Aymen Saleem, the breakthrough actor from drama Chupke Chupke, appeared on a talkshow to explain her reasons for quitting the entertainment industry, only to return a short while later.
Saleem was a favourite amongst fans of the drama Chupke Chupke and her on-screen pairing with YouTuber and actor Arslan Naseer was especially loved. Both Saleem and Naseer recently appeared on Time Out With Ahsan Khan, the talkshow hosted by actor Ahsan Khan on Express TV.
Khan spared no time in asking Saleem why she quit acting and then decided to return. "I thought you'd left the [acting] field and then I found out you hadn't. There's a lot of confusion here. Why did you announce that you'd left [acting] and then you're here?" he asked.
"I'm from a corporate background. Coming into the industry, I really wasn't fully prepared. Our [entertainment] industry is quite different from other [job] industries. I've done investment banking in New York, I've done consulting. I'm talking about those industries. Coming into showbiz is a completely different ball game altogether.
"I wasn't really sure whether I wanted to [pursue acting] or not," Saleem continued. "Alhumdulillah Chupke Chupke was such a huge hit and we got so much love and support that, if I am completely honest, I was a little overwhelmed. It was so much. I was very grateful for it and I was humbled by it but I was not sure whether I'm ready for it. Do I really want to do this or not. So I wanted to take a step back, revaluate what I want to do and then if I come back then I should come back to stay."
Khan prodded Saleem a little more on the topic. "You know sometimes you go through phases in which you don't feel like working and you leave. But why did you think it necessary to announce [your leaving]? he asked.
"For me it isn't real until you announce it," the actor pointed out. "I wanted a break. I wanted to reassess whether I actually wanted to do this or not. I find it a little hard to say no [when people approach me]. I find it hard to assess whether this thing is good or that. I was reconnecting with my mentors in the industry and they really helped me during this time of doubt and uncertainty," she explained.
"I didn't just switch a job. I didn't just go from one bank to another. That's just a nine to five career switch and the most that changes are the people you work with. For me [the entertainment industry] was a complete change. It's not like once I step out of the set and go downstairs, I'm not Aymen Saleem anymore. I'm still Aymen Saleem. In the entertainment industry you always need to be in character, even when you're in the public eye. I have always been just the way I am. Glam life was not me and so I wanted to make sure I was ready for it," she said.
Saleem had previously taken to Instagram to announce she would "no longer be acting". "I have tremendous love and respect for the industry and will stay connected to it InshaAllah," she'd written in a message to her followers. "I will keep you all posted with what's next." She's also not the first actor to announce that they're quitting the industry only to return shortly after. Feroze Khan returned after a short stint away, saying his Sheikh told him he couldn't quit the industry, while Hamza Ali Abbasi termed his time away a "break".