"we need to have male and female role models."
Sanam Saeed attended the Karachi Literature Festival as a guest speaker and said there is a lack of role models in Pakistani television.
According to her, OTT platforms may be used to reach a new audience if money intended for films is invested there instead.
Scriptwriter Faseeh Bari Khan was the second guest speaker at the From Silver Screen to Micro Screen: Goldmine of OTT Media guest speaker session, which was moderated by Safinah Danish Elahi.
Sanam Saeed carried the conversational reins and discussed the reason she doesn’t take on many roles in Pakistani films and television.
She believes that not every position that is presented to her has a motivating message.
Sanam said that her perspective has altered as a result of seeing her characters in Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Mera Naseeb being praised as “role models”.
She said: “I realised our youth has no role models, there are no role models left anymore.
“It is very important because Pakistan has such a high population of young people — we need to have male and female role models.”
The actress thinks social media has had a detrimental effect on young people in Pakistan, turning them more “robot-like”.
She said: “It’s very important to have characters that are aspirational, that women in our society can look up to so there’s hope and some form of change that can happen in society.”
On the guest panel, Sanam also discussed the factors she considers while picking the roles she plays.
She said: “When I choose a character, it is necessary for them to convey a message.
“Pakistani women don’t travel much, they aren’t very educated either — they don’t read too many books or see the world outside their homes so they don’t have many tools to learn from — their exposure is limited.
“But through television, the world opens up in front of them, they get a new perspective, they live vicariously through television.
“So it is very important, especially for Pakistan, because our television industry is booming.
“We have done some great work — delivered really good stories, messages, and productions to our public.
“It is our social responsibility to do good, to show good, to bring about change.”
When it comes to narrative, she claims that Pakistani material has declined.
“We used to write good stories but we don’t anymore because of what Faseeh Bhai pointed out — the ratings.”
“But these days, there’s confusion. [People ask], ‘Have you quit acting? We aren’t seeing you on TV’.
“I have quit acting on TV for now but I am taking up series on lots of OTT platforms.”
Sanam Saeed concluded and said that the majority of acclaimed ZEE5 shows are produced in Pakistan.
“Pakistani writers, directors, actors [and] production, and it is made in Pakistan. That means we have the talent.
“Hopefully ZEE5 is going to create some healthy competition for Pakistan to have more OTT platforms.”