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“Look at him carefully…does he look like a boy to you?” Umi asks the warden who objects to a boy picking her up from the hostel. The warden takes one look at Shameem and gives her permission to leave, dismissing him with a nonchalant, “Oh, haan”. Shameem is no threat; he isn’t your average, conventional boy. In fact, he’s not even considered boy enough.

Who is Shameem, and what exactly is his gender? That’s a question that has been on everyone’s mind eversince the trailer for Mrs & Mr Shameem released. The 20-episode web series has been produced for ZEE5 and will be released for streaming on March 11.



In an interview for Instep, The News, one spoke to the four people spearheading series, asking them this very question.

Who is Mr. Shameem?

“Shameem is a character that everyone comes across but is quick to dismiss,” Naumaan Ijaz says, also adding that this is a character he conceptualized 13 years ago but no one would buy it. “He’s the only boy in a family of several sisters and has picked up traits that make him gentle and sensitive. We all know such boys who are mocked for being ‘sissy’, as Shameem is. The story isn’t about his orientation but about emotions. It’s just a beautiful portrayal of emotions. It’s just very intense.”


Saba Qamar and Nauman Ijaz play Shameem and Umaina in this unconventional love story.


“Shameen’s orientation is questioned several times but that’s not the focus of the story,” informs Saji Gul, who’s written the story. “This story is simply of a man who is perceived as effeminate and how difficult it is for him to exist and survive in society. It’s an unusual love story that has role reversals and breaks stereotypes.”

Saji also added that this is a story close to his heart as he feels he’s faced a lot of problems for being a sensitive man in a society that associates masculinity with muscle. “There’s always pressure to ‘man up’. But all men aren’t confrontational. Why is aggression always the solution to every problem?” he added.

 “For a man like Naumaan to play a character like Shameem took a while to get used to,” Saba Qamar shares. Saba is playing Umaina, or Umi, the love of Shameem’s life. “I initially felt it would be awkward. But he was on-point. I would forget my lines when I’d watch him perform. He’s a man raised amidst several sisters so he’s grown up to be sensitive. Men like him aren’t acceptable in society. We all look for Alpha Men in our lives. And maybe, on a personal level, a woman wouldn’t mind being with a man who was different but then society lays the rules for what is acceptable and what isn’t. “


Saba Qamar with director, Kashif Nisar


Director Kashif Nisar wraps it up nicely.

 “We’re telling the story of two people and our subject isn’t who the man is or who the woman is. It’s not about his sexual orientation. It’s about the love between these two people. It’s about relationships,” he says. “Take Naumaan’s character, for example – haven’t we type casted those characters? We add them for comic relief; we ridicule them. Why is mardaangi only seen in muscles?”

Why indeed?

As we celebrate International Woman’s Day this week, we can only hope that there will come a time when gender stereotyping will end and we see societies that are fair and equal in their treatment of men or women, gender non-specific.


  • The original article was published in Instep on Sunday, March 6, 2022



  • Avatar Ketan says:

    Dear Aamnaa Ji,
    I feel truly blessed to get an opportunity to watch Mrs. & Mr. Shameem on Zee 5
    This has to be Nauman Ijazz Saab’s finest performance till date. Saba Qamar Ji is a powerhouse of talent, trust me, it is not easy to play the role of Mrs. Shameem.
    A big shout out to the supporting cast as well…. their contribution is immense.
    Kashif Nissar Saab, is simply brilliant.
    As the story moves on, you laugh, you cry, you feel disappointed, hopefull, you feel angry, you feel helpless, one goes through a range of emotions, you live the characters. The screenplay, dialogues, the acting, the music, the art, the photography is awesome, the team has delivered an excellent web series.
    I am sure, all of you will find a way out to request Zee 5 and the producers of the web series to stream/beam this in Pakistan. Art, drama and cultural exchanges should move beyond boundries. This helps in connecting people.
    I enjoy watching The Haute Review….
    Thank you so much and Hassan Ji. I never miss your discussions/ reviews.
    Thank You and Regards,

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