Zeenat Aman was probably among the first actresses in Hindi film industry who was totally comfortable with her sexuality. She, in her portrayal of a bold and confident woman, was at least a decade ahead of her counterparts. Although a successful model and an even more successful actress, her married life was far from the perfect one.
Her relationship with actor Sanjay Khan was a violent one, the violence showing up often even in public places – she has even had a fake eye for years now. Their relationship came to an end after he allegedly assaulted her in a 5 star hotel.
Thereafter she married a lesser known actor Mazhar Khan and unfortunately for her, the domestic abuse continued. It was too late by the time she decided to go public with it, as Mazhar Khan had been diagnosed with renal cancer. Although she spent the next few years of her life and all her money on his treatment, he died.
Her problems didn’t end there as post Mazhar Khan’s death, and with no money to her name, it was her in-laws who turned against her, harassed her and fought for the custody of her children. Finally she went public with the abusive history, with the help of some of her friends. Eventually she was united with her children.
In spite of all this, she was able to establish herself as a successful actress. Disclosure is cathartic and a very effective form of healing. She continues to work and is seen as an icon for women who have stood up for themselves. There is a lesson to be learnt from each of the stories we are putting up; do not stop respecting yourself and say no to violence.