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From Step-siblings to Best Friends

Bollywood’s portrayal of step-brothers has always swung between scheming and hateful or overly affectionate as seen in movies such as Race, Main Hoon Na and Hum Saath Saath Hain. But the recently released Udaan has a bit different approach towards the concept of step-brother.

sex and relationships Updated: Jul 31, 2010 14:28 IST
Chandni Shah

Bollywood’s portrayal of step-brothers has always swung between scheming and hateful or overly affectionate as seen in movies such as Race (2008), Main Hoon Na (2004) and Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999).

But the recently released Udaan looks at 17-year-old Rohan’s tumultuous relationship with his younger step-brother differently, and according to actor Rajat Barmecha “steers away from the usual clichés.” Barmecha says, “Rohan’s relationship with his half-brother starts on rocky ground.

Udaan"After returning from boarding school, he realises that his father has remarried and has a son. He isn’t jealous of his half-brother, but detests sharing his personal space with him. Later, he realises that it’s not his fault and gradually, they form a strong bond."

Step by step
Psychologist Pratima Hawaldar offers some insight, saying,“ One of the reasons, the word ‘step’ gets ingrained in the child’s mind is because of the way society reacts to it with pre-conceived notions. When they are young, conflict between two step-siblings isn’t very different from sibling rivalry.”

But she goes on to caution, “Sometimes, parents are ignorant about the fact that their child needs special attention and care. If the child feels neglected, he will naturally start disliking the step-sibling. As the child grows older, his childhood experiences will play a greater role in shaping the relationship.”

She assures that the initial friction can be sorted out with timely intervention by parents. Though often portrayed as constantly fighting, some step-siblings share a strong bond with each other. Nineteen-year-old Karina, who has an extended family of four siblings, says, “I share a close bond with my step-siblings.

I am very attached to them and love spending time with them. We are just like best friends and I know that they will always be there for me. What matters is that our parents are happy.”

Hawaldar believes that such a family is happy when both parents handle the situation well. “Not only that, but the step-parent should also step in and give time to the kids to be accepted. Boosting the children’s self-esteem is key,” she says.

Karina agrees. “Both my parents and my step-dad always ensure that all the kids get equal love and attention. They place us before everything else. I am lucky to have such a big and happy family,” she says.