Shahid Nadeem

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Shahid Nadeem
شاہد ندیم
Shahid Mahmood Nadeem

1947 (age 75–76)
Occupation(s)Human rights activist, journalist, playwright, screenwriter, theatre director, television director
Years active1970s to present
Employer(s)PTV (DMD)
Ajoka Theater (executive director)
Notable workToba Tek Singh (1992)
Uraan (1995)
Bullah (2001)
Burqavaganza (2008)
Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh (2012)
SpouseMadeeha Gauhar (wife)
ChildrenSavera Nadeem (daughter)
Nirvaan Nadeem (son)
Sarang Nadeem (son)
RelativesFaryal Gohar (sister-in-law)
AwardsList of awards

Shahid Mahmood Nadeem (Urdu: شاہد ندیم; born 1947) is a Pakistani journalist, playwright, screenwriter, theater and television director, and a human rights activist.[1]

He served as the general manager, program director, and deputy managing director of the Pakistan Television Corporation. He is currently director of the Ajoka Theater and director of the PTV Academy.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Shahid Nadeem was born to a Muslim family in 1947, during the partitioning of British India, in Sopore, Kashmir, to a well-known doctor;[4][5] the family later settled in Lahore, Punjab.[6]


Nadeem began his career as a human rights and social activist in Lahore. During the era of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, he was imprisoned three times in 1969, 1970, and in 1979 for his political activism.[6][7] In 1980, he was forced to go abroad and moved to London where he worked for Amnesty International between 1980 and 1988, from 1991 to 1993 in Hong Kong, and then in Los Angeles.[6][1]

Nadeem has directed and written plays for the theater as well as a number of TV series, most of them for PTV.[8][9] The majority of his plays are written in Urdu and Punjabi. He has adapted a few English plays.[6] Nadeem writes for newspapers, among them The Express Tribune.[10]

In 1995, Nadeem directed and wrote two television serials for the Pakistan Television Corporation including Neelay Hath. One of them is the political drama Zard Dopehar which aired on PTV and starred Shujaat Hashmi and Samina Peerzada. The story centres around a corrupt politician who grew up in a typical middle-class family.[11]

The other, Uraan, aired in the same year on PTV and was very popular. It focused on the culture and management at Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). It was shot mostly at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, but some of it was filmed in Kathmandu, London, Nairobi, New York City, and Paris. Shakeel played the lead as a PIA aircraft captain and Faryal Gohar as a senior flight purser.[12]

Nadeem wrote a hit comedy television series Janjaal Pura for PTV during the 2000s. The serial was directed by Tariq Jamil and starred Savera Nadeem, Mehmood Aslam and Naseem Vicky.[13]

On 23 August 2008, the Alhamra Arts Council hosted the launch of Selected Plays published by Oxford University Press (OUP) with the help of Ajoka.[7] The book contains seven of his famous plays: Teesri Dastak, Barri, Aik Thi Nani, Kala Meda Bhes, Dukhini, Bulha and Burqavaganza.[14][15] The book was also launched at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Islamabad on 25 August 2008 with the help of the Pakistan Academy of Letters.[16] Two collections of his Urdu and Punjabi plays have been published.[6]

In 2012 Nadeem wrote a play Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh,[17] directed by Madeeha Gauhar, which was first performed at the Alhamra Arts Council in Lahore on 14 December 2012 by the Ajoka Theater group. The play is based on the life of Saadat Hassan Manto and was well received by audiences. Manto was played by Naseem Abbas.[18] In January 2013 the play was presented at the Akshara Theatre in New Delhi, India.[19] It was due to be presented at the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi but was cancelled due to security concerns.[20] In February 2013, Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh was performed at Nishtar Hall, Peshawar by Ajoka.[21]

In 2013, Nadeem started writing the script for the television serial Main Manto based on the life of Saadat Hasan Manto. The series is directed by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat,[22] with Sarmad Khoosat playing the lead; he is supported by Mahira Khan and Saba Qamar. The film screened all over Pakistan to critical acclaim.

Personal life[edit]

Nadeem has a daughter, Savera Nadeem, from his first marriage who is a television actress.[9] Later Nadeem married Madeeha Gauhar and has two sons, Sarang and Nirvaan, the latter being a TV, film and theatre actor/director, who has also written columns for The Nation.[23][24] Nadeem and Gauhar first met in London when Shahid was working at Amnesty International and Gauhar was on a study scholarship from the British Council.[25]


  • Selected Plays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 ISBN 978-0-19-547477-0.[14]



Year Title director screenWriter Notes
2003 Shararat No Yes
2015 Manto No Yes


Year Title Director Writer Notes
1985 Chalk Chakkar No Yes Adaption of The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht
1987 Barri[1] No Yes
1987 Marya Hoya Kutta No Yes
1988 Itt Yes Yes
1989 Choolah No Yes
1990 Jhali kithay jaway No Yes
1991 Teesri Dastak[1] No Yes
1992 Lappar No Yes
1992 Toba Tek Singh No Yes Adaption of Toba Tek Singh by Saadat Hasan Manto
1992 Dekh Tamasha Chalta Ban[1] No Yes
1993 Ek Thi Nani[1] No Yes
1995 Jum Jum Jeeway Jaman Pura No Yes
1995 Uraan[9]
1998 Bala King[1] No Yes
2000 Dukhini No Yes
2001 Bullah[1]
Adhoori No Yes
Mainoon Kari Kareenday Ni Mae No Yes
2001 Bullah[1] No Yes
Border Border No Yes
2006 Dushman No Yes
2006 Maon Ke Naam No Yes
2008 Burqavaganza[1] Yes Yes
2008 Hotel Mohenjodaro Yes Yes
2010 Dara Yes Yes
2011 The Dreams Can Come True No Yes
2011 Dukh Darya[1] No Yes [26]
2011 Kala Meda Bhes [26]
2011 Mera Rang De Basanti Chola No Yes
2011 Amrika Chalo Yes Yes
2012 Rozan-e-Zindan Se No No Editor and selector of the play
2012 Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh No Yes


Year Title Director screenWriter Notes
1995 Zard Dopehar[1][9] Yes Yes
1995 Uraan[9] Yes Yes
1997 Janjaal Pura[9] No Yes
2013 Main Manto No Yes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1989 PTV Silver Jubilee Award Won
2001 PEN International Fellowship Won
2005 Masood Khadarpoosh Award Bulha Won
2010 Pride of Performance Award[27] Literature Playwright Won


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "World Summit on Arts & Culture 2009 (includes Profile of Shahid Nadeem)" (PDF). website. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Shahid Nadeem, Sarmad Khoosat produce drama on Manto's life". 29 November 2012. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  3. ^ "English translations of Shahid Nadeem's plays launched". Oxford University Press website. 25 August 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  4. ^ Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta (14 November 2004). "Real life drama". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 January 2019.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Madeeha Gauhar passes away". Rising Kashmir. 25 April 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e The Columbia encyclopedia of modern drama. United States: Columbia University Press. 2007. p. 947. ISBN 9780231144247.
  7. ^ a b Tim Kindseth (23 October 2008). "Cold Plays". Time. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Biography of Shahid Nadeem". Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Profile of Shahid Nadeem". website. 9 November 2011. Archived from the original on 8 August 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Stories by Shahid Nadeem for the Tribune". The Express Tribune. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Pakistan Television is a partisan organ of the Pakistani state". UC Press books, California Digital Library. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Drama serial "Uraan", based on PIA by Shahid Nadeem". 21 August 2009. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Drama serial Janjaal Pura on PTV". 29 April 2009. Archived from the original on 30 June 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Selected Plays: Shahid Nadeem". Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  15. ^ Anum Pasha (24 August 2008). "Alhamra hosts launch of Nadeem's 'Selected Plays'". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Ajoka Theatre launches book of selected plays". Dawn. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  17. ^ Sher Khan (16 December 2012). "Saadat Hassan vs Manto: Bringing Manto to the stage". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh: the best understanding of Manto". The News International (newspaper). 1 March 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  19. ^ Madhur Tankha (20 January 2013). "Pakistani group stages play despite cancellation by NSD". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  20. ^ Madhur Tankha (18 January 2013). "Another casualty: 2 Pakistani plays cancelled". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  21. ^ Hidayat Khan (18 February 2013). "Paying homage: Remembering the controversy that was Manto". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  22. ^ Sher Khan (28 November 2012). "Playwright Shahid Nadeem aims to rediscover Manto for the audience". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  23. ^ Adnan Lodhi (16 October 2016). "Centre stage: Nirvaan Nadeem, new kid on the block". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  24. ^ Nirvaan Nadeem's profile on The Nation Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  25. ^ "An interview of Madeeha Gauhar by mag4you". website. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  26. ^ a b "Ajoka to mark Women's Day with drama fest". Dawn. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  27. ^ List of civil award winners (includes Shahid Mahmood Nadeem's Pride of Performance Award for 2010) Dawn (newspaper), Published 16 August 2009, Retrieved 17 April 2020