Saim Sadiq’s film Joyland is on a continuous winning streak, with its latest accolade being the Best Actor award for its lead actor, Ali Junejo. The bright new actor played the character of Haider in the film for which he was awarded this award at the internationally acclaimed Palm Springs Film Festival.

The actor was not present at the award to receive his award, but expressed his gratitude in a video message which was shared on Joyland’s social media platforms and official website. “I’m really humbled, this is a huge honour. I am so proud that our little baby, Joyland, has gotten where it has. It’s been around the world and it’s been getting so much love from so many people. It’s really touching,” he said in the video clip.

Junejo also shared his gratitude over other accolades the film continues to bag. “I remember when we were making this film in Gawal Mandi, we just wanted to tell this story as honestly as possible. And look at where we are; the fact that I am doing this, the fact that we are shortlisted for the Academy Awards, it is the most amazing thing,” he said, thanking filmmaker Saim Sadiq for giving him this opportunity, along with cast members Rasti Farooq, Alina Khan and the rest for making this feat possible for him.

“This is for all of us. These characters have found such a place in my heart and I know all of us feel that way. I hope anyone who watches this also thinks the same,” he said.

Watch his acceptance speech below.

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The festival’s jury members had nothing but words of praises for Junejo and his complex portrayal of Haider. “We award the Best Actor Prize to Ali Junejo in Joyland for his intimate, thoughtful and nuanced performance as Haider, a man grappling with his diverging sense of self and familial responsibility. Junejo emerges as the film’s most flexible and dependable performance owing to his generosity and earnestness with each cast member, both in behavioural and linguistic choices,” they said in the statement.

Junejo’s skill over acting was also heavily praised. “His ability to convey the ambivalent paradoxes of Haider, while delivering a performance of such searing clarity and empathy recalibrates the vivid textures of Joyland away from the social realism of its larger goals, turning it into an evocative character study in a performance of quiet complexity,” the statement continued.

Joyland is currently up in cinemas in the major cities of the country, after facing multiple bans and dealing with several controversies.


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