There’s a stigma attached to the word ‘stepfather’. He is the evil man who can never be a selfless father or a real father to his stepchildren. But, is it really wise to shun him away just because he is a stepfather? While it’s true that many kids have had an estranged relationship with their stepdads, there are some who have shared an exceptional bond with their step-fathers.
Many of the celebrities in our country like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sridevi, Anupam Kher and Kiran Rao are step parents and playing their role quite beautifully. Here’s a look at some of the celebrity stepdads who have done everything to blend with the bond that is not biological, but one that has to be nurtured.
#1. Anupam Kher - Sikandar Kher
Sikandar is Kirron Kher’s son from ex-husband Gautam Berry, a Mumbai-based businessman, to whom she was married for five years. After her divorce, Kirron Kher got married to Anupam Kher and Sikandar stayed with his mom, becoming the stepson of the veteran actor.
Sikandar came in Anupam Kher’s life when he was just a 4-year-old small kid and from then on, he has been there for his son whenever he needed him. During his formative years, Sikandar would often accompany him on his shoots abroad. Till date, both father and son share a beautiful relationship with each other. Sikandar doesn’t think of him as his stepdad and in an interview he once said:
“To me Gautam Papa and Anupam Papa are equally important. I don't want to call one my biological dad and the other my adopted dad. That does injustice to both.”
On his equation with Sikandar, Anupam too had something very sweet to say about his son:
“It’s a great relationship with Sikandar as I shared with SRK in DDLJ. He is a grown up guy now. I don’t believe in imposing on children, be it anybody. Children these days are smarter than we are. I am friendly with him and share a lot with him. Touchwood...it’s a greatest relationship a father and son can share.”
Now, who wouldn’t want to have such a father in real life? We think Sikandar is really lucky to share a bond like that of the iconic father-son jodi (Shahrukh Khan and Anupam Kher) in DDLJ.
The father and son share the same profession; in fact, Sikandar was inspired by him as an actor. Both don’t shy away from showering praises upon each other. Recently, veteran actor Anupam Kher took to social media to praise Sikandar’s first look in the second season of the TV show 24.
"Dearest @sikandarbk You are FANTASTIC in d first look of #24, season 2. Loved your menace and stylishness. Jai Ho.:)"
On Father’s Day this year, Sikandar shared a picture of them enjoying a rickshaw ride and captioned it beautifully saying:
"Happy Father's Day to a father that never gives up on me.. love you dad"
On March 7, 2018, sharing a lovely birthday wish which defined the father-son bond perfectly, Sikandar wrote:
“Happy birthday to man who makes a billion laugh, inside and out.. Goes hard on a few but is actually a big ol’ softee inside.. Here’s wishing you good health and peace of mind always Dad and most of all gratitude for everything you’ve done for me.. I love you bro .. oh and Hey Mom whatchu doin’ there? #Laughter #Smiles #LoonBalls #Birthday #Peace #Love
In an earlier interview with the Bombay Times, Kirron Kher talked about the bond between her second husband, Anupam and her son from her first marriage, Sikandar. Kirron shared:
“My son Sikandar, who is a lot the way I was as a kid, as in rebellious with a great sense of humour. It’s heartbreaking, but he has also made all his mistakes himself as he won’t listen. He is loving, affectionate, outgoing, implicitly trusting, but stubborn. I too was trusting, but life teaches you to be a little wary. I feel he has inherited his goodness, empathy and kindness from me. I have brought him up as a single parent.
She further added:
Anupam is very much his own person, who is involved in his own life and is father to himself. But he is a good man, is kind, will not do anything nasty or mean to anyone, but he will not change his plans for anything. He is very involved in his career and that is all-consuming for him, but he has been a wonderful friend. He is very tender, loving and giving to Sikandar. More to Sikandar than to me, I would say. Sikandar is blessed to have had him as his stepfather. He might not have had time for us, but he will never do anything malicious or nasty. He is also a very loyal person to his family, but he is not a disciplinarian, so I have had to bear the brunt of being that. Sikandar doesn’t listen to me at all.”
#2. Anil Kumble – Aaruni
When Anil Kumble married Chetana Ramatheertha, he also adopted Aaruni, Chetana’s daughter from her first marriage with Kumar Jahgirdar. Anil Kumble even gave his surname to his step-daughter Aaruni.
For many of you who don’t know, Anil Kumble’s wife had to battle for custody of her young daughter from her ex-husband, which was definitely a tough time for them as a family. During those times, he stood firmly by his wife to gain custody of his step-daughter Aaruni. He was even appreciated by the court on his decision to give Aaruni the best of care, affection and education.
Take a look at what Anil Kumble had promised the court to get full custody of Aaruni:
“Extend the same love to the child and cooperation to the natural parents as he has been doing throughout in the past so that the child gets the best of care, affection and education for her proper upbringing.”
On International Women’s Day, despite being busy, he didn’t forget to wish his daughters Svasti and Aaruni, as well as his wife:
‘They’ve been a constant support throughout! Blessed to have them around!’
After his marriage, Anil Kumble and Chetana had two more kids, Mayas and Svasti, but for them, Aaruni will always be their eldest child. Although Kumble keeps his children away from the limelight, glimpses of him travelling together with his wife and kids, including Aaruni can be seen on his social media account. He is a hands-on dad and just like any other father, his tone takes a pride when he mentions Aaruni or his other kids.
#3. Abhinav Kohli - Palak Tiwari
Television actress Shweta Tiwari’s married life and bitter divorce with ex-husband Raja Chaudhary have always been in the limelight. While Shweta was mature enough to handle the emotional trauma, it was her daughter, just a small girl back then, who had to suffer the most. But thankfully, God had some good plans for little Palak.
When Abhinav Kohli came into Shweta Tiwari’s life, things got better for Palak. Abhinav shares a lovely father-daughter relationship with her, so much so that he even named his production house after her.
"Palak (Shweta’s daughter) is our daughter’s name, hence we named it (Palak and Punia Entertainment Pvt. Ltd) after her.”
In an interview once, Shweta shared the reason why she married Abhinav:
“Marrying Abhinav was not an easy decision. Just two-three months before the marriage, I was like karoon, nahi karoon. But then I started seeing our whole journey again and I saw that my daughter was quite close to Abhinav. She prefers to call Abhinav more than me if she has a problem or has to discuss anything. Palak feels that Abhinav understands her better than me. First time jab shaadi karte hain toh itni sochne ki zaroorat nahi padti, lekin jab aap second time shaadi karte hain, and that too when you have a daughter, you have to think and re-think. This time when I was getting married, more than a husband for myself, I was looking for a father for Palak. And yes, Abhinav became Palak's father first and my husband later,"
For Abhinav, Palak is his darling daughter and he loves to pamper her. In an interview, when Shweta was asked who is Palak closer to, she said:
"It's him as he pampers her a lot and lets her be. I am a protective mother, who freaks out when a boy visits her at our home or if she wears short dresses,"
He even let Palak decide a name for her younger brother Reyansh. After Shweta’s marriage, Palak has blossomed into a complete diva, a mirror image of her beautiful mother. The smile that she dons today and the confidence that she has, wouldn’t have been possible without the love of a supporting father and a doting mother.
#4. Shikhar Dhawan - Rhea and Aliyah
Whether it’s his marriage to the Anglo-Indian beauty, Ayesha or his relationship with his stepdaughters, he has been giving us some serious family goals. Shikhar met Ayesha on Facebook and love blossomed between the two, they even got engaged in a private ceremony in 2009. But, they waited till 2012 to take the wedding vows for more than one reason.
While Shikhar needed to concentrate on his cricketing career, he also had to focus on his relationship with Ayesha’s daughters from first marriage - Rhea and Aliyah. In three years, Shikhar not only got a firm footing in the Indian cricket team, but also bonded well with his to-be stepdaughters. He didn’t have many problems in hitting it off with his daughters as he explained in an interview:
“It wasn't difficult at all. Joh cheez kudrat se hoti hai woh ekdum aapki zindagi mein dhal jaati hain. Meri kismet mein thi meri do betiyaan, toh woh ekdum se meri zindagi mein aa gayi. It just clicked. Today, the way they love me, I feel so fortunate.”
A quick look at Shikhar Dhawan’s social media accounts would convince you of his parenting skills. Whenever he is not travelling or playing on the field, he dedicates all his free time to his three kids taking them to parks, riding a pony, going to the gym or having meals with them. And even though his family lives in Australia, he makes it a point to be physically present with his daughters for birthdays and special occasions. That’s really sweet of him!
During a match in England, the handsome cricketer took to social networking site Instagram, and posted a picture of his daughters and son with a beautiful caption that showed how much he missed being with them.
“Sorry guys due to some reason had to delete d last post. Still the same feelings..Missing my Daughters lots and really wish there school holidays were on so they could have been with me.. Be part of my journey , see me playing live in sch a big tournament ,i knw there prayers are alwys wth me and my daughters alwys make me feel a proud father.East or west daughters are d best and there little brother missing his Didi's too.."
#5. Raj Zutshi - Imran Khan
Well, we all have gushed over Bollywood romantic and Aamir Khan’s debut film, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. But did you know that Raj a.k.a. Aamir Khan’s best friend in the film, Shyam a.k.a Raj Zutshi is his former brother-in-law in real life. Raj was married to Aamir Khan’s cousin sister, Nuzhat Khan. Nuzhat was initially married to Anil Pal, a software engineer and they have a son, Imran Khan. Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na fame, Imran Khan is in a cordial relationship with his step-father, Raj Zutshi.
Imran also played the character of young Aamir Khan in the film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, starring his step-father and uncle. Since Imran’s parents got divorced while he was a toddler, his father figure during the growing years was Raj. When asked who the father figure to him during his growing years was, Imran admitted in an interview earlier:
“It was my stepfather, Raj Zutshi.”
Raj also attended Imran Khan’s wedding with Avantika Malik in 2011.
#6. Rajesh Khattar – Shahid Kapoor
There is no doubt to the fact that Neelima Azeem’s son from her first husband Pankaj Kapur, Shahid Kapoor shares a warm and cordial relationship with her son from her second husband Rajesh Khattar, Ishaan Khattar. But not many of the netizens are aware that Shahid shares a warm bond with his step-father, Rajesh too. However, Rajesh and Shahid don’t talk about each other much, but in an interview earlier, Rajesh defined his bond with Shahid:
“of love and affection”
Even at Shahid Kapoor’s wedding with Delhi-based girl, Mira Rajput, Rajesh was completely involved in the preparations and celebrations. Rajesh’s current wife and Dil Dhadakne Do fame actress, Vandana Sajnani, whom he married after his divorce with Neelima, shared in an earlier interview:
“Rajesh is part of the whole thing. He is in talks with Shahid and they are currently in the process of locking certain things. It’s a big day for the family and we will be there to bless the couple if we are in the country and not travelling overseas for work at that time.”
We hope that these celeb stepfathers would inspire others like them to foster a healthy and loving relationship with their stepchildren. Because biological or otherwise, a father or a father figure plays a very important role in a child’s upbringing.