Kano — Hafsat Shehu is an actress whose 'exit' from the movie industry left a huge vacuum that many fans of the industry believed could not be filled. After losing her first husband to car accident, Hafsat later got married to an Abuja-based businessman. But the marriage was short-lived. In this interview, Hafsat speaks on her life away from the movie industry as well as the speculation that she is nursing a comeback, among others. Excerpts:
You have been away from the Hausa movie industry for quite a long time now. Where have you been and what have you been doing all this while?
Let me start by giving thanks to the Almighty Allah for sparing our lives up to this day. I have been around and doing my normal activities, just like any other person.
Recently, stories are making the rounds that you are nursing a comeback to the movie industry. Is that true?
Few days ago, a friend alerted me about a post on the social media, Facebook to be precise, which said I was seeking advice from my fans whether I should return to the industry or not. But that's not true. In fact, let me use this opportunity to tell my fans that my Facebook account, I mean the one that I operate, has not been functional for the past six months. If you rely on what you see on social media you will be deceived. For instance, there are over 18 Facebook accounts bearing my name and my pictures, supposedly being operated by me, but they are all fake. People should therefore disregard anything posted on such accounts because the posts are not mine and I have nothing to do with them.
As for the story you mentioned about my planning to stage a comeback, I also want to say that it is all fabrication because there is nothing like that. They are not coming from me.
Don't you think it might be your fans' way of luring you back to the industry?
Whatever the case may turn out to be, I just want people to understand that it was not me and if I intend to return to the movie industry I think I have better avenues to announce my decision.
Do you intend to come back to the industry?
Honestly, I will always be proud of Kannywood because it made me what I am today. It was in the industry that I met and married my late husband Ahmad S. Nuhu (May his soul rest in peace). Somehow I always feel that if I return to the industry I will see my late husband again.
Anyway, I don't think I can return to the industry as an actress, may be in another capacity but certainly not as an actress. I understand that many people really want me back in the industry, but they just have to learn to live with things the way they are. I urge them to reason with me and understand my predicament; they should understand that life entails a lot of things, not just what one desires. I really appreciate their support, but I can't be an actress anymore.
I have had my own share of the industry, and I want to state here that being in the industry has been one of my memorable moments in life. It is however time for me to move ahead and explore other avenues that will complement what I do to earn a living. As I have said earlier the industry has done great things to me and for that I will forever remain indebted to it.
In other words, your fans have seen the last of Hafsat Shehu on screen. Is that what you are saying?
Well! I can say yes, but that does not mean I have totally disengaged from the industry. I am saying this because I have good friends and associates in the industry that we still relate with amicably. The industry as I have said will continue to be my pride. Right now I can not reveal to you what I have decided to do, but in due course the whole world will get to know.
Does that mean you may consider being a director or a producer?
May be yes, and may be no.
Can you explain that?
Just leave it like that, I don't want to comment further.
There are speculations that you are still married and that you have only encountered some problems with your husband. Is that true?
It is not true; my marriage ended a long time ago. I cannot even recall the date. This shows that I have been single for quite a long time. However, I think people must have heard about our marital problems and believe that it is still going on. I was issued with my divorce letter which signifies the end of our marriage long ago.
That is one aspect of being a celebrity; you tend to lose your privacy. The worst of it is that everybody feels he has the right to say anything about you. My marriage, as far as I am concerned, is a foregone issue; I have already put it at the back of my mind because it has come and passed just like any other experience in life.
Your failed marriage seems to affirm the assertion that celebrity marriages don't last. Do you subscribe to that too?
No I don't. You see people tend to look at us as if we are not human, people expect us to act and behave differently with others. But we are humans like any other person; we do have our pluses and minuses just like any other human.
Thousands of marriages failed every day and they are overlooked. But the moment one celebrity's marriage fails, it becomes news. People should understand that we are normal people and wish to marry and stay married like others. But most of the times we don't get the men that are honest and sincere. The men coming our way are sometimes only interested in cheap popularity which they believe they can get by marrying a celebrity. At the end of the day things will not work out as expected because right from the initial stage they were not sincere.
Another thing is that most people do not see us as normal human beings who can err under normal circumstances. I remember vividly some years back when I visited a friend somewhere in Kano. I was eating the local Hausa 'Tuwo' only for me to hear a lady whispering to her friend "so they eat Tuwo too." Just imagine, people think we do not even eat as normal people eat. This is the level of public misconception about us.
People always want to use a different yardstick when it comes to us. They want to act differently with others, forgetting that being in the movie industry does not make us different from them. And because of that we were made to shy away from public life for fear of being misquoted or misreported.
Don't you think there are good people out there that genuinely want to marry celebrities but get rebuffed by celebrity's life style?
You see Hafsat is different from other movie personalities, just like many other celebrities are different from Hafsat. We are all aware that we all have different life style and people tend to equate us with the roles we play in movies. This is not fair because there is a need for the public to understand that just because an actress dresses lavishly or drives a very expensive car in a movie does not mean that is the way she is. We should all understand that movies are meant to be a reflection of the society, we try to show the public what is happening in real life situations, we are telling stories not showing our personal life styles.
Therefore it is a mistake to judge us by the roles we play in movies, we all do have our own personal life and believe me most of us live a very decent live.
Are you thinking of remarrying?
Yes of course, I am a Muslim and I know the best place for every woman is her husband's house and not her parent's house. I am praying for a good and caring man that will take me for who I am and not for what I am.
Are you into any relationship now?
No, I am not. And as I have said earlier I am praying to have someone who understands what caring is, what true love means and what understanding individual differences entails.