Mumbai: Veteran actress Zeenat Aman, on Father’s Day, remembered her late father Amanullah Khan and mother Vardhini Scindia and also talked about how she got her last name and that she wants to translate and publish a volume of Urdu poetry written by him.
Zeenat took to Instagram, where she shared a picture and wrote how her parents got married and parted ways.
“This precious image was taken at a photo studio when I was a child. My father is sitting behind me, and another relative is in front. My father Amanullah Khan came from royal stock. His mother Akhtar Jahan Begum was first cousins with the last ruler of the state of Bhopal, His Highness Nawab Hamidullah Khan.
“Aman Sahab, as he was known, was one of eight siblings, and they led a leisurely life in Bhopal. As he grew up he was considered extremely handsome. So he and his cousin Al Nasir came to Mumbai to see if they could find fame and fortune in Hindi cinema. He met my mother Vardhini Scindia socially at a party in the city”, she said.
“They had a whirlwind courtship and got married soon after. Unsurprisingly, neither family approved. She was a practicing Hindu and he came from a strong Muslim family. After a brief acting career, Aman Sahab went on to become a writer. Amongst other projects, he most famously worked on the screenplay and dialogues for Mughal-E-Azam and also Pakeezah. Though he was enormously talented and respected as a writer, I don’t feel he ever got his just dues. I suppose writers rarely do.”
“On the homefront, my parents decided to separate a few years after I was born. I stayed with my mother, and my father moved into a sprawling bungalow on Mount Mary Hill in Bandra.”
She recalled going for long walks with him during which he would treat her to ice cream.
“He would tell me stories and would recite Urdu poems, some of which he made up especially for me. He would also write beautiful letters in English to my mother and I.”
“These are my few memories of my father. He passed away at the early age of 41, when I was still in school. I wish I had had the chance to spend more time with him. To know him not just through the lens of a child, but as a teenager and adult. Amongst the few possessions I hold close to my heart, is a volume of Urdu poetry that he wrote.”
“I hope to have this translated and published some day. One never gets too old to miss their parents. On Father’s Day, I am thinking of my father Amanullah Khan, whose name I chose to make my own.”