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Zoya Akhtar Recounts Her First Panic Attack

Director Zoya Akhtar has opened up about her first panic attack and how she sought help to overcome it.


Updated:June 14, 2018, 2:40 PM IST
Zoya Akhtar Recounts Her First Panic Attack
A file photo of Zoya Akhtar.
Director Zoya Akhtar has opened up about her first panic attack and how she sought help to overcome it.
Zoya, the elder child of veteran screenwriter Javed Akhtar and filmmaker Honey Irani, wrote a lengthy post on Facebook for Humans of Bombay, a group which shares stories from the everyday lives of the people of Mumbai.

"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," Zoya wrote.

"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," she added.

In the post, Zoya, the director of films such as Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Dil Dhadakne Do, talked about her family, including brother Farhan Akhtar, with whom she shares a "great relationship".

"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'," Zoya said.

The 45-year-old director also revealed that her "love for the arts started at home".
"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."

"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'," she wrote.

Zoya also said that her work reflects her life experiences and that she currently awaits for her "one perfect film" to come.

"Basically, everything that I've experienced has added to my work -- my relationship with my family, my inner monologues, my travels and my love for animals It's all in there," Zoya said.
"And even though I've liked what I have done, that one perfect film is yet to come and that's the best part; it's something to always look forward to. Something to strive for, something I can only hope to create," she added.
The director is currently shooting for her next feature film, Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in the lead. The film is expected to release on February 14 next year.

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