• 10 Feb - 16 Feb, 2018
  • Rabia Mushtaq
  • Interview

Affectionately called as Hira Mani, the duo of Salman Saqib Sheikh (Mani) and Hira Salman, is one of the most idolised real life couples in Pakistan. Hitched in April 2008, the couple has enjoyed several appearances together on the small screen in various shows and telefilms. This Valentine’s Day, MAG managed to find a slot in the couple’s busy schedule and had a refreshing chat with them. Let us take you to the enchanting journey the couple has had so far.

Do you both celebrate Valentine’s Day? If yes, what is it like?

Hira: We are not too keen on celebrating Valentine’s now, but like any wife I did want to celebrate it in the initial years of our marriage. Mani would often get me flowers, presents and even items of everyday use on such occasions. He once got me a juicer blender and then a room theatre. But since the past three to four years he has been getting me typical presents like jewellery.

Mani: Hira is celebratory about the little things and occasions in life, so I celebrate everything for her happiness. Giving out presents become a compulsion. She starts reminding me at least 8-10 days prior to the occasion so that I do not forget the day.

Has there ever been a time where you guys forgot to get presents for each other on special occasions?

H: We have been married for almost 10 years now and I don't remember if we have forgotten to celebrate any special event. I never forget and I also do not let Mani forget any occasion. We have groomed a lot as a couple in these 10 years; learnt everything together, from trivial matters at home to important decisions in life. Couples usually panic in four, five years but we’ve tried to counter every problem together by being on each other’s side.

M: It has never happened, because she starts reminding me days prior to the occasion. In our house, one person’s birthday is celebrated at least four times. Like if it’s Hira’s birthday, we would cut one cake at midnight, then another cake next day with her mother, then with my family, and then friends. Same happens when it’s our son’s birthday. On my birthday, she would often surprise me by calling my friends at home. Even though it isn’t a surprise because I eventually realise she is planning something [laughs].

What do you prioritise in a relationship, love or respect?

H: I would say respect. I am very particular about this element in our relationship. You do not have to be clingy to your partner to respect them. Respect shows from the tiniest of things that you do for and with them. We talk and listen to each other. Many couples do the “app janab” practice a lot but often they tend to neglect the importance of what the other wants from them. They complain about their partners behind their backs. Mani and I have never done that. We never involve our family or friends in our personal matters, which reflects how much we respect each other.

M: I think it’s important for couples to give each other space in a relationship. In our society, expectations tend to kill the essence of a good relationship. But it’s been around 10 years of our life together and we are really respectful towards each other giving one another the much needed space.

Is your relationship like that of a conventional husband and wife or is it a friendly one?

H: We enjoy a very friendly relationship and understand each other without any expectations from one another. Even when I gained weight, Mani loved me the way he does now. So there is a lot of acceptance at the same time. The element of friendship is always there, because love at one point in time diverts to children and a lot of other responsibilities in life.

M: It is definitely not traditional. But it does get traditional sometimes, when I am expecting something and she is expecting something else so we kind of act like a traditional couple. I try to support Hira as much as I can in terms of her work. In fact I was the one who asked her to quit hosting and start acting because I knew she is talented.

What is that one thing that you really admire about each other?

H: He is very positive. It is not just me but all his friends say, ‘Mani is the most positive person in the world’. He is someone who knows how to live a normal life despite being famous. Fame dimaagh per nahi charha kabhi.

M: Hira has a very caring heart. She is someone who will try her best to care for those she loves. She recognises people who try to get with her. She is someone who’d do anything to keep her beloveds happy and is very expressive when it comes to showing love; on the other hand, I’m a little different .

What is that one thing that really annoys you about one another?

Hira: Mani brings home movies that he likes, which I and the kids (Muzammil and Ibrahim) often do not like, specially my elder son. But he would ask us to watch what he is watching. This is one really annoying habit that he has.

Mani: Hira expects a lot from those she loves and feels dejected when people do not reciprocate the way she wants them to. I keep telling her not to expect so much from people. She often gets offended when people on social media aim something at us and I ask her to chill.

You guys are one of the few couples in the industry known for relationship goals. What advice would you give to those who are struggling in their marital life?

H: People should try and accept themselves as individuals first and then expect your spouse to respect and accept you too. Otherwise, they will take you for granted.

M: I would advise couples not to compare their relationships with others’. Focus on your own relationship with your spouse and work on making it better. Just be good to each other without any expectations and being dishonest. •