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Early life and early career
Born: 19 November 1951
Parents: Mrs Scinda Heinz, Amanullah Khan
Born to a Hindu mother and Muslim father, Zeenat completed her schooling in Mumbai
About her childhood: ‘I was a single child and a bit of a loner… I am essentially a Mumbai girl. I was born at a nursing home that was a stone’s throw away from the Taj Mahal Hotel. My father was a scriptwriter from Bhopal. He wrote for films like Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Pakeezah (1972). He died when I was . He was very loving. He used to write beautiful letters to my mother and me. I didn’t have great proximity to him because I was away at boarding school. But I remember him expressing a lot of affection for me.’
Her mother remarried to a German man called Heinz. Zeenat and her mother obtained a citizenship of Germany. Zeenat went there on temporarily basis and returned to India when she turned 18.
Zeenat moved to California on a scholarship for further studies. She won the Miss Asia contest and later entered the film industry with a small role in ‘Hulchul’ in 1971, which bombed. She then made a name for herself with Dev Anand’s Hare Rama Hare Krishna. ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’, ‘Qurbani’, ‘Lawaaris’, ‘Yaadon Ki Baarat’, ‘Heera Panna’ followed
In 2008, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Zee Cine Awards as a recognition of her contribution to Hindi Cinema. She also received an Outstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema award at IIFA awards 2010. She dedicated this award to her mother.
After she completed her studies in California, she returned to India. She had a western sense of style and also a strong western sensibility in her personality. she joined the glamour world, modelled briefly and then joined the movies. She reminisces, ‘Those days, western characters were shown as bad guys in movies.’
The first time she entered a film studio, a place that is usually grimy and grungy, she told her producer that the glam quotient was missing.
She went in and looked around, and asked loudly, ‘where’s the glamour?’ And they said, ‘Well darling, you are supposed to be it!’
After doing one film, Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), in which she played Dev Anand’s sister, she was lucky to go beyond that perception and get a chance in Heera Panna (1973), from where things took a turn. By then, ‘western sensibilities and looks became part of the movies.’
Zeenat’s affair with Sanjay Khan
Zeenat Aman and Sanjay Khan met on the set of Abdullah in 1970, and both of them fell in love. It was rumour that Zeenat and Sanjay got married in Jaisalmer on 30th December, 1978. In an interview she quoted that “I was very naive and vulnerable at that time. It was a few weeks of madness, that’s it,” she said in an interview much later.
One evening at the Taj Hotel, Zeenat came to meet Sanjay where he attending a private party. When Sanjay saw Zeenat at that party, he took her in a hotel room, he lost his temper and started abusing Zeenat. He did not give any chance for Zeenat to speak.
After that incident, Zarine (Sanjay’s wife) forced Sanjay to make distance from Zeenat. By this time Zeenat, came to realise of a negative drama surrounding her relationship and disturbing her peace of mind. Then both of them separated from each other.
Their affair was only black mark in Zeenat’s personal life.
Zeenat rumour affair with Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan
It was a match between two supreme sex symbols of the sub continent.
However, their relationship came to an end after Zeenat married Mazhar and Imran married British Billionaire heiress Jemima Goldsmith.
Zeenat Married to Mazhar Khan
After getting separated from Sanjay and Imran, Zeenat tied the knot with Mazhar Khan in 1985. The marriage was bitter for Zeenat, as her husband used to beat her. They had two sons, Azaan and Zahaan. After a turbulent 12 years of marriage, Zeenat filed for divorce from Mazhar Khan and they got separated. After her divorce from Mazhar Khan, Zeenat stopped making public appearances.
What went wrong in their relationship
Zeenat said, “Mazhar never wanted me to grow as an individual or as an artist. He always wanted me to be with the kids and be at home. During the very first year of marriage I realised I had made a huge mistake, but I decided to live by it and make it work. I tried to make it work for another 12 years. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for me. There was not a single moment of happiness or joy during those 12 years. But I still tried making it work.”
“My world had shrunk around Mazhar and my kids. These 5 years I just gave away everything I had. My positivity, energy, time and love. And by the end of the 5th year I realised I had nothing more to give. I realised I wanted to go out of that marriage. From battling for his life, it had now become a battle of my survival. If I would not have left then I would have definitely had a nervous breakdown.”
Mazhar Khan passed away in 1998.
Zeenat Aman's troubled marriage
She was a trendsetter. She was a beauty queen. She was the queen of hearts. Her name became part of a (jocular) chant with which small-town and rural MCs in the Hindi-Urdu belt would preface their introductions (as in Sahibaan, qadar-daan, jeenat-amaan)—almost on a par with rural MCs chanting PC Sorcar’s ‘waterrrr of India.’
She was Zeenat Aman! She is a name which is remembered till date for her ultra glamorous looks and sultry persona onscreen. In a period where all other actresses portrayed the image of a doting wife, loving daughter or selfless sister; Zeenat did not hesitate to break away from the stereotype. Zeenat Aman, who ruled as the sex symbol for almost two decades, portrayed characters which were not only out of the box but something which other actresses never dared to take up. Her name was enough to evoke desire and admiration, especially among her male followers. From keeping her life size posters [portions of which were issued free with Junior Statesman, and had to be assembled together to form a life size poster] in their rooms to waiting in queue for hours and hours for a single glance, Indian audiences loved Zeenat Aman.
There were men all around her who were ready to give up everything to be with her, but she kept looking for real love. Eventually Zeenat found her 'true love' or so she may have liked to call it then, but this love gave her more pain that she could ever endure. It was a love that never lasted. A relationship that fell apart during the very first year of their marriage.
In a candid chat with Simi Garewal on her talk show, Zeenat revealed how she still bore the scars of her previous relationships. For beauty queen Zeenat Aman, life was as smooth as the graph of her filmy career. The Zeenat Aman who wanted pure love since her childhood, never found one. Zeenat was at the peak of her career when she married the relatively unsuccessful Mazhar Khan. On being asked what drew her to him, Zeenat took a long pause before finally uttering the truth.
She said, "My biological clock was ticking and I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to raise a family and now I think Mazhar just happened to be there at the right time. She also said even though Mazhar did not possess the qualities and attriubutes she wished to have in her life partner, she tried to fit him in. Though Zeenat's mother was totally against the match, Zeenat who had already suffered heart break decided to go on with her decision and married Mazhar. But Zeenat's mother could not take this too well and had a heart attack. It was only after Zeenat had kids and they started meeting their nani that she finally began to recover.
On being asked what went wrong in their relationship Zeenat said, "Mazhar never wanted me to grow as an individual or as an artist. He always wanted me to be with the kids and be at home. During the very first year of marriage I realised I had made a huge mistake, but I decided to live by it and make it work. I tried to make it work for another 12 years. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for me. There was not a single moment of happiness or joy during those 12 years. But I still tried making it work."
Talking about her troubled marriage she revealed, "Like every other girl or woman I had imagined and visualized a totally different picture of a married life in my head. But in reality it was nothing like it. Mazhar was never there whenever I needed him. Even when I was pregnant, he was not there to support me or be happy with me. Tabloids were filled with reports of him seeing someone else at that time but I still thought of giving us a chance. I wanted my child to have a father. I did everything I could to make this relationship work so that my son gets his father but at the end I lost the battle."
Zeenat's husband Mazhar had some serious problem in his pancreas. The illness which was detected in 1993 went on till 1997. During this period Zeenat was the only person by his side, all alone. Talking about those days she said, "93-97 was a continuous battle for me. I literally lived with him in the hospital all these years. From learning how to give injections to how to do the dressing, I did everything in my capacity single handedly. I looked after my children, I looked after my husband but there was no one to look after me. I am sure no other woman would have lasted in my situation for too long. But I held onto Mazhar. When the doctors in India gave up I took him to the best doctors abroad, and finally in 1997 he was allowed to go home. These 5 years I did not see day and night."
"My world had shrunk around Mazhar and my kids. These 5 years I just gave away everything I had. My positivity, energy, time and love. And by the end of the 5th year I realised I had nothing more to give. I realised I wanted out of that marriage. From battling for his life, it had now become a battle of my survival. If I would not have left then I would have definitely had a nervous breakdown."
"Mazhar was addicted to prescribed drugs, I pleaded him to come out of it but he would not listen. One day his kidneys finally packed up. His death came as a major blow to me. Even after all this I was not ready for him to die. I had fought all the battles for him, I could not believe he would make me lose like that. After his death I was blamed by his mother and sister that I did not support him. I was told I should not have left him. They did not allow me to pay my last respects. Every single penny he had left was taken by his mother and sister. There was nothing left for my children. My oldest son was fed negative things about me by his mother and sister. He was told how I had cheated his father and how I was not there when he needed me the most. Today they love their father as much as they love me. But that time was really tough for me."
Talking about the infamous Sanjay Khan episode she said," I have closed my mind to it, I pretend that it never happened. I don't think about it. I don't talk about it. That's the best way to cope up with it." In the same interview she also said, "I have always let my heart rule my head, but if I could rewind and start afresh I would listen to my mother. I would agree and follow whatever she told me."
Zeenat split with Zaheer, her partner for many years, in 2009.
Marriage plans at age 62 go sour
Rumour: In 2013, Zeenat marries Sarfaraz Ahmed
After the long time, in 2013 Zeenat came back to limelight. There were rumours that Zeenat was planning to marry 36-year old businessman Sarfaraz Ahmed. He was a Shiv Sena member in Mumbai. She was in live-in relationship with Sarfaraz Ahmed. Eventually, she refused the news of marriage with Sarfaraz.
Zeenat was 62 then. Afsana Ahmed Hindustan Times reported: <<Zeenat Aman will soon marry the man of her dreams.
<<Naturally, she doesn’t want to go into details, but Zeenat does reveal that her sons, Azaan (26) and Zahaan (23), are thrilled by her decision to remarry. "They told me, ‘go unwind, and be happy,’" she says excitedly.>>
As an actor
1970 The Evil Within/ Passport to Danger
1971 Hare Raama Hare Krishna
1973 Heera Panna
1973 Yaadon Ki Baaraat
1974 Ishq Ishq Ishq
1974 Love in Bombay
1974 Prem Shastra
1974 Roti Kapada Aur Makaan
1975 Chori Mera Kaam
1976 Balika Badhu
1977 Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka
1977 Chhailla Babu
1977 Darling Darling
1977 Dharam Veer
1977 Hum Kisise Kum Naheen
1978 Chor Ke Ghar Chor
1978 Heeralal Pannalal
1978 Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime
1979 Alibaba Aur 40 Chor
1979 The Great Gambler
1980 Bombay 405 Miles
1980 Insaf Ka Tarazu
1980 Ram Balram
1981 Katilon Ke Kaatil
1981 Professor Pyarelal
1982 Gopichand Jasoos
1982 Teesri Aankh
1982 Vakil Babu
1983 Bandhan Kuchchey Dhaagon Ka
1983 Hum Se Hai Zamana
1984 Meri Adalat
1984 Sohni Mahiwal
1984 Yeh Desh
1985 Ameer Aadmi Gharib Aadmi
1985 Bhavani Junction
1985 Yaadon Ki Kasam
1985 Yaar Kasam
1986 Baat Ban Jaye
1986 Haathon Ki Lakeeren
1987 Daku Hasina
1989 Tujhe Nahin Chhodunga
1999 Bhopal Express
2006 Jaana... Let's Fall in Love
2006 Make Ups (Short)
2007 Sirf Romance: Love by Chance
2008 Ugly Aur Pagli
2009 Geeta in Paradise
2010 Dunno Y Na Jaane Kyun...
2012 Monopoly the Game of Money
2014 Dunno Y2... Life Is a Moment
2014 Strings of Passion