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Sanam Saeed

Early life

Born in England, her father is a retired interior designer while her mother was an art teacher. She has one brother and one sister, Adnan Saeed and Amira Saeed respectively.The multi-ethnic family (her father is a Punjabi while her mother is a Memon) moved back to Karachi in 1990. She did her O-levels at Bay View High School Karachi and her A-levels at L’Ecole College. Saeed started modelling at the age of 16. In Paper Magazine, she confessed that the reason she quit modelling was due to her increasingly becoming conscious about her looks for the first time in her life.

Career

Television debut (2010–2011)

Saeed started her acting career with a supporting role in the 2010 ARY Digital serial, Daam as adaption of Umera Ahmad’s novel of the same name opposite Aamina Sheikh and Sanam Baloch. Directed by Mehreen Jabbar, Saeed played the role of Fiza a “selfish and arrogant girl” who develops feeling for her sister-in-law’s brother, which later become a burden for her.

The following year she played the lead female role in Adnan Ahmed’s Hum TV serial Mera Naseeb, along with Syra Yousuf, Imran Aslam and Imran Abbas Naqvi. Her portrayal of Shazia, an outspoken and rebellious girl, was particularly praised.

2012–2014

Saeed followed with the role of Yamina, a British Pakistani who is married to a materialistic snob, a wife beater (played by Junaid Khan) in Mehreen Jabbar’s Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu an adaptation of Farhat Ishtiaq’s novel of the same name. Sultana Siddiqui’s romantic drama Zindagi Gulzar Hai an adaption of Umera Ahmad’s novel of the same name was Saeed’s next serial. Co-starring Fawad Khan, she was cast as Kashaf Murtaza, a very sensible and matured girl, comes from a middle-class family background marked a departure from the glamorous characters that she had a reputation for portraying. The pairing of Saeed with Khan resulted in hype over the drama aired and it proved a major commercial success.It earned her 3 Awards as Best Actress. In addition, Saeed played Bibi, a Syrian Christian single mother in Bee Gul’s Talkhiyan, based on Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things. The drama, directed by Khalid Ahmed, set in Murree, received positive feedback from the critics and Saeed’s portrayal of Bibi, a Syrian Christian single mother, was particularly praised.

Saeed next played opposite Junaid Khan in the 2013 mystery drama Kadoorat aired on Hum TV from Momina Duraid. Her role was Minah, who take revenge from her step-mother and step-sister and later felt guilty. The same year, she appeared in Geo TV serial Ek Kasak Reh Gaye opposite alongside Mikaal Zulfiqar and ARY Digital’s Shukk opposite Adeel Hussain and Ayesha Khan.

Saeed next appeared opposite Ahsan Khan and Sarwat Gilani in the romantic telefilm Dil Mera Dhadkan Teri, her third collaboration with Mehreen Jabbar. The telefilm was the remake of Waheed Murad’s 1968 film of the same name. She featured in the role of “rich and spoiled brat”. The telefilm received mixed reviews from critics, however Saeed’s performance was praised by both critics and viewers.Saeed also starred in two other Eid special telefilms Kahin Chand Na Sharma Jaye opposite Goher Mumtaz and Tamana ki Tamana opposite Bilal Khan and Mathira. Saeed’s only serial of 2014 was opposite Mohib Mirza, Noor Hassan Rizvi and Junaid Khan in the Hum TV serial Firaaq. She is portraying the role of Paiman who struggles to live at her own wills despite of boundaries by her mother. As for 2015, Saeed had several upcoming projects in various stages of productions. She completed Anjum Shahzad’s biographical film Mah-e-Meer with Fahad Mustafa and Iman Ali, describing it as the first “glamorous” role of her career. She has also committed to feature alongside Mohib Mirza in Nasir Khan’s romantic thriller Bachaana, where she will portray the role of Aalia, an Indian girl. Saeed was also finalised to play the lead in Duraid’s Diyar-e-Dil.

Recent work and film debut (2015–present)

Her next serial, Diyar-e-Dil, was not only the biggest success of 2015, but also one of the most successful serials of all time in Pakistan. Directed by Haseeb Hassan, and based on Farhat Ishtiaq’s novel of same name, she was cast alongside Maya Ali, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Osman Khalid Butt and Abid Ali, and portrayed Ruhina Behroze Khan, a young middle-class girl who marries her rich class fellow Behroze Khan (played by Zulfiqar), against his family members and leaves homeand gives birth to new rivalry in both families.

In 2016, she was seen in four Pakistani films. She made her film debut in Nasir Khan’s romantic thriller Bachaana with Mohib Mirza She next appeared in Anjum Shahzad and Sarmad Sehbai’s Mah-e-Meer, along with Fahad Mustafa and Iman Ali, describing it as the first “glamorous” role of her career.She was also seen in Ahmed Jamal’s Rahm. She then appeared in Mehreen Jabbar’s Dobara Phir Se, alongside Adeel Hussain, Hareem Farooq, Ali Kazmi and Tooba Siddiqui, which earned her an award for Best supporting actress (film) at the 16th Lux Style Awards.

In 2018, she appeared as the younger sister Zara, in critically acclaimed film Cake.Reviewing the film for The Express Tribune, critic Rahul Aijaz appreciates Saeed’s extra-ordinary performance in the film and wrote ”Saeed portrays Zara with suppressed emotions, running away from her past. Hers is the journey we try to keep digging into, slowly. The actor’s naturally calm exterior and controlled style of speaking aids her project Zara’s insecurities.”

Music career

Saeed had briefly appeared in third season of Coke Studio Pakistan where she sang background vocals on “Alif Allah (Jugni)” by Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi, “Aisha” by Amanat Ali and “Chori Chori” by Meesha Shafi as a backing vocalist.

Musical theater

Sanam has worked for Made for Stage Productions in the following stage plays: ChicagoMamma Mia!CarnageDhaani and Grease.

Personal life

She married her childhood friend, Farhan Hassan, who is a banker from Karachi, on 2 January 2015.In 2018, she stated that her husband and she are divorced.

Filmography

Key
Film has yet to be released Denotes films that have not yet been released

Theatre

Year Theatre Play Role Notes
2007 Chicago Roxie Hart
2009 Mama Mia Rosie
2009 Carnage
2013 Grease Rizz
2013 Dhaani Ruqayya

Films

Year Title Role Notes
2016 Bachaana Aalia Film Debut[22][34]
2016 Mah-e-Meer Naina Kanwal Based on the life of Mir Taqi Mir[22][23]
2016 Dobara Phir Se Samar [22][35]
2016 Rahm Samina [22]
2017 Azad Screened at South Asian International Film Festival 2017 [36][22]
2018 Cake Zara Best Feature Fiction Award at South Asian Film Festival [37][38]

Television

Year Title Role Network
2010 Daam Fizza ARY Digital[39]
2011 Mera Naseeb Shazia Hum TV[39]
2012 Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu Yamina Hum TV[10]
2012–2013 Talkhiyan Bibi Express Entertainment[13]
2012–2013 Zindagi Gulzar Hai Kashaf Murtuza Hum TV[39]
2013 Dil Mera Dharkan Teri Beenish Telefilm[40]
2013 Kadoorat Minah Hum TV[39]
2013 Kahin Chand Na Sharma Jaye Mishal/Sameer Telefilm
2013 Tamanna ki Tamanna Zainab Telefilm[41]
2013 Ek Kasak Reh Gayi Paras Geo TV
2013 Shukk Sania ARY Digital[39]
2014 Firaaq Paimaan Hum TV[39]
2015 Mr. Shamim Maya Hum TV
2015–2016 Diyar-e-Dil Ruhina Hum TV[42]
2016–2017 Dil Banjaara Nida Hum TV[43]
2018 Aakhri Station Tehmina Ary Digital[44]
2018–2019 Deedan Resham A-Plus TV[45]

Discography

Year Song Notes
2010 Alif Allah (Jugni) on Coke Studio Pakistan (Season 3) as a backing vocalist[26]
Aisha
“Chori Chori”

Awards and nominations

Year Work Award Result Ref
Hum Awards
2013 Zindagi Gulzar Hai Best Actor Female (Jury) Nominated [46]
2013 Zindagi Gulzar Hai Best Actor Female (Popular) Won [46]
2013 Zindagi Gulzar Hai Best On-screen Couple (Jury) Won [46]
2013 Zindagi Gulzar Hai Best On-screen Couple (Popular) Won [46]
2015 Diyar-e-Dil Best Actor in a negative role Nominated [47]
Lux Style Awards
2013 Zindagi Gulzar Hai Best Television Actress – Satellite Won [48]
2017 Dobara Phir Se Best Supporting Actress Won [49]
Bachaana Best Film Actress Nominated
Hum Style Awards
2016 N/A Most Stylish Actress – Film Nominated [50]
2017 N/A Most Stylish Actress – Film Won [51]

Other recognitions

  • 2012: Loreal Paris Award (Model of the year)
  • 2013: Tarang House Full Awards (Best Female In Supporting Role for Dil Mera Dharkan Teri)[52]
  • 2017: Eastern Eye Awards 2016 (Best Film Actress award for Rahm)[53]