EXCLUSIVE: ‘Shahid & Ishaan wouldn’t be what they are if I had taken liberty as an artiste,’ says Neelima Azeem
Neelima Azeem is one of the finest examples of a ‘Super Moms.’ The actress is the proud mommy of two sons, Shahid Kapoor and Ishaan Khattar. Having gone through personal ups and lows, Neelima Azeem managed to raise Shahid Kapoor and Ishaan Khattar single-handedly, and how. In our Mother’s Day special, we at Bollywood Bubble spoke to Neelima Azeem about motherhood, single parenting and more. She opened up about the financial struggles that she had to go through as a single mom, and how she conquered them.
“At a very young age, I have done a lot. Of course, it was in my destiny that once my children were there, I had to think about them first. I couldn’t have been such a selfish artist. If I had also taken the liberty as an artist, then I don’t think my children would have been what they are today. I take my commitments very seriously,” Neelima Azeem shared.
The actress married Pankaj Kapur at the age of 20 and welcomed her first child, Shahid Kapoor. However, things did not work out between Neelima and Pankaj and they parted ways. Later, she tied the knot with actor Rajesh Khattar, with whom she has son Ishaan Khattar. But, yet again, her marriage ended up in separation. So, Neelima had to raise, both Shahid and Ishaan as single mother.
Opening up about her financial struggle, Neelima ji shared that she decided to come to Bombay from Delhi for two reasons. “Though I was very young, I understood that dancers don’t make that kind of money, unfortunately in our country. And back then, it was even more difficult, though I was a much-better-paid dancer, and I performed a lot,” she said.
She continued, “But, once Shahid was born, I found it difficult to put in so much physical labour, and take care of everything else along with the child. I was also very concerned about our future, once the divorce happened. So, it just happened you know. There’s a lot that has happened in my life on its own you know.”
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The Indian Television industry became the support system for Neelima ji, and gave her the fame she needed. Sharing her TV journey, she said, “Lekh (Tandon) ji came with the offer of Phir Wahi Talash and I played Shehnaaz, which made me so popular. I would say the most popular maybe, that the whole film industry’s eyes were on me, and also the television industry, and the finest filmmakers. Once Phir Wahi Talash was telecast, Mashallah, so much work came to me that I was on a place of choice also I would say. I got my popularity from Television and so I was very clear.”
Television helped her both, financially and popularity wise. “Also, Television meant very regular cheques, and regular earning. So, I understood very early, once I was in Bombay that I would have to do Television. I did not have the luxury to be a film actress only, because, in those days, films were made over a period of 3-4 years and sometimes even more. So, I understood that I have to always keep one foot in the Television industry to bring in regular money. That was one reason, another reason was, I did get all my popularity from Television, and I respected that a lot,” Neelima ji shared.