Skip to main content

Pakistani actors and other media personalities have time and again proved their mettle in the local industry, but some of them have transcended boundaries and made us proud with their achievements on foreign land. A few of them were offered roles at international forums and the rest have been recognised for their contribution to the fields of art, music and cinema.

Here is a list of five exceptionally talented individuals from Pakistan who have made us all so proud!


Ahad Raza Mir




A University of Calgary theatre student, Ahad Raza Mir is in Calgary these days performing the role of Hamlet in Vertigo Theatre’s Hamlet: A Ghost Story.

It is a difficult task to perform a Shakespeare tragedy for a foreign audience and Ahad is garnering applause for the same. The actor is the first South-Asian Canadian to play Hamlet in Canada and the actor accredit his supportive parents and sheer hard work for achieving this milestone.

Actress Sajal Aly, who is in Alberta these days, has seen him perform and she took to Instagram to praise him for his talent. “Ahad, I have to admit that there’s nobody like you. Playing Hamlet is an accomplishment. The language, the emotions, the impact of the character was so well portrayed. Out of all the performances of any actor I’ve ever witnessed, your Hamlet was easily one of the BEST. Please bring the show to Pakistan so that everyone can see the finest actor we have,” she wrote.

Not only Sajal, but millions of Ahad’s fan in Pakistan would also love to see Ahad perform Hamlet in Pakistan.


Rahat Fateh Ali Khan




The Sufi singer is among eight people who will be awarded honorary degrees by the University of Oxford at a ceremony called ‘Encaenia’ on June 26.

According to a statement issued by the university, “Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has sung more than 50 title tracks of television serials and over 100 film songs in both Hollywood and Bollywood.”

Earlier in 2017, the University of Oxford also named a rehearsal hall — The Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Music Room — after the singer, making him the first South Asian artist to receive such an honor. It is a moment of honour when one of the most reputable universities in the world recognises Pakistani talent on more than one occasion.


Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy




If all you know about filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is that she is a two-time Academy Award winner for her documentaries Saving Face and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, then hold on tight as she has a long list of awards and nominations.

Recently, Sharmeen has been nominated for National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications [NAMIC] Vision Awards 2019 for her collaborative HBO Sports documentary Student Athlete. This isn’t all, the talented woman has three Emmy Awards and has also received an honorary Halal-i-Imtiaz from the government of Pakistan for her contribution to arts in the year 2012.

The universally celebrated filmmaker is also the first Pakistani to win the prestigious 2018 Eliasson Global Leadership Prize for her world-class storytelling skills.


Iram Parveen Bilal




The filmmaker surprised Pakistan when she shared that her project – Wakhri – will be showcased at the Cannes Cinéfondation Atelier this year. Iram Parveen Bilal announced that Wakhri will be one of the 15 projects presented at the Cannes L’Atelier co-production meeting in May.

The Cinéfondation Atelier invites 15 directors to Festival de Cannes every year whose projects have been considered particularly promising. Together with the producers, these filmmakers get an opportunity to meet international co-production houses to help them start the making of their film and finish the project for Cannes.


Asim Abbasi & the cast of Cake



Instagram: Jury members of the Oscar committee with Asim Abbasi, Aamina Sheikh & Adnan Malik


It was a moment of pride when director Asim Abbasi’s film — Cake — became an official submission to ‘Foreign Language Film Award’ category at the 91st Academy Awards. Thought the film never made it to the final list but it was an honour in itself when the jury members of the Oscar committee in Los Angeles saw the film with Asim Abbasi, Adnan Malik and Aamina Sheikh.

“It is quite surreal to come this far, to watch prominent members of the movie-making business here in Hollywood emerge from the screening in tears, hand-holding and embracing us without any need for introductions, small talk or formalities. They resonated, they felt it was a Pakistan they had never seen before, they felt the characters and situations were those playing out in their own homes and lives. We all felt one. Power of cinema reaffirmed,” Aamina Sheikh posted on Instagram after the screening.