I was never a hit. Neither as a model on the ramp nor on the screen as an actresses in India or in Pakistan. I guess I was more of a hit as a controversial model because of my interviews and as a person people always wanted to hate me because.
I was doing and saying things which many people wanted to but could not. Mein nay kon sa teer mara tha.” Whether a hit or not Anita Ayub’s name despite her being in oblivion for two-and-a-half years, still strikes a chord. She remains a photographer’s delight with her beautiful hazel, sultry eyes that add an aura of mystery to her personality.
Mother of a one-year-old boy, she still has the looks of the early ‘80’s when she first stepped on the catwalk. Her popularity even today is such that a bhuttay wala on the roadside recognizes her.
On April 13 ’95 Anita left for New York, where she got married and settled down, the day she completed television serial Doosra Raasta. She was here recently for her sister Amber’s wedding and to meet her family. In a way she internationally disappeared for these was no publicity or any news about
her where about for the tabloid press to fall on. “I was a horrible actress and nobody here would tolerate me on the screen.” She candidly admits “I knew I had to learn some acting skills so I went to India’s Taneja Institute to attend a few courses in the field. Obviously I had to stay some where, so, a paying guest accommodation had to be arranged for me.”
Her landlord Saumil Patel who lived in Ahmedabad met her, they got attached and one fine day two years ago, “I told him I liked him and wanted to marry him.” Saumil thought Anita had lost her head. She at that time could not get her visa extended (after having stayed there for three years) and it would have been impractical for them to live in separate countries.
“Saumil thought I was very immature but I was adamant on settling down to have a proper life, no more showbiz and above all I wanted to have a baby (a legitimate one, of course). There comes a time when every woman takes the decision to settle down and I think I did it at the right moment.”
Most people have not believed Anita Ayub getting married. Many would have doubted the sanity of the man marrying celluloid doll who had a mixed plate of scandals, true or false, lagging behind her “you know even my friends used to laugh at the idea.” Saumil and Anita got married in the United States after he converted to Islam.
“I do not say that I am a very good Muslim, but under no circumstances would I have converted.” They now have an adorable little baby boy and a wonderful fairy tale life with Suamil visiting her every second month in the US from India!
After staying in India for three years. Anita was refused an entry visa. There have been many speculations on this account. Some believe that being herself a Kashmiri, she sided with the Mujahideen.
Others say that like Mohsin Hasan Khan she was forcefully sent out by the orthodox shiv sena, or that she was deported because of her involvement in the Bombay bomb blast in 1993. “My involvement with the blast had nothing to do with politics.
Hundreds of people were injured and I helped to collect blood, chaddars, clothing etc. Nobody knew I was a assisting them, and till today nobody has mentioned it.
The only thing that became a problem for me was that unlike other Pakistani actresses who had worked in India, such as Salma Agha. Zeba Bakhtiar and Somi Ali had five years multiple Indian visas because of their British and American nationality. I had a Pakistani
nationality. I had to get my visa renewed very often, for which I had to go to the Home Ministry in New Delhi. Although I had the request documents, people started thinking I was a “spy” trying to get some information from the minister.
But they never realized I did not have the intelligence to be a spy, I am just a dumb model. Finally they refused to renew my visa.”
Her first movie in India was a Dev An and production Pyar Ka Tarana. The second one Gangster was half way through when she left for the US, and then could not enter India, but the production was completed abroad. Both were flops! When I came to Pakistan I did two movies Chaltee Ka Naam Gari and Sab Kay Baap, both were bakwaas and again flops!”
For Anita Ayub, the three years of working and living in India was quite an experience. “I learnt a lot including acting. I feel I improved because of the courses and the exposure to the film industry, which I observed very closely.
” She says, “There is not much physical beauty in India, especially if compared to Pakistan. The glamorous affect is created totally by make-up and camera tricks that make them beautiful on screen.
They are very simple in dressing in real life; they go to studios in shorts. Very simple! The males are quite conceited about their macho, cool looks which generally our men are not bothered about. And I found it very funny that the actors whenever seen in public have a habit of coming their hair all the time!”
In Pakistan Anita knew several young men; it is amazing that she found her man in India. According to her, “Men out here have a strange attitude. They would say ‘yeh shaadi material nahin hai!’ she can be a good girlfriend; I can show her off, but shaadi no way.
People thought Anita Ayub was controversial and badmash. Saumil and I did not have a lovey dovey affair. The kind of respect he gave me I think no man in Pakistan would have given me, probably I was very outspoken in Pakistan, which people could not digest.
If I was badmsh in Pakistan, how come there was not a single scandal about me in India where there is an open society, men women live together. I was living alone for three years with no restrictions on me.” No doubt Anita must have led a very straight life for although featured in Stardust, Movie, Cineblitz etc; no gossip pertaining to her was ever reported
She has settled in New York with her son Shezap, now a year and-a-half, which allows her sometime to work other than in the house! For some time she hosted shows in New York on TV (ATNT).
One might get the impression that she leads an unsettled life but “I am very happy and only taking care of my baby. I have a wonderful husband, and the most lovable in laws.”
She definitely is a devoted wife who seeks her husband’s permission for whatever she does, including giving this interview! She does not miss the glamour of her past. “I have never looked back.
I live in the present and for what is to come. The sleep I get now I never did before, and the smile I get from my baby is more important than the thousands of smiles I used to get before.”