Shabana Azmi Opens Up How She Avoided Being Evil Stepmother To Zoya & Farhan; Says, “Didn’t Try Hard To Be Liked”

Shabana Azmi got married to Javed Akhtar in 1984. Akhtar, who was earlier married to Honey Irani, has two children from his first marriage- Zoya and Farhan. Being a stepmother to Javed’s children Farhan and Zoya, Shabana did not push herself or Javed’s children to develop a bond between them, instead, she wanted it to happen organically. And now, she is in a happy space with them.

In a recent conversation with former actress and writer Twinkle Khanna shared on the Tweak India YouTube channel, Azmi has opened up on how she fit herself into husband Javed Akhtar’s family after their marriage. She has spoken about how she handled the delicate situation and how she handled things with his children, Zoya, and Farhan Akhtar.

In a healthy discussion with Khanna, Shabana said that the fact that she has ‘great respect for her husband Javed Akhtar’s children is something that has helped their relationship develop over the years.

Twinkle asked, “You came in a family where they were already a unit, and they love you, you’re their stepmother and they love you, unlike all the stories you hear of the evil stepmother. I scare my children, if they’re mean to me, they’ll have an evil stepmother who’ll run them over with a car… How did you make sure your relationship with this family and these children always stays in harmony? Did you have anything in mind, things that people can learn from, if they enter a situation like this, these are the principles you must follow?”

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In her reply, Shabana said, “I didn’t push, and I didn’t try desperately to be liked by them, I gave them a lot of time. Of course, the fact that Honey was generous about it, helped. And the fact is that till they found a comfort level with me, I was there, but I was never pushing. And then slowly, because they were also, sort of… Zoya was around 12 at the time, and she was developing ideas, and I remember her being curious. I remember I had gone on a march for communal harmony, and she said, ‘So, why are you doing that? As if by marching on the streets you’re going to establish communal harmony. And then I explained to her that no, it’s a symbolic step, etc. So she became curious about what I was doing, and now, there’s never a demonstration in which I need Zoya and she won’t be there.”

Crediting Honey Irani for being ‘very generous’ even though she’d have been fully justified in ‘poisoning’ the children’s minds against her, Shabana said that she is now extremely proud of both Zoya and Farhan’s achievements, both personally and artistically. Shabana is often seen warming up with both Farhan and Zoya on different occasions. She is also supportive of Farhan and Shibani’s relationship.