Updated May 10, 2017 10:47am

I'm going to be playing Qandeel Baloch in a biopic, says Saba Qamar

“There are stories that need to be told and I want to help tell them,” says Saba Qamar.

The actress is on a roll. The buzz around town right now is focused on the upcoming release of her Bollywood debut Hindi Medium where she plays the female lead opposite Irrfan Khan, veritably one of Bollywood’s most illustrious actors.

Following the movie, though, Saba is set to make even more waves with a topic that is close to her heart.

“I am going to be playing Qandeel Baloch in a biopic,” Saba finally confirms, putting to rest the rumors that had been afloat for a while now. The initial glimpses from the upcoming venture show the actress peering into the camera, uncannily looking like Qandeel. “I have cut my hair in order to play her,” says Saba. “It’s going to be exciting.”

The drama serial will be called 'Baaghi'
The drama serial will be called 'Baaghi'

The drama serial is a venture by Paragon Production, produced by Nina Kashif, General Manager of Urdu1. The channel produced the telefilm Ek Thi Marium last year. Qandeel’s story will be called Baaghi and according to Nina, will tackle the social issue of honor killing.

"Qandeel represented the double standards that exist in our society,” continues Saba. “She had the courage to expose how two-faced people could be."

“We want to tell Qandeel’s story in a very sensitive way,” says Nina. “We do not want to glorify her nor do we want her to look pitiful. She was a victim of honor killing and this is what we will particularly be highlighting. The story has been written by Shazia Khan, the screenplay is by Umera Ahmed and Farooq Rind will be directing.”

The cast will include Sarmad Khoosat, Ali Kazmi and Osman Khalid Butt, with Saba playing the lead. How does Saba feel about playing Qandeel, a figure who divided opinion with her social media presence?

On the sets of 🤐 #sabaqamar #Khi #characterrole #biopic #megaproject

A post shared by Saba Qamar (@sabaqamarzaman) on

“An actor is not defined by boundaries and I am not afraid at all,” she says. “Qandeel was a victim and a fighter and somebody needs to tell her story. She was a woman who went from place to place trying to find work for herself. She tried to work in transport, read devotional naats on TV but wherever she went, she was misused by people. It was only much later that she chose to make videos on the Internet. And she did all this and earned money and used it to support her family. Her family didn’t have any problems taking money from her but they felt that it was all right to turn around and kill her in the name of honor.”

Also read: Qandeel Baloch is dead because we hate women who don't conform

“Qandeel represented the double standards that exist in our society,” continues Saba. “She had the courage to expose how two-faced people could be. There were many people that condemned her in the name of religion but tell me, doesn’t religion tell us to abide by many things? How can we choose to selectively follow what we find comfortable and attack anybody who tries to break free from the norms that we choose to set.”

This is, of course, quintessential Saba. In an industry thronged by mundane ‘good bahus’ and girls next door, the actress has often opted to prove her acting mettle with roles that are experimental and even disturbing. Treading her own path, Saba has steered away from partisanship, openly denouncing an industry that she feels is plagued with favouritism.

Saba may be the best choice for this drama serial
Saba may be the best choice for this drama serial

Only recently, she openly boycotted the Lux Style Awards, where she had three nominations, on the basis that they had ignored her for many years before. Declaring that the awards lacked credibility, she had said that they didn’t deserve her attendance. Even when venturing into Bollywood, Saba doesn’t seem to have followed the typical route of serving as eye-candy opposite a bigshot co-star. If the Hindi Medium trailer is anything to go by, Saba gets the chance to hold her own against Irrfan and she’s managed to do it very well.

Saba will go on to play Qandeel and we’re guessing that the drama serial will hit some really hard home-truths. What of the threats that may follow? “Let them follow,” shrugs Saba. “Everyone has to die someday. I’d rather die after doing something worthwhile."

“I am so proud that I ventured out of my country with a ‘dhang ki (decent) film’. Of course I was excited to be working opposite Irrfan, but I didn’t feel the urge to scream ‘Oh my god!’ or behave like a fan-girl. If he’s an actor then so am I. Having said this, he is an incredible actor and has tremendous screen presence. There would be absolute flurry on the set when he was about to arrive. He used to be very amused by my nonchalance and called me Bindaas.”

“I saw the movie and it has the makings of a complete hit. While watching the first-half, I laughed several times. During the second-half, I cried. I am looking forward to its release.”

And then, Saba will go on to play Qandeel and we’re guessing that the drama serial will hit some really hard home-truths. What of the threats that may follow?

“Let them follow,” shrugs Saba. “Everyone has to die someday. I’d rather die after doing something worthwhile.


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Comments (43) Closed

muhammad waqas ahmed May 06, 2017 01:11pm

When she was alive ppl usd to say her mind sick and now Shooting Biopic

Parvez May 06, 2017 01:20pm

Lets hope the producer / director make a movie that depicts the truth, including the strong, fearless character of Qandeel Baloch and the hypocrisy of society including our so called religious lot.
Saba Qamar is a seasoned talented actor....if anyone can play the the part, it's Saba Qamar.

ABE May 06, 2017 01:46pm

What a shame! She cannot find something more meaningful and productive to do in life?
How did this character impact the lives of anyone, positively?? Or made a difference to an ordinary poor person?

Most people in Pakistan didn't give 2 cents to this creature, much less anyone outside with a clue who she was or what she represented??

fareed hussain May 06, 2017 01:53pm

who is going to play notorious Mufti Abdul Qawi?

Amhad Dr May 06, 2017 01:59pm

It is a brilliant knock and I have some real story of faith to share with audience and direction team of " Baghi" Since the day Qandeel was blow off- I was just fully prepared to appoint her for some social work- that I believe she was best capable of doing role for me. That was a decision on merit- and I did confirm through my artist friends In Dubai and Karachi." A moment- next to- I found her news and it made me completely walking dead on street for an hour or more.. absolutely bear foot and mentally shutoff .. I kept in silence and next day- I wrote a poem which I believe came through spiritual making voice- My best wishes for Maleha, Nina Kashif , Umair and all those friends..... And I would like to share URDU words " Aray o nadan jan lay , lafzoon ke haqeeqat he sahee / Aus ke nadane ko be kyonker toon ne haqeqat he mana...... May God bless you all......

Adnan May 06, 2017 02:01pm

Respect for Saba Qamr; she is a good actress. But I think we should avoid getting into any depiction of the late Qandeel (rip) that may rake controversies about her personality. We should let her go in peace.

IMTIAZ MAHMOOD May 06, 2017 02:07pm

In Pakistan who is ranked 143 in 144 countries in treatment of women, such movies can do a bit of good.

Falcon1 May 06, 2017 02:26pm

i bet you, there is not a single actor in Pakistan, who wants to play Abdul Sattar Edhi, because he wasn't 'glamorous' enough, nor as controversial and flashy than these shallow characters.

Independent May 06, 2017 02:28pm

Bravo. Go forward with courage Saba qamar. These stories need to be told and the society needs to see it's true face in the mirror. We can only change if we start to talk about issues. Best wishes

Sameer May 06, 2017 02:36pm

Waste of time. Liberals should focus on corruption and poverty.

Ravi May 06, 2017 02:42pm

All the best and more power to you but just be careful when its come to expose mindset i see male dominance from both country they just cant accept whether its pak or ind

Milton May 06, 2017 03:28pm

@ABE I am not sure. What is your problem ? Who you think you are to determine if Pakistani people cared for such a brutality or not ? Barbarity of any kind must be exposed in whatever way possible. Only those who lack the instincts of decent humans can object to such exposure.

Waqas May 06, 2017 04:33pm

That's looking good but this would open another paradox.

CHANdio May 06, 2017 06:08pm

It's ok to make such a bio pic but I'm worried no crazy person come after saba and tries to hurt her in any kind of ways.

Hammad Ansari May 06, 2017 06:47pm

Just be clear that Honor Killing is not religious problem, but a cultural problem.

SYed zAfar kazmi U.d.s.a May 06, 2017 08:15pm

Qandeel was a very brave, very difficult character with lots of contradictions in a society that is even more difficult and rife with contradictions. Saba Qamar has the talent, imagination and courage to successfully depict the full spectrum of the character and spirit she has undertaken to portray.. Best of wishes to the great artist

Shakeeb May 06, 2017 08:25pm

@ABE topic is honour killing.... which is very shameful part of our society!!!

nownow May 06, 2017 08:56pm

Great story, good to bring it up, and being played by a great actress. We all look forward to watching this.

a May 06, 2017 09:09pm

Oh God, stay safe girl !

Adeel May 06, 2017 09:55pm

My goodness! I see a myraid of white knights and social justice warriors. Guys, just because Qandeel is dead, doesn't make her a great person or role model. People living in Pakistan are so obsessed with white washed folks that you guys actually think Qandeel was a representation of strong free and powerful woman. I suggest people take courses on American women and adolescents. Academically, Qandeel is a text book representation of low self-esteem, poor role model, and a, in simple terms, a wannabe. Its very sad. Examples of such people in Western​ Society are Kim K and amongst men The Situation. Guys please don't turn people like Qandeel into role models. Any idot can use their body to gain attention. True role modelling is when an individual uses their mental talents, and resilience to achieve real meaningful goals. Example of such women are freedom fighters in North America that got women the right to vote.

P C TRIPATHY May 06, 2017 09:56pm

she is a very good actress, in the mould of Kangna Ranawat.

Adeel May 06, 2017 09:59pm

@Falcon1 excellent observation. Nobody will play him or his wife or any other great men and women that are true role models to society. People like Qandeel, Tahir Shah are examples of poor role modelling and low self-esteem. But our white washed wannabe society actually think they are strong, independent people. Our society needs self-esteem

PakCanuck May 06, 2017 10:06pm

She was the Madonna in Pakistan society.

monier May 06, 2017 10:06pm

Good luck

Lalit May 06, 2017 10:19pm

By far the best acting talent to have come out of Pakistan and that i am saying on the basis of having witnessed only the trailer of HM..she has indeed given IK a run for his money....eagerly waiting for this movie.

Mohit Gandhi May 06, 2017 11:33pm

A part of me dies inside whenever I see her pic

Chirag Patel May 06, 2017 11:44pm

@ABE it's called women empowerment...read on it

Zala May 06, 2017 11:58pm

Saba Qamar is very confident actress. She has achieved everything on her own. Kudos to Saba

imran May 07, 2017 12:59am

she was not an Ordinary girl.

imran May 07, 2017 01:04am

she was real person...who unmasked the masked man of our society. They watched her videos to enjoy and remarked as bad finger in our society

MEHR May 07, 2017 03:59am

Respect for Saba, but Umera Ahmad as the screen play writer???!!! Wasn't Qandeel Baloch the exact opposite of the patriarchal-submissive-bechaariness that's glorified in Umera Ahmad's female characters? Yikes.

Ali May 07, 2017 05:48am

@Falcon1 Very true

Saad May 07, 2017 06:35am

What double standards she is talking about. QB was one of the most hated and annoying figure while she was alive and now we are trying to make her a legend since she is no more. Mainly for commercial purpose since this topic can pull good number of people to cinema. Honestly speaking we don't have to praise her, fundamentally she was wrong and I agree that our society is wrong but two wrongs does not make a right!

Awab May 07, 2017 10:22am

U are beautiful

Shafqat Hussain May 07, 2017 12:50pm

Keep it up! You are going to uplift the meme that is a ' piece of thought' transferrable from person to person by imitation. Memes containing notions of religious or cultural superiority have been ‘cut-and-pasted’ into millions of young minds. Deadly memes caused the murder of Qandeel Baloch. After all, like fleas, memes and thought packages can jump from person to person. But they don’t bite everybody! A robust defence can be built by educating people into the spirit of critical inquiry, helping them become individuals to introspect. It is the need of time to change this meme. You are going to change this meme through a visual screen. You will definitely help to educate the peoples through your extraordinary performance. You would be definitely successful in your goal. Extremely likely it would be splendid. Regards & Good wishes for you Saba Qamar.

Dervaish khan May 07, 2017 03:22pm

Qandeel Baloch was the female version of Saadat Hassan Manto.

KB May 07, 2017 03:40pm

It suits you Qamar App. As both are almost alike

Sarak Chaap May 08, 2017 03:39am

What a shame they picked Qandeel's profile for the biopic, how about Abdul Sattar Edhi or Junaid Jamshed?

aleem May 08, 2017 08:09am

@Falcon1 very true...

jA-Australia May 08, 2017 08:26am

@Shafqat Hussain Cutting and pasting from a junk science article by a serial offender doesn't make the junk science any more correct the second time round. Throwing together fancy soundbites may impress the gullible, but wll only elicit smiles from people who actually know sociology.

Skeptic May 08, 2017 01:28pm

@Sarak Chaap - Even the biopic about Malala Yousefzai was produced by an American, not a Pakistani film-maker. While some Pakistanis film producer go around thumping their chest about winning after winning some award overseas...

How many movies have we produced about life of Jinnah? While Ghandi is worshiped by the universe as a God.

How about the life and times of Ayub Khan? Who was the most charismatic and popular president in Pakistan's history, (to be honored with gilded carriage ride with the Queen in London, that no other Pakistani has been honored with) and who did more for Pakistan during his term than any of the leaders ever since?

Chris Roberts May 11, 2017 08:51am

@Saad People who make these kinds od comments about Qandeel have completely missed the point. When you read the interviews with Qandeel and understand what she was attempting to do, a clearer picture emerges. So many restrictions are imposed on women leaving little room to manoeuver. The frustration, unhappiness and lack of freedom to make personal choices were what Qandeel was trying to highlight. Case in point - Qandeel was murdered for making a personal choice to highlight the plight of women in the way that she did.

M WAsim K May 12, 2017 11:06am

@Chirag Patel : a friendly advice, our societies are completely different in both of our countries. What u call women empowerment in your country is something else in our country. A world of a difference, try to take a look from top of both countries. A look on the way of life in general. Iam sure you will understand.