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There was a stagnant period on Pakistani television when male actors adhered to a stereotypical and expected representation of their gender: overconfident, good looking, macho, troubled by females yet man of the house. However, judging by this year’s outstanding performances, that time is gone for good. We have listed (in no particular order, whatsoever) the best male performances where men are naïve, fragile, insecure, outright sinister and scheming or bullies.

From Imran Ashraf and Humayun Saeed to Bilal Abbas and Ahad Raza Mir, these are the actors whose work stood out in 2019 as best of the best.


Zahid Ahmed



Zahid is a marvel as Sameer or Sameera in Ishq Zahe Naseeb. Playing such an emotionally complex character was a challenge that Zahid should be lauded to accept and then own it. Right from his dressing sense, persona and empty gaze as Sameer to a towering female who wore a bright red pout with panache, Zahid aces his multiple personalities. This is one character that would remain in everyone’s subconscious for a long time.


Humayun Saeed



The actor has been in the industry for over two decades; even his fans didn’t expect him to pull off a character like Danish but the actor took all by surprise when he played such a demure and naïve man in Meray Paas Tum Ho. We never expected to see Humayun Saeed in a role where his body language is a complete opposite of his true self. Opening himself to this betrayed, disheartened man, Humayun allowed Danish to overshadow his star persona. Though the drama has a few episodes left, we are still invested and rooting for the new and improved rich Danish and wish to see him happy in the end.


Imran Ashraf



It’s impossible to pen down note-worthy male performances this year and not talk about Bhola. Imran Ashraf’s character in Ranjha Ranjha Kardi became a phenomenon within a few episodes. Imran played a mentally challenged boy in a way that was inspirational, affable and adorable at the same time. It is highly unlikely to see such characters in a romantic setting, however, Bhola and Noori (Iqra Aziz) were couple goals in their own unique way. There’s no doubt that Imran is going to take many trophies home next year.


Rehan Sheikh



Yes, Rehan Sheikh wasn’t a lead hero in Inkaar but what he did was heroic. Rehan played Hafiz Ilyas, father of a stab victim Hajra (Yumna Zaidi). We would like to see him receive an award in any category because the magic a good actor can cast cannot be defined by the number of scenes or lines that he has. He portrayed a long-lost role in our dramas i.e. a supportive father who would stand by her daughter irrespective of what society says. A father who in the face of adversity didn’t back down due to societal pressures or family honor; indeed a role model. Scriptwriters, please take hint!


Bilal Abbas Khan



It’s right when people say ‘seeing is believing’; it would have been impossible to convince any viewer that a sweet and demure boy like Bilal Abbas Khan can ace a negative character like Wajih in Cheekh. Bilal took the cake home from everyone else in the play including Aijaz Aslam, Emaad Irfani and even a strong and resilient Saba Qamar. His menacing ways and bad demeanor stood out in front of an acting powerhouse like Saba. Indeed, the actor has a long way to go!


 Asad Siddiqui



Sometimes negative roles give an actor their biggest break and similar thing happened with Asad Siddiqui when it comes to his stinct as Jawad in Surkh Chandni. He wasn’t just playing an acid attacker but a criminal who boasts this heinous act and isn’t ashamed of it. Asad played Jawad with a conviction that he is oblivious of his faults and character flaws. The actor got immersed in Jawad’s psyche, who till the very end didn’t flinch for a second or tried to mend his ways.


Ahad Raza Mir



Ahad’s name will appear perhaps more than once in next year’s award ceremonies. The actor was seen as a sweet, caring and courageous Saad in Ehd-e-Wafa as well as a conflicted and disturbed Amaan ullah in Yeh Dil Mera. His pair with Sajal is already hit and Sahad fans will eagerly wait to see the jori win some trophies. However, we love how Ahad can pull off both twisted and simple characters with ease.


Adnan Siddiqui



Adnan Siddiqui may have played different grey characters in his body of work but the way Shahwar has been registered has set a new precedent. Like Ayeza and Humayun, Adnan also delivered a heavy set of dialogues and his performance was indeed commendable, especially after watching his breakdown scene in jail where he denies recognizing Mehwish.