Not so subtle love: Hiba Bukhari, Arez Ahmed talk future projects and showbiz politics

After beating around the bush and denying marriage ‘rumours’ for a while, actors Hiba Bukhari and Arez Ahmed finally tied the knot in January 2022. The newlyweds made an appearance at Time Out with Ahsan Khan to talk about their relationship, future projects and their early bitter experiences with the showbiz industry. Even when the episode was filmed, the two appeared as “friends” despite Ahsan Khan, the host, announcing them as a couple in their introduction. The episode is full of Khan teasing the two hoping for them to make their relationship official, and well, even if he did not, their chemistry was palpable through the screen. The duo kept staring at each other with love, completing each other’s sentences and glowing at the mention of marriage, with their hidden secret not being too subtle. On whether relationship rumours make or break an actor’s journey so early in the industry, the Deewangi star shared that she does not pay heed to the gossip mill since everything has its own time. “If the time is not right, I don’t want any negative energy directed towards me either.” Her now-husband Ahmed also added that “things will eventually unfold when it’s time,” and they did. Starting off their showbiz career with the same debut project, Bukhari and Ahmed found their paths destined for a real-life of togetherness. Speaking about making the transition from the small to the big screen, the celebrity couple shared they have both been offered films various times. The Inteha-e-Ishq actor shared that he was offered two films, Senti Aur Mental starring Yasra Rizvi, and Betaabiyan with Hiba Ali, which were later shelved for reasons unknown. However, it seems like after making hasty decisions and turning down a few films, the Fitoor starlet might be signing a film with the Udaari actor. Teasing her to make a decision quickly, Khan turned to Ahmed teasingly and asked him to influence her decision in a yes. Their smiles said it all though. Khan and Bukhari also revealed that they will soon share the screen for an Ali Faizan directorial drama serial with a working title Dekh Tamasha-e-Roshni. While other details about the new serial are tightly under wraps, the duo suggested the show has a strong plotline that showcases them as Pathans residing in the northern part of Pakistan. They have been shooting in Swat for almost a month and shared that learning the thick accent was a challenging part, however, once they got a hang of it, it was quite fun. In a previous episode of the same talk show, Mehar Bano revealed that she will be a part of the same prime-time serial as well. On which project marked Bukhari’s name in the industry, she was quick to say, Bhooli Bano. However, the starlet paused for a bit to recall her one year break after that show. “When I came back from my short hiatus, people were again like, ‘Oh what does she do?’ So then Deewangi reclaimed my name.” Bukhari has had a number of hit drama serials in the few years she has been in the industry. Upon her secret to becoming an “awaami” actor that connects to the audience quickly, Bukhari revealed that it has not been a smooth path and she was body-shamed by her fans. Speaking from her own personal experience, Bukhari shared that “constant negative comments pushed me to depression. As a result, I started stress eating which made it even worse.” The 28-year-old starlet is of the opinion that she gained a few extra pounds while shooting for Fitoor, and to her surprise, she was subjected to harsh criticism for it. “Now when I look in retrospect, I was fine even after I gained those pounds. You’d be surprised at how people from within the industry who are body positive on social media were the ones who severely body shamed me. This is their reality; their hypocrisy.” Adding to the hypocrisy of the industry, Ahmed shared that the industry is quite “brutal” when it comes to understanding emotional health. “This is the only workplace where people where people talk more about appearances than talent,” he said. The Ishq-e-Tanhai starlet added that it was after the constant body-shaming that she ended up gaining five kgs in a month. However, the Deewangi starlet realised that it wasn’t worth it. “Allah Almighty continuously blessed me with success and fame and I felt like I was being ungrateful falling for trolls’ and ignoring my own hard work,” she lamented. Addressing the audience, Bukhari gave a message to everyone struggling with self-worth and body image issues, and said, “You are your own inspiration. Don’t find it in other people’s weight loss journeys and don’t succumb to beauty standards. Look at you, find the love and confidence within and work hard with that then. You’re all beautiful in your own ways.” One particular role that Ahmed wants to play is “a hopeless romantic.” He is of the opinion that “most actors are introverts and hence get the space on-screen to showcase the emotional palette of heartbreak and constant love and express themselves fully.” He thinks of emotional roles as cathartic. Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below. 

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