper for Rimple and Harpreet Narula’s first Pakistan show on ‘Shaan-E-Pakistan’.On 10 December 2018, She walked the ramp for designer Uzma Babar’s collection Umsha on Bridal Couture Week.

In the media

Qamar is considered one of the nation’s most popular and highest-paid actresses.After the success of Mein Sitara and Hindi Medium, she was cited by critics as one of the finest actresses in Pakistan. Throughout her career, she has received several accolades including Lux Style Awards, Hum Awards, Pakistan Media Awards, PTV Awards and a Filmfare Awards nomination.

In 2012, Government of Pakistan honoured her with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, the fourth-highest decoration given to civilians in Pakistan based on their achievements.In 2016, She received Pride of Performance in recognition of meritorious work in the fields of arts. Qamar has supported charitable organisations for various causes. In June 2018, she did a special appearance in Shuja Haider’s music video “Jeevan Daan” to raised awareness against child abuse. The song was socially relevant and highlights issues concerning children and women. In August 2018, Qamar expressed in an interview, “I encourage and urge people to invest in good education as it will shape the future of our children and our society”.On Independence Day in 2018, Daily Times named Qamar “Pride of Pakistan”.

Filmography

Key
Saba Qamar Denotes film / series that have not yet been released

Films

YearFilmRoleNotes
2013AinaRitaRemake of the 1977 movie Aina
2015MantoNoor Jehan
2016Lahore Se AageyTaraa Ahmed
20168969
2017Hindi MediumMeeta Batra
2018Moomal RanoNigarShort film
2018Dil Diyan GallanRaniyaTelevision film
2018Iss Dil Ki Essi Ki TessiSamana (Sam)Television film
2020Angrezi MediumMeeta BatraCameo
TBAKambakhtTBAFilming

Television

YearTitleRole
2005Mein Aurat Hoon
2005Chaap
2006Dhoop Mein Andhera HaiKiran
2007Khuda Gawah
2007Jinnah Ke NaamFatima Jinnah
2008UnbiyaanableAimen
2009MishaalHiba Rashid
2010DastaanSuraiya Saleem
2010–2011UraanAyesha Aleem
2011TinkayZarish
2011Bint e AdamZainab
2011Pani Jaisa PiyarSana
2011–2012MaatSaman
2011–2012Jo Chale To Jaan Se Guzar GayeZulfi Roshni Shah
2011–2012Main Chand SiIrsa
2011Tera Pyar Nahi BhooleZartash
2011Tere Ik NazarNida
2011Miss FireAnaya
2012ThakanSadaf
2012–2013Na Kaho Tum Mere NahiMehreen
2012Yahan Pyar Nahin HaiHaleema
2012Shehryar ShehzadiSarwat
2013Kaash Aisa HoAfra
2013–2014SannataRukayya
2013Ullu Baraye Farokht NahiGul-e-Rana
2014JaanamFalak
2013–2014Bunty I Love YouDania
2014Shareek-e-HayatRecurring
2014IzteraabZara
2014–2015Digest WriterFarida/Rashk-e-Hina
2014Bay Emaan MohabbatDania Naeem
2015Kaisay Tum Se KahoonAnumta
2015S.H.EBajirao Mastani
2015–2016SangatAyesha/Aashi
2016Mein SitaraSuraiya/Sitara.
2016BesharamMishal Tahir Malik
2017–2018BaaghiFouzia Azeem
2017–2018Main MantoNoor Jehan
2019–presentCheekhMannat

Other appearances

YearTitleRoleNotes
2009–2013, 2015Hum Sab Umeed Se HainAs Host/PresenterPolitical Satirical Show
2013Timmy GherselfGuest appearance
2014Tonite With HSYHerselfAppeared as Guest with Adnan Siddiqui
2018Jeevan DaanHerselfMusic video

Awards and nominations

YearContentAwardCategoryResult
2010Jinnah Ke NaamLux Style AwardsBest TV Actress (Terrestrial)Nominated
2011TinkayPTV AwardsBest Actress JuryWon
Best Actress ViewersWon
Lux Style AwardsBest TV Actress (Terrestrial)Won
DastaanPakistan Media AwardsBest Supporting ActressWon
2012Tera Pyar Nahi BhoolePTV AwardsBest Actress JuryWon
Best Actress ViewersNominated
Lux Style AwardsBest TV Actress (Terrestrial)Won
Pani Jaisa PyarSatellite Best TV ActressWon
2013AinaTarang Housefull AwardsBest ActressNominated
Best On Screen CoupleNominated
Yahan Pyar Nahin HaiHum AwardsBest ActressNominated
MaatPakistan Media AwardsBest ActressWon
Hum AwardsBest ActressNominated
Lux Style AwardsSatellite Best TV ActressNominated
2014Ullu Baraye Farokht NahiHum AwardsBest ActressNominated
Best Actress PopularNominated
2015SannataLux Style AwardsSatellite Best TV ActressNominated
Bunty I Love YouHum AwardsBest ActressWon
Best Actress PopularNominated
Most Impactful CharacterNominated
Digest WriterBest ActressNominated
Best Actress PopularNominated
2016SangatHum AwardsBest ActressNominated
Best Actress PopularNominated
MantoARY Film AwardsBest Supporting ActressNominated
Galaxy Lollywood AwardsBest Supporting ActressWon
N/APride of PerformanceContribution to artsHonorary
2017Lahore Se AageyGalaxy Lollywood AwardsBest Actor in a Leading Role FemaleNominated
Best Dance Performance (along with Yasir Hussain)Nominated
Best On Screen Couple (along with Yasir Hussain)Nominated
Lux Style AwardsBest Actress FilmNominated
Nigar AwardsBest ActressNominated
IPPA AwardsBest Actress filmNominated
Mein SitaraLux Style AwardsBest Television ActressNominated
BesharamBest Television ActressNominated
ARY Viewers Choice AwardsBest Couple (along with Zahid Ahmed)Nominated
Best ActressWon
2018Hindi MediumStar Screen AwardsMost Promising Newcomer – FemaleNominated
Masala! AwardsBreakthrough Performance of the YearWon
Filmfare AwardsBest ActressNominated
Bollywood Film Journalist’s AwardsBest Female DebutWon
BaaghiLux Style AwardsBest TV ActressWon
IPPA AwardsBest Actor Female DramaWon