Art and Culture

Vulgar or bold? Humayun Saeed’s kiss in ‘The Crown’ receives mixed reactions

Humayun Saeed has become the talk of town since making his international debut with Netflix’s The Crown, in which he can be seen playing Diana’s love interest Dr Hasnat Khan. Social media has been abuzz with celebrities and fans cheering the Meray Paas Tum Ho star on for his acting prowess.

Celebs like Momina Mustehsan, Adnan Siddiqui and Mira Sethi have joined the crowd applauding his “natural” flair. Mushtehsan praised Saeed’s “beautiful portrayal” of the relationship while Siddiqui highlighted how the “entire Pakistan is basking” in Saeed’s “glory”.

In contrast to the praise, many have also been highlighting the hypocrisy of society because for once, “people are not losing their minds” over Saeed’s (a Pakistani actor’s) “steamy scenes” with Elizabeth Debicki – who plays Princess Diana in the show – but would go crazy had a local female actor agreed to do the same.

One fan lamented the reality of the gendered discrimination by sharing, “My only observation of Saeed in The Crown is that whenever Pakistani actresses have kissed onscreen, they’ve been crucified for it but when a Pakistani man does it, there are absolute crickets. The hypocrisy of our people is nauseating.”

A Twitter user also used Mahira Khan as an example. “Khan got more hate for her ‘bad’ Punjabi in The Legend of Maula Jatt than Humayun Saeed is getting for kissing a woman on-screen in that western show, (if he’s getting any),” they remarked.

Tweeps also highlighted the lack of critics rallying behind Saeed to protest his role, while social media would be full of trolls if it was a female actor instead.

Taking a more neutral approach, a fan asked people to not be “so surprised” by the “intimate scene.” They highlighted how things have “changed in Pakistan,” and that it’s just an “acting job”. “Why are we so surprised because of Saeed’s intimate scene? So much had changed in Pakistan. At least it’s an acting job which is in front of the cast and crew. People are doing all kinds of things Behind closed doors,” the user asked.

Nevertheless, many have been nothing but appreciative of how Saeed has come a long way. Taking to Twitter, Mustehsan expressed her delight at Saeed’s role. The Afreen Afreen singer revealed how his acting was “truly a treat to watch,” and how proud she is of him. She wrote, “Take a bow, Saeed. What a sensitive and beautiful portrayal of the character and relationship. It was truly a treat to watch. Keep shining and making us all proud!”

Sethi also dubbed Saeed’s acting in the series as “understated.” She also shared that all his “scenes” made her “smile.” The Tweet read, “Saeed is wonderful in The Crown—understated, with an obscured, trademark mischief that is classic Saeed. His scenes made me smile.

On November 9, Siddiqui shared a picture of Saeed at The Crown’s premiere clad in a formal suit. He captioned the Tweet with a tribute to his co-star, calling him a close ally. The Ye Dil Mera acto also highlighted how the “entire Pakistan is basking” in Saeed’s triumph.

“My on-screen bête noir but one of my closest allies is shining like a bright star and how! Entire Pakistan is basking in your glory. The Crown is all yours!” He penned.

Fans also lauded Saeed on Twitter, calling him a natural talent. They loved the role and considered him the perfect actor for the job. “Everything aside, I love the role of Saeed as Dr Hasnat in The Crown. The acting is natural yet very well played by him,” a user tweeted.

A fan also disclosed how they “haven’t watched a single episode of The Crown but will now start due to the nods Saeed’s acting is getting. Another praised the “beautiful chemistry” between Debicki and Saeed. “Haven’t watched a single episode of The Crown, but now I’m starting straight from season 5, episode 7, only because I want to see Saeed. He’s acted really well! I feel so bad for Hasnat and Diana!” they noted.

“Caught a few glimpses of the scenes of Saeed in The Crown and he is just perfect. He has beautiful chemistry with Debicki – a quiet, charming and incredibly human relationship. You pulled it off perfectly!” another user expressed.

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