Pakistani dramatist Haseena Moin, who was loved both in India and Pakistan for progressive shows such as “Tanhaiyaan” and “Dhoop Kinarey” and also penned the dialogues for Raj Kapoor’s blockbuster “Henna”, died here on Friday. She was 80.
Moin’s nephew Saeed told reporters she was getting ready to leave for Lahore when she had a cardiac arrest and died before she could receive any medical aid.
Moin, who epitomized the shared cultural heritage of the subcontinent with her relatable characters, particularly her strong women protagonists, was born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, on November 20, 1941.
After Partition, her family moved to Pakistan and lived in Rawalpindi. They then moved to Lahore and eventually settled in Karachi. She completed her post-graduation from Karachi University in 1963.
A recipient of the Pride of Performance award for her extraordinary contribution to the arts in Pakistan, Moin was among Pakistan’s most respected and successful dramatists with a prolific career that stretched beyond Pakistani television to Bollywood, Pakistani movies, and included Indians shows such as “Tanha” as well as “Kash-m-Kash” on Doordarshan.
But it was her career as a drama writer that gave Moin enduring fame as people from both sides of the border lapped up her PTV shows, including “Ankahi”, “Tanhaiyaan”, “Dhoop Kinarey”, “Aahat”, “Uncle Urfi”, “Shehzori”, “Des Pardes” and “Aansoo”.
The women in Moin’s dramas were ambitious career women, a rare sight even in Bollywood those days.
In an interview, Moin, who took a break to fight breast cancer for about four years, said she realised when she came back that the world of Pakistani television had completely changed.
“The atmosphere we had created in 40 years, the kind of woman we brought up, who was bold, independent, could defend herself, was happy and spread happiness, that woman is no longer there,” she told Samina Peerzada, the star of her show “Nazdeekiyan”.
“She is now getting beaten, crying. You just pick up the remote and you will see women crying everywhere. I could not write something like this,” she said in an interview in 2018 that has gone viral on social media after news of her death came in and people flooded platforms with tributes.
She was the one who introduced Zeba Bakhtiar to Raj Kapoor for the movie “Henna”, a cross-border love story also starring Rishi Kapoor that she wrote.
Moin was the first Pakistani writer to write for a Bollywood film. Raj Kapoor wanted her to write the dialogues for his dream project and was keen to cast Pakistani actor Shehnaz Sheikh. After she declined, Moin recommended Bakhtiar as the leading lady.
The film, completed by Randhir Kapoor after Raj Kapoor’s death, was successful but Moin’s name was not mentioned in the credits, following her request due to tensions following the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992.
Moin’s other popular shows include “Mere Dard ko Jo Zuban Milay”, “Kaisa Yeh Junoon”, “Dhundle Raaste” and “Shayad ke Bahar Aaye”.
Moin had started writing from her teenage years, coming up with a weekly column by the title of ‘Bhai Jan’ for a local publication when she was still in school.
She became popular with her plays for Radio Pakistan Karachi’s “Studio Number 9.
Moin became a teacher but her writing career took off when PTV offered her to write a play in 1969 for Eid and she came up with a light-hearted comedy “Happy Eid Mubarak”.
According to Pakistani media reports, Moin was last seen in public at a Pakistan Day event at the Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi on March 23. A day before that, she visited the Arts Council of Pakistan to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The breast cancer survivor had written a web-series on the subject. It is scheduled to release next month.
Actors and politicians mourned Moin’s death and recalled her great contribution in putting Pakistani dramas on the world map.
Actor Nimra Bucha said, “The woman who put Pakistani drama on the map, wrote clumsy, funny, human, working female characters as leads…”
Filmmaker Mehreen Jabbar called Haseena an icon.
“Thank you Haseena Moin for your unforgettable characters. You are and will be a national treasure,” she wrote on Instagram.” Actor Sania Saeed posted a picture of Moin on Instagram and wrote “Haseena Aapa goodbye”.
Her drama “Dhoop Kinarey”, which was popular in India as well in the ‘80s, inspired the Indian serial “Kuch Toh Log Kahenge”.
She wrote a play for India called “Tanha” besides the Doordarshan show “Kash-m-kash”.
In Pakistani cinema, known as Lollywood, Moin wrote the script for “Yahan Se Wahan Tak”, dialogues for “Nazdekiyan” and “Kahin Pyar Na Ho Jaye”