Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

The girl with the golden touch

Published in May-Jun 2015
Sanam Jung, actor, host and model, in profile.
Wardrobe courtesy: Feeha Jamshed.
Wardrobe courtesy: Feeha Jamshed.

Sanam Jung has finished hosting Jago Pakistan Jago, Hum TV’s popular morning show and is surrounded by fans. Before another fan can grab her attention, she quickly moves into the makeup room for a breather.

In the last six months, Jung has not had a day off from hosting Jago Pakistan Jago. She has just returned from Islamabad, where she was hosting an episode for Nestlé EveryDay’s 12-episode Khaas Taste Challenge TV show. In a few days she will be shooting the last part of Hum TV’s drama serial Alvida, which is topping the TRPs these days.

Everyone – channels, producers, advertisers, audiences – will tell you that for the past two years almost everything she has touched has turned to gold. Yet, despite her meteoric rise after her debut role in the hit TV drama serial Dil-e-Muztar, she remains uncertain about her success.

“After Dil-e-Muztar people started to recognise me; when you act in a TV drama everyone knows you. I did not think it would do so well and even now the whole fans-walking-up-to-me routine is new.”

Jung credits her family with keeping her feet on the ground, adding, “I am still scolded by my father in malls in front of people.”

She also finds it difficult to sit with her family and watch herself on TV.

“When the first episode of Dil-e-Muztar was aired, my mother wanted to invite friends over to watch it with us. I said no, because ‘beizzati honay waali hai’ (‘I am about to lose face’). Instead I went to a friend’s place. Whenever one of my dramas comes on, I end up watching them online at night after locking myself in the room.”

Her hesitation has made her play it safe when it comes to selecting projects; yet her choices have turned out to be – well, gold.

“I have not worked with many different teams. Of the four serials I did, three were with Shahzad Kashmiri as director and Momina Duraid has produced all of them. That is my space and I haven’t stepped out of it. I know it can be a drawback, but that is okay.”

In an age when celebrities will be celebrities and do it all, from provocative numbers to flying off to Mumbai at the first whiff of an offer, Jung has been running in the opposite direction and when Bollywood came calling, she turned them down.

“When I said I would not do bold scenes, they replied they could ‘cheat’, but even if they cheat a scene, the audience will think I have done it. So Bollywood is out of the question.”

None of these moves has made a dent in her fan following. Her choice of TV commercials has been impeccable and reads like a wish list that more ambitious models would kill for – Cadbury, Fair & Lovely, KFC and brand ambassador for Nestlé EveryDay. Jung is clear that she will only work with the best brands.

“I receive a lot of calls about appearing in commercials, but I am careful about what I choose. Instead of doing 10 a year, I prefer to pick one good brand and get paid well. We work so hard to build our profile, why throw it all away for a cheap face cream ad?”

Although she thinks “my acting is a tukka (fluke),” her choice of serials has been flawless and includes TRP busters such as Dil-e-Muztar, Alvida and the lead role in Mohabat Subh Ka Sitara Hai, written by the doyenne of Pakistani drama serials, Umera Ahmed.

Despite landing the choicest of TV roles, Jung says she is as nervous about her acting as she was on the first day of the Dil-e-Muztar shoot.

“They were shooting the scene when Sila marries and moves to a new house. Her husband doesn’t like her and she is unsure; this is how I felt then, so it was all natural as I had no clue what would happen next.”

It was that role (and that smile!) that led Jung to win the hearts of the nation as well as the Best Television Sensation Award (Female) at the 2014 Hum TV Awards; this year she hosted the awards in Dubai. She may be modest and self deprecating, but she knows to stop short of self sabotage.

Her onscreen vulnerability is palpable and therein lies her appeal. When she started hosting Hum TV’s morning show, she was as in awe of of the celebrities she invited as any fan would be. Her stories about the fan base she has acquired across Pakistan while shooting the Nestlé EveryDay campaign reflects this. Her eyes light up when she talks about women coming up to her to bless her – and pull her cheeks.

“They pull my cheeks because they think of me as one of the children in their household and they hug me as if they have known me since childhood.”

Wardrobe courtesy: Anam Jung
Wardrobe courtesy: Anam Jung

The girl-next-door in the truest sense, Jung, by her own admission, is “super close” to her family and hangs out with a small set of close friends from back when no one knew her. She puts this down as a major reason why she still has her head screwed on straight and hasn’t given into temptation in a world where temptations abound.

“My family is foremost in my mind when I decide whether to do a project. I don’t travel alone, whether to Islamabad or to Dubai. I am not allowed to. One of my sisters or my mother will accompany me.”

Jung’s career took off in 2008 when she went to Nabila’s for a free makeover while studying for her BBA.  

“They were making portfolios, but I was more interested in a free blow dry and makeup by Nabila and an evening out with my friends.”

However, soon after, she received a call from a modelling agency, which landed her first commercial with Zong. Next she was approached by Play TV to be a VJ, although her father warned her that if her grades suffered it would be the end of showbiz for her. Jung cleared her BBA and started her MBA in 2010 when she moved to AAG TV as a VJ.

“When AAG TV closed down, I thought the honeymoon was over and it was time to get serious about finding a regular job.”

That was not to be; she received a call from Duraid and as Hum TV had been asking her to act for two years, she thought it was time to give it a shot and that is how she got onto Dil-e-Muztar.

Today Jung is hosting Jago Pakistan Jago, travelling extensively for Nestlé EveryDay and starring in Alvida. Yet, whereas most celebrities would be overjoyed at being seen everywhere, she remains cautious.

As to what’s next, Jung says she doesn’t plan things. For the time being she is enjoying hosting the morning show and quietly lets on that wedding bells may be tolling soon, although she refuses to say more except that “he is not from the TV industry and I have known him for a long time.”

As for her celebrity status, she ends the conversation with these words:

“I never want to reach a point where I think I am the best, because the moment this happens I will lose it.”

Shahrezad Samiuddin is a pop culture junkie and an aspiring screenwriter.


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Comments (71) Closed

Indian May 27, 2015 11:31am

Subhanallah! What beauty...

Pune-India May 27, 2015 11:40am

Good decision by Aanam Jung...better to leave Bollywood than doing Bold scene...try in Lollywood with Hizab type role...

Muhammad Majid May 27, 2015 11:44am

Nice girl.

Nabeel May 27, 2015 11:51am

Kudos to you Sanam. I have great respect for you now. It shows that there are still people with dignity, not tending to sell themselves for a few dollars.

sandeep May 27, 2015 11:55am

if presented with bold role in bollywood i guess she will be the person to pouch on that role

Honey Singh May 27, 2015 11:58am

Thank God someone with a sane voice. Good for Bollywood which is already overburdened by Pakistani actors...

Nomi May 27, 2015 12:00pm

Sanam is decent well educated and a down to earth Human. All praise for her acting and personality. Stay Bless

Jason May 27, 2015 12:13pm

@sandeep I fully agree with you. This is only sour grapes.

A.K.Lal May 27, 2015 12:15pm

not going to Bollywood is sane decision.But pl. don't end up in roles wearing burqa.

Mansoor Ali Khan May 27, 2015 12:23pm

Come on !! do some bold scenes in respect of ART

Bollywood May 27, 2015 12:35pm

Those who don't have a proper offers from Bollywood, will speak like how she spoke. SHe got no place in Bollywood.

JET LEE May 27, 2015 12:42pm

hope she would be firm on her determination; and would not do any lead role opposite Imran Hashmi.

bad shah May 27, 2015 12:44pm

no plans for Bollywood....till they give her a call and show her the money :)

Anwar May 27, 2015 12:49pm

She didn't get 'serious' offer

Zak May 27, 2015 12:54pm

Case of grapes turned sour.

Ikram Khan May 27, 2015 12:55pm

A great decision and proud of you. Appreciated

Anon May 27, 2015 12:59pm

Thank God. There are still people who cares about Jinnah's 2-nation theory........

IamPakistani May 27, 2015 01:05pm

Yes pls don't act in Bollywood otherwise you will loose all the respect and self respect.

TrollMeNot May 27, 2015 01:10pm

She is not a beauty (although she looks better than Sonam Kapoor), but now I am her fan, for she understands who we are and what is our culture. This is something that is missing in most girls today, they think shamelessness is cool. They don't understand that may be cool for westerners, that's their culture, not ours.

Jj May 27, 2015 01:11pm

This is sending feelers to Bollywood I m ready

SaleemRaikodi May 27, 2015 01:14pm

Todays actress, easily go for the so called bold scenes to get noticed and also for quick money. Back in India even we had virgin victorias like Hema Malini, Jay Bhaduri, who became great stars based on their histrionics rather than only titillating audience for a while and vanish\

Saad May 27, 2015 01:23pm

What's up with people (indians) commenting below telling her to not do roles where she has o wear a burka? Are you guys even familiar with her work? Or Pakistani television? When exactly did she wear a burka in a drama of hers, or any other actress for that matter?

About time Indians stopped generalising and putting us all in one category - it's getting rather boring and tedious. Please move on.

Euro May 27, 2015 01:24pm

Good call! Lets develop our own entertainment industry.

Abdul May 27, 2015 01:37pm

@sandeep Agree. There are enough sunny leones and wannabes lined up for Bollywood. I doubt if she'd even qualify for a bold scene.

tariq rashid May 27, 2015 01:53pm

soon we will hear news that she has accepted a role as in her statement its clear she almost willing but weighing her options.

Ms Lashari May 27, 2015 02:02pm

Thumbs up Sanam :) your views should that you belong to a decent family indeed. pls never leave this life style. and keep refusing Bollywood we need our talent to be here at first. our dear actors should never try finding way in Bollywood. Bollywood is all cramp. We proud our country and our actor like you,SHAN and Hamza Ali Abassi and many others who refused Bollywood and never compromised their prestige

abc May 27, 2015 02:07pm

Very soon Bollywood will make an offer she can't refuse

taimoor khan May 27, 2015 02:17pm

She is stuff of dreams.

Huma Adnan May 27, 2015 02:24pm

I am a slave and I am proud of it. My owner provides me bread and in response I do everything for him. He often snubs me in public and I am happy with it because he sustains me. Why we think that certain relations have the authority to ridicule us and at the same time we present such harsh attitude as praiseworthy? Why a father should scold his child in public? Why a family does not let her grown up and educated girl to go outside alone even if the girl wants to? Our celebrities often say such things e.g family pressure,ethics,etc in order to show themselves more moral than rest of the amoral showbiz industry.

shamain May 27, 2015 02:25pm

She is pure gold a goddess of unparalleled beauty.

ali May 27, 2015 02:28pm

Popularity stunt. The amount of cheapness she does in her morning show explains all. Celebs from pak who go and work in bollytown are much better then cheapsters who Beat the drum of pakistaniyat first and later join bolly by saying now we are working on our own terms. Hypocrites.

Sajjad May 27, 2015 02:34pm

Oh yes, like we dont know how Entertainment industry works.

Siddharth May 27, 2015 02:35pm

Bollywood out of question!!!! As if the entire Bollywood is waiting for you.

Mohammad I. Sheikh May 27, 2015 02:46pm

Sanam Jung is a fabulous actor. She is good in Dile-Muztar but excellent in "Muhabat Subh Ka Sitara". Her facial expression and voice is flawless. As an actor she is in the same league as Rohi Banoo, Shabana Azmi and Sanam Baloch. Currently, enjoying her performance as a heart broken in drama serial "Alvidah".

Keep up the good work Sanam!

Shaukat Ali May 27, 2015 03:04pm

Highly appreciated.

Lokesh May 27, 2015 03:08pm

Self Praising..Bollywood also make lots of family movie.. Biggest film industries in world in terms of no. of release.

advait May 27, 2015 03:14pm

she is kind of homely girl. let her be that way...

duniya May 27, 2015 03:42pm

she knows all bollywood does is copy western stories and act on it with Indian actors. She is too pretty well mannered well spoken well dressed well educated to do bollywood bold scenes. People should watch her dramas or her morning show jago Pakistan jago to see

AXH May 27, 2015 04:57pm

@Lokesh - "...Biggest film industries in world in terms of no. of release...." Yes, the Bombay film industry is indeed one of the oldest film industries in the world. But it is also the biggest industry in terms of making flop movies and copycat movies.

Rashid Sultan May 27, 2015 05:04pm

@TrollMeNot Please speak for yourself. There is no such thing as 'Our Culture.' We are many peoples with many cultures.

mohib May 27, 2015 05:04pm

She has got beauty, charm, modesty and character..

Syed Ahmed, Canada May 27, 2015 05:57pm

Money has lot of attraction for some. Probably Maira Khan has also declined Bollywood offer initially, than went there. I admire Shenaz Sheikh firmly who refused Raj Kaoors repeated personal offers in Sharjah, UAE during Indo-Pak Cricket match.

Zak May 27, 2015 06:11pm

Immense respect for her patriotism. This is the true naya Pakistan, and we need more like them.

Shakti May 27, 2015 07:10pm

Never say never. It may come back to haunt you.

Faceless May 27, 2015 07:37pm

Thank You Sanam. We are very proud of you!

Anwar_Canada May 27, 2015 08:55pm

You have a class that is un-matched. True Pakistani Girl and values you hold on screen and off. God bless you and NEVER go to INDIA.

surinder s kade May 27, 2015 09:55pm

Sanam glad you decided to turn down Bollywood.I think people from all walks of life you stay in Pakistan and uplift the country.

Yawar May 27, 2015 10:37pm

Good decision. Sanum may not be outright beautiful, but she definitely level headed and has good character and her good family upbringing shows. I do not see her fit in Bollywood.

Aamir May 27, 2015 10:52pm

Surprisingly the interviewer never asked her about her appearing in Bilal Lashari's remake of Moula Jatt with Hamza Abbasi in the lead. Why has the shooting still not started ?

Khalid Toronto May 27, 2015 10:57pm

@Honey Singh ... what!! I am not sure if bollywood ia overburdened by Pakistani actors. But Pakistani newspapers are for sure overburdened by indian commentators.

It's her decision dude, no need to take cheap shots.

Junaid May 27, 2015 11:09pm

Sanum very good to know that you have self respect. Money is not everything in life.

When wealth is lost nothing is lost When health is lost something is lost When respect is lost everything is lost.

dsf May 27, 2015 11:46pm

good decision...keep your value not get blown with bollywood

OTM May 28, 2015 12:01am

Shame on those who are judging someone they hardly know! I pity those who are feeling insulted by someone's sanity... My wholehearted sympathies are with you guys!

OmarFL May 28, 2015 12:01am

Please for heaven's sake, stick to your decision.

R E S P E C T !!!

Bollywood should not be a measure of success by any means.

Deepak May 28, 2015 12:16am

Good ,

the way its written it shows she has rejected Bollywood.

Bollywood has its own pool of talented actors and actress. capable to deliver quality output. as far as bold scene are considered its actors choice, if her talent is too good it will find bigger platform and audience of 1 billion people, if she is approached for bold scene then may be Bollywood has only this much to offer her at present.

Being a Pakistani she should work in Pakistan, No compulsion for Bollywood to give chance to every Pakistani actors, its their choice to try here with condition suitable to them, I don,t think Bollywood directors beg Pakistani Actor to come here

its better to build own farm then to work in others farm.

Talent ko itna kar buland bandey kee Bollywood khud tumhein bulaye...

One reason of Bollywood calling could be - reasonable talented Pakistani actor fitting in script at lesser price, talent in-sourcing

Last but not the least Its good decision to work for Pakistani art.

Shahryar Shirazi May 28, 2015 12:16am

The "out-of-question" comment should come in only if an offer from Bollywood is on the table. She lacks the charisma and acting skills to get a call from across the border. She's not Mahira khan. A side note to some of my Indian friends who think Pakistani movies are all about Hijab. They should look at a few. They will be surprised to note ours are more vulgar then Indian movies.

Schumaila Khan May 28, 2015 01:33am

Just because she is not interested in doing bold scenes, Indians are trolling her. Why don't Indians understand that every person on this earth is not desperate for bollywood. Why are you making it an issue of your ego. I respect her decision for her own comfort

iztraab May 28, 2015 01:49am

“When I said I would not do bold scenes, they replied they could ‘cheat’, but even if they cheat a scene, the audience will think I have done it. So Bollywood is out of the question.”

Sanam Jung, you are a true Pakistani Girl and i respect you for that!!

Ahmed Ijaz May 28, 2015 02:13am

@ Pune-India @sandeep @Jason @Bollywood: Very apparent that you are out of your comfort zone. We have a lot of people with good moral values unlike you guys. So please stop hounding us and try to be a bit more humble. With the kind of negative and arrogant attitude friends from Bollywood-land have, I have no doubt in my mind that in the long run it will be bad for your country.

Hyper May 28, 2015 04:03am

Good talk! but when the price is right you will see what she got to say? Good if she want to follow her will.

Gp65 May 28, 2015 04:08am

"Her choice of TV commercials has been impeccable and reads like a wish list that more ambitious models would kill for – Cadbury, Fair & Lovely, KFC and brand ambassador for Nestlé EveryDay"

Disagree. She thinks it is okay to model for Fair and Lovely which promotes the notion that somehow fair girls are superior to their duskier sisters. Compare that to Kangana Ranaut who walked away from an offer of 2 crores for modelling for Fair and Lovely - nor is she the only one. aishwarya Rai and Ranbir Kapoor also refused to model for Fair and Lovely.

Also her claim that she got Bollywood offers and turned them down has little merit or credibility. She is unable to name a single producer or director who offered her a role.People like Rani Mukherji, Preity Zinta, Vidya Balan and Aishwarya Rai have reached the top without doing shady roles.

Akil Akhtar May 28, 2015 04:21am

It is respectful that she does not want to do bold scenes (vulgar scenes actually) but I would have more respect if she refused bollywood as a matter fo self respect and national pride.

Sssj May 28, 2015 04:22am

Good girl; show your talent as an artist ....not bollywood trash, there are some of us who have never sat through a boloywood movie in our entire life; well I have never sat through a pakistani play either but thats not the point. May 28, 2015 04:34am

A really wise decision. For some reason, its a technical issue, our actors failed to perform in Indian movies and Bollywood actors in Hollywood movies. Though Spanish, German, Hong Kong, etc are doing well in Hollywood.

DR. SHAZIA May 28, 2015 04:50am

Sanam Jang, unlike many bolly actors has no compunction about telling it like it is in regards to her high moral compass and how she honors and deeply abides by her family's code of conduct. Some Indians here are commenting how Sanam being an adult should break away from her family and do what she likes. Well maybe that's why the cultural norms of Pakistan and India are so very different - unlike most female bolly actors, artists like Sanam are from educated and dignified families who place emphasis upon strong family values above money. This is reflected in Sanam's rejection of Bollywood and all that it entails for female actors - most of whom are treated like objects rather then genuine artists.

nelson May 28, 2015 04:54am

The assumption is that acting in Bollywood is only about 'bold scenes. Please watch recent successes like PK, Piku, Tanu weds Manu Returns; to confirm if the assumption is right.

confused May 28, 2015 05:15am

I continue to be baffled by the Indian propensity to get hyper offended by the comments of a Pakistani actor in a Pakistani newspaper written for a Pakistani audience. Stop being offended. Many Bollywood movies are downright garbage that has to resort to showing skin to plug in gaping plot holes and unrealistic scenarios. If you disagree, clearly you haven't watched a lot of Bollywood movies.

Some actors just prefer acting in well written TV shows and unscripted environments. Watch Sanam Jung's work before commenting.

Pakiee-Indian May 28, 2015 05:42am

she resembles aysha taqya......

Vasan May 28, 2015 07:32am

People are bored with seeing 24 hour news channels running useless programs. There is nothing wrong trying with Bollywood. If she wanted to be popular in 1.5 billion hearts quickly, only solution is Bollywood. She have plenty of opportunity to work with Indian artists and improve her talents. Most artists in the Bollywood are originated from Peshawar anyway. Indians will welcome with open heart!

Ali Vaqar Awan May 28, 2015 07:37am

Sanam made a great decision not to work Bollywood movie which involved bold movie. She should accept those movies in Bollywood which have substantial role without using of bold scene. At same time it is not recommendable that she plays role of girl who wears hijab and bhurka. Modesty is shown by dressing in decent manner which Sanam definitely does. She should do the movies which show good image of Pakistan and display how friendly and peace loving our nation is. If she does not want to work in Bollywood then her choice should be respected with open heart. It is Sanam who has right to decide in which direction her career goes, after all its the question of her life, not public or fans life.

Muhammad Ali Khan May 28, 2015 09:30am

The article rightly reflect the success of a competent and hardworking Sanam Jung.

I agree with Sanam's decision about not accepting Bollywood offers. Our culture contradicts with what is reflected in their current films. We cannot watch an Indian film or drama with the family.

I like Sanams' morning show and dramas, specially "Muhabbat Subh Ka Sitara Hai"


Ali, Pakistan