‘BBC’ journalist let his creativity loose as he re-imagined the Netflix show

After Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s admission that he once had Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, and Imran Abbas in mind for his epic Heeramandi: The Diamond BazaarBBC journalist Haroon Rashid took it upon himself to pick a hypothetical perfect Pakistani cast for the series.

The radio presenter, who is a goldmine of information on all things entertainment on the BBC Asian Network, took to his Instagram handle to create a reel where he remarked, “I agree it’s a shame that Heeramandi doesn’t have Pakistani actors in it – so let’s recast Heeramandi with Pakistani stars!”

Careful to acknowledge that the series already has an exceptional Indian cast bringing the story to life, Rashid began by dissecting the female actors in Heeramandi. According to him, there was no doubt about who could have played the character of Bibbojan. “Mahira Khan would have been absolutely magnificent, no two ways about it,” he said, citing the actor’s performance in Parey Hut Love as a benchmark. “You can just imagine the potential she has in this space.”

Moving on, Rashid noted that Sarwat Gilani was “born to star in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali production” and would have been perfect in the role of Waheeda. Drawing on her performance in Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam, Rashid said, “She could do this role beautifully as someone who is scorned and wants her right and haq and is feeling betrayed.”

 

In Rashid’s expert opinion, Saba Qamar would have been “exceptional” as Lajjo, and would have brought the character to life beautifully. “I can only imagine what she would have done if she’d been given this role,” he mused.

However, the presenter had difficulty narrowing down who should have played Alamzeb. In Rashid’s mind, the choice boiled down to Sajal Ali or Sonya Hussyn. “Sajal has that old school, old world charm and we know she can do that dreamful look from dramas like Alif. Or do I want to see Sonya Hussyn? Both would be exceptional,” admitted Rashid.

Finally, for the role of the matriarch Mallikajan, Rashid was left in no doubt at all that film and television veteran Meera would have produced a stellar performance. “I can just see her as Mallikajan going wild and evil and menacing and wicked and taking revenge. You can just see his happening. It would have been genius casting.”

Turning his attention to the male cast, Rashid was adamant that there would have been no one could have produced a finer performance than Fawad Khan for the role of Wali. “Fardeen Khan was decent enough, but Fawad would have taken this to a whole new level,” remarked Rashid. As for the role of Tajdar, Rashid defied audiences to “name me someone better than Wahaj [Ali].”

For the character of Zorawar, Rashid slotted Pakistani-Canadian actor Ahad Raza Mir, for the “obvious curly hair comparison”, although he added that it wasn’t just the hair. “He could “easily [play] that angsty young man that Zorawar’s character is supposed to be,” explained Rashid.

And for the role of Zulfikar, Rashid hands-down selected Humayun Saeed, if only for the similarity in moustaches. “I don’t know if Humayun would be too happy about it, but I can totally see this happening!” joked Rashid

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