"It first happened from her end and later ours as well."
In August 2022, Sajal Aly was announced to play Fatima Jinnah in a new web series.
A 14-minute prologue was even released, receiving a mixed response, with some believing Sajal was a “misfit” in the role.
Danial K Afzal, director of Fatima Jinnah: Sister | Revolutionist | Stateswoman, defended the casting choice.
However, rumours of Sajal exiting the project soon surfaced.
Danial confirmed that Sajal has left the show and has been replaced. Hinting at reasons for her exit, he said:
“I don’t think ‘withdrew’ is the right term.
“It was a matter of disassociation. It first happened from her end and later ours as well.
“The reaction we received from the people of Pakistan after the prologue release was rather huge.
“The producers and I wanted to adhere to people’s sentiments as well.
“When you are essaying such an iconic character, you have to prepare with method a lot. There’s a lot of preparation required.”
Praising Sajal Aly, Danial added:
“Now, Sajal is one of the biggest stars in the country. Sometimes, however, the method gets lost in the preparation.”
Sajal’s manager Maria Mahesar confirmed that she has left the show.
“Yes, Sajal has exited the Fatima Jinnah show. We wish Danial and the show the best of luck henceforth.”
Danial confirmed that a replacement has been found.
He said: “After we did part ways, we just wanted to move on and get on with the show.
“We’ve already found the actor who will essay Fatima Jinnah instead of Sajal. We will be able to give a statement soon. We just have to sign the contract and we would be good to go!”
The makers announced that “something important” will release on August 14, 2023, which would reveal the show’s cast.
Fatima Jinnah: Sister | Revolutionist | Stateswoman will comprise of three seasons. Each season has two volumes and each volume consists of 10 episodes.
Danial said: “The series is one of the most expensive ones made in Pakistan to date.
“It’s a big-budgeted venture. We’ve shot it so beautifully. The quality of the work is impeccable.”
He also explained how working on period projects is different from working on a regular show.
“See, when you’re dealing with the shows highlighting important historical narratives, you have to rebuild the entire past. And it takes time.
“But that doesn’t mean we will take seven, eight years to release the show.
“We’ll release it very soon; I just don’t have a definite date yet.
“We’re either thinking to release it on Fatima Jinnah’s birthday or the next Independence Day.
“The release date has to be of significance to Pakistan. We’ll have to see.”