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One of the most prolific filmmakers, Zoya Akhtar celebrates her 46th birthday today. Born in Mumbai on 14th October 1972, she hails from one of the most talented film families in the country who have a major contribution in Indian cinema. After completing a diploma in filmmaking from NYU, she assisted directors like Mira Nair, Tony Gerber, and Dev Benegal, before turning her sight towards writing and direction. Over the years, Zoya helmed several path-breaking films like Luck By Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do.
As Zoya turns 46 today, we take a closer look at her life-
How Film-Making Happened To Zoya
Zoya revealed in one of her interviews, "Growing up, I obviously loved the movies but I wasn't sure if I wanted to make them because the '80s were so bad. I thought maybe I'll go into advertising." So, while she was still studying at St Xavier's College, she started working at adman Adi Pocha's Script Shop. However, watching Salaam Bombay! changed the trajectory of her career. At 21, Zoya worked with Mira Nair on Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love before heading to New York University (NYU) for an advanced diploma course in filmmaking. "Once I came back from NYU, I was ready to make my first film," Zoya reveals.
Zoya As A Kid
Zoya's mother Honey Irani was quoted as saying in an old interview with Rediff, "As a child, Zoya was very sensible but I would have a hard time with Farhan. He was a brat. When we would travel abroad, I would take them to a toy shop and ask them to select two toys each, as I could not afford more than that. Zoya would select her toys and come out. But Farhan could never make a decision and never come out of the shop. I would literally have to drag him out! Even late nights. I would let Zoya go for late night parties but never allowed Farhan because I could trust Zoya to do certain things and come home by 10pm but if I asked Farhan to come home at 10pm, he would come home at 4am! So I never allowed him to go. He would get very angry and complain that I let Zoya go even though she's a girl, but not me. There would be tension in the house. But Zoya was a responsible child so I could rely on her.
When Zoya was small, she would complete whatever you gave her to do, without any mistakes."
She Is A Wanderlust
"I try to go to a new country at least once every year. There is so much to see in the world. It really opens your mind up. It makes you come out of the little hole you are in where you think that your problems and the Hindi film industry is everything. I love food, seeing new places and trying new things."
Zoya On The Film Which Moved Her
"A work that really moved me was Starry Nights by Van Gogh in MoMA, New York -- I had chills. I had a physical reaction to the painting -- my heart just flew out of my chest... And I started crying. I still don't know what it was -- but I just felt ‘him."