India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
March 15, 2016

Gene Junction: Adhuna Akhtar

Text by Zaral Shah

Celebrity hairstylist, Adhuna Akhtar, talks about her mixed heritage and growing up outside the country

“The way I choose to live my life today is more moment to moment…”

Adhuna Akhtar’s hairstyling in Dil Chahta Hai considerably raised the bar for subsequent films. Born Adhuna Bhabani — part British and part Indian — she was never very well acquainted with her Indian roots till she shifted base to the country. The founder and creative director of BBLUNT, Akhtar is rather fond of visiting her immediate family in the UK and Australia with whom she maintains close ties.

Growing up outside India
“Being born and raised in the UK, my siblings and I were not well versed with Indian culture. Whatever little we knew of it was from our father, who passed away when we were quite young, and so we grew up in a very Western atmosphere. We lived in a small town in the countryside, where my family was the only one of mixed race and my siblings and I faced a lot of stigma due to the fact that we were the only ‘different’ kids in school.”

Parental guidance
“From both parents I’ve learnt the importance of family, trust and honesty. With that as a central idea, I’ve been encouraged to develop into my own version of an adult. I am today a product of the values that my parents gave me. After giving me solid roots, they then gave me wings.”

The feeling of belonging
“I have not really faced any challenges in the way I am perceived. I am thought of as a foreigner both here and there and so I’m kind of midway.”

Home and hearth
“I now consider Mumbai home because my children were born here. Of course, my mum’s house too is a place I consider home.”

Family ties
“My Indian grandparents passed away when I was very young. My maternal grandma on the other hand was a constant part of our lives. She had a very open mind when both my mother and her sister married husbands of their choice.”

The end product
“The way I choose to live my life today is more moment to moment and as happily as is possible…. My diverse roots are a part of me, but that’s just what I started out with.”

Melange of lifestyles for the good
“I do believe it is a strength to be culturally diverse.”

Culinary preferences
“While I was young and living in England, I occasionally ate Indian food, but it was most often Western cuisine that we would eat. Since I have lived in India, I can now say that Indian is one of my favourite cuisines. And gulab jamun is my favourite Indian sweet!”

Future calling
“I have many plans…I aim to be a bigger and better version of myself.”

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