Zoya Akhtar Reveals Her Struggle With Panic Attack

The 45-year-old filmmaker, Zoya Akhtar recently talked to the blog “The Humans Of Bombay” and opened up about her struggles for the very first time.

The daughter of musician Jawed Akhtar is the eldest in her family and is well known for her producing super hit movies like “Zindagi Na Miley Gi Dubara” and “Dil Dhadkney Dou.” Zoya made her debut in the industry with “Luck By Chance,” starring her younger brother Farhan Akhtar. Since then she has preferred working with him only and feature him in all her m0vies.

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Talking about her childhood memories with her family Zoya said, ” Pieces of my life, no matter how scattered, are being stitched together and reflect in my work. The biggest piece is my family — from watching films like The Godfather on our dining room wall to having a great relationship with my sibling. Or going on weekend trips with our cousins to the beach and eating all day… it’s been a crazy childhood; a ‘bohemian one.” She mentioned how her journey to becoming a critically acclaimed filmmaker started from home and said,  “My love for the arts started at home — most of the people we met were artists- actors, directors, musicians, writers. The conversations my parents had about films were obviously more in-depth than the average audience. Screenplay, performances, lighting, shot-taking. And before you know my brother and me were looking at films slightly differently.”

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The 45-year-old then went to reveal a dark secret she has never spoken up about and said, “My biggest challenge was when I had my first panic attack at 27. It’s not something you can ignore, you can’t sit around and get sucked into a rabbit hole. I chose to get help immediately. It took a while to work things out but I am fine now. You realize you have to become aware of your inner monologue. The things you say to yourself. This raised my consciousness so it was vital to my growth, I would say.”

The only partner she felt during the times of trouble was the late artist, Van Gogh. The “Dil Dhadakne Do” director said, “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.”

Speaking about her career Zoya said she is yet to make the “perfect” film even though she bagged the prestigious Filmfare award for the best director debut for her very first movie.


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