When we hear ‘step mother’ our brain automatically processes it as ‘Evil step mother’. Veteran actress Shaban Azmi married Javed Akhtar in 1984 but before that Javed Saab was already married to Honey Irani and they even had kids, Farhan and Zoya. In a conversation with writer Twinkle Khanna, shared on the Tweak India YouTube channel Zoya Akhtar opened up about how she did not force anything on the kids.
Twinkle asked her, “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?”
To which Shabana replied, “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 really generous about it, that 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’re 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.”