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Honey Irani... happy and sweet



Honey Irani... "Aaina" to life every "Lamhe". Photo: Rajeev Bhatt.

HALF MY life is full of sorrow,

Half of joy, still afresh and new;

One of these lives in a fancy, but the other one is true.

If A. Proctor said it once, Honey Irani experienced it everyday. The child artist of yesteryears and a mature woman of today, a doting mother to Farhan Akhtar and a good friend to her erstwhile husband Javed Akhtar, a sensible writer and now, a director.

Honey, a "typical Virgo" as she describes herself - born on August 25 - has learnt her lessons. Life has tossed her around no end, from a forced artistry instead of desired medical profession, to turning a single parent after Javed chose Shabana Azmi for his second wife.

But then, it never shows on her face. She sounds as chirpy as one having no regrets in life, as healthy as anyone without tensions, and as outspoken as any person with clear conscience would be. Though her health is also a result of her being a `foodie', she loves Chinese and Thai food.

"Main apne aap par zyada afsos nahin karti aur na hi doosron par," and this is what always kept her smiling throughout her tough life.

This lover of old songs, for whom "Humain Tumse Pyar Kitna" song is as latest as she can think of, was very close to Meena Kumari. "She would treat me like a mother. Whenever I would get time, I would go to her home where she would cook for me. She wouldn't eat without me." She worked with her in many films including "Poornima" her last film.

When Satyan Bose saw two-and-half-year-old Honey, he requested her mother to allow her to work in films. Honey was in kindergarten then. Daisy Irani, her elder sister and she became trendsetters in Hindi cinema with "black, curly hair style and loose shirts and half pants" though Honey accepts, "I was always overshadowed by Daisy."

As Honey reached adolescence, she had little work in films, "Till the age of 16, I worked in `Seeta Geeta', and `Kati Patang' and devoted time to stage shows. "At the age of 18, I got married to Javed, then Farhan and Zoya came, I devoted all my time to them."

But Honey kept writing. She showed her first story "Aaina" to Javed. "He liked it very much and said, `You have germs of writing. Keep it up'. Honey's first film script "Lamhe" took 10 months to get ready though film got completed in eight months.

Now her debut film as a director "Armaan" is her dream come true. "I always wanted to direct a film because I realised that when you write, you can execute what you desire, while when others are handling your script, transfer of feeling is not accurate." The script was "ready one-half-years ago and got completed in 92 days because everyone cooperated. They would be ready at 4-30 in the morning even if the shoot used to be at 6 a.m.". Its hospital part was shot in Mussoorie's Savoy Hotel but since some of its portions were not up to the mark, they were shot in South Africa.

And for "Armaan", Honey joined hands with Javed again. Honey says, "We are still good friends, he is the father of my children. There is no love lost between them despite certain creases that kept cropping in our relationship."

Life is indeed a long lesson in humility!

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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