After a near decade-long career in the film industry, Lollywood actor Sahiba Afzal, daughter of 70s film actor Nisho went on a hiatus for 12 years. Though she explains that her exit from showbiz had a lot to do with the poor quality and output of the industry, the real reason, it seems, is her marriage to long-time co-star Jan Rambo.
“My husband doesn’t allow me to do films anymore,” Sahiba says frankly. “I don’t blame him — which husband would want his wife performing on screen with other men?”
In an almost robotic, emotionless tone, she continues, “Don’t all women just want a man who will take care of them?” implying that the trade-off works in her favour as she is settled and has a family. “This is the quality of a Pakistani woman, isn’t it?”
She further justifies what she prefers to call “her decision” to quit, by saying that most stars have left the industry, and that it no longer makes sense to join.
She also says that, after obtaining permission from her husband, she will be starring in the lead role of an upcoming movie Saya-e-Zuljilal. Permission was granted only after actor-director Shaan approached her husband for his approval.
“Acting is still my passion; and it will always remain my passion,” says Sahiba, clearly excited about her upcoming project. “I have missed the big screen.”
Sahiba stepped into the film industry in 1992 and was able to make a prolific career as an actor by performing lead roles in several major films like Hero, Mamla Garbar Hai and Ishq Rehna Sada. “There were only a few platforms where you could learn acting,” she says. “When I started out, there weren’t any schools where one could hone their acting skills,” says Sahiba.
She feels that television has made things easier as people are constantly around acting, and people who support it. “There are so many channels that people are watching,” she says. “From an early age, children are learning awareness [in acting]. But on a broader level there are formal trainings given for people who want to join the media.”
Not disappearing from the limelight completely , Sahiba and her husband are seen on television hosting a morning show titled Rambo Sahiba Aur Aap. Her film career has been put on the back burner, and she now focuses predominately on her husband and their two children.
“We had a love marriage,” says Sahiba. “After that, I decided to do little work so we could spend more time together. And I am comfortable doing this much.” She says, however, that she can never leave the film industry. “Showbiz is my family profession,” she says. “The big screen is always something that I have cherished.”
Surrounded by actors at home, Sahiba says it’s a way to improve her acting skills and to receive honest criticism of her performance.
“The public will always appreciate entertainment,” says Sahiba, who feels that she is given honest feedback at home. “I feel that when you criticise each other’s performances at home, you can overcome the weak points,” she adds.
Having found success in their breakfast morning show, Sahiba says the team for Rambo Sahiba Aur Aap plans lighter subjects for the audience. The experience has been fulfilling for her and she feels like the show is entertaining without getting into any controversies.
“We have been pretty successful because of the support we have received,” she says. “I think the new thing was the way we have got audiences involved. By ‘you’, we mean we want to include you as a strong part of the show, the public interaction and involvement is very nice.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2013.