One of the most celebrated couples of Pakistan’s television industry — Azfar Ali and Salma Hasan of “Sub Set Hai” fame — have recently come into the spotlight for something completely unrelated to their professional lives.
After being married to Salma for 11 years, Azfar has officially tied the knot with Naveen Waqar — the actor who played the role of the infamous Sara that we all loved to hate in “Humsafar”.
Since the news of their marriage became public, outraged fans have taken to Facebook and Twitter to give their two bits about Azfar’s new marriage; a number of internet memes comparing Azfar, Salma and Naveen to the triangle of Ashar, Khirad and Sara from “Humsafar” are being circulated, liked and shared online.
“She couldn’t get her way in ‘Humsafar’ with Ashar, sadly she succeeded in breaking Azfar’s family,” says a meme with a picture of Naveen in character as Sara. Azfar Ali’s Facebook page has been bombarded with countless comments bashing him for causing pain to Salma.
“Shame on you. You have got nothing by getting married to her. You just lost all your fans,” an angry fan by the name of Ambitious Jainy posted on the actor’s page.
“Naveen took her role in ‘Humsafar’ a bit too seriously. In reel life she wanted to break Ashar and Khirad’s house, and real life she broke Azfar and Salma’s house. Azfar, you are shameless…”
But amidst the entire furor (and a page titled Justice for Salma), there are some fans who believe that the trio should be left alone. “Why are all the women crying over this issue? It’s Azfar’s life; he can marry as many women as he wants. Your useless rants can’t fix a broken home. I salute Azfar,” a supportive fan by the name of Sul Phuric Acid posted. Reacting to a post about Azfar’s marriage on Twitter, politician Sharmila Farooqi posted “Yup! Lucky guy!”
The Express Tribune tried to talk to all three of the parties involved. While Naveen couldn’t be contacted on her number, Azfar refused to comment on the matter and Salma too, was reluctant to share information due to the sensitivity of the matter. She is, after all, a mother who is trying to protect her child from what has become a vicious and unpleasant situation.
The silence of the subjects and the searing outcry of their admirers raise some questions. Should our celebrities’ personal lives be publicly scrutinised? The answer to this is not so black and white.
Celebrities should know that public scrutiny is the price of stardom and that sometimes, as much as they wish otherwise, they need to accept that once their lives are people’s property, they can’t expect fans not to be inquisitive or angry about the ups and downs.
Ideally for them, there should be boundaries to the kind of speculation and comments being posted online. But in reality and especially in the world of show business, the truth is that the audience makes or breaks celebrities. ‘Media couplings’ like Salma and Azfar allow people the right to peep into their life and live it with them. Take the example of any onscreen couple; be it veterans Saira and Rahat Kazmi or newbies Azfar and Salma, or even Mohib Mirza and Aamina Sheikh — all these couples have spent a considerable amount of time advertising themselves as products to generate public interest. People have endorsed them as celebrity couples to such an extent that their fans now feel they have the right to say whatever they want whenever something good or bad happens in the couples’ lives.
Once you are a celebrity, everything about you becomes entertainment. This could be said especially for people like Azfar and Salma who are known more for their dynamics as a couple than their achievements on screen. The reaction to Azfar, Salma and Naveen’s situation is unfortunate but one isn’t totally surprised. Celebrities should accept that their lives become a social circus as soon as they step into the limelight — they should have the courage to face the repercussions of fame.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM NEWS DESK)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2012.