Mumbai: Veteran actress Zeenat Aman turned 66 on Sunday and spoke about a ritual that remains unchanged.

How did the diva ring in her birthday this year? "With my two sons," she said. 

"That ritual remains unchanged. When I was younger and a daughter rather than a mother, I had to be with my mother for every birthday no matter where I happened to be. Now that sense of family kinship has been passed on to my sons. I am the happiest when I am with them. They are good, well brought-up boys. I am very proud of them."

The past year, says Zeenat, had been tough on her. 

"It has been a learning experience. I've gone through one of the worst periods in my life. Luckily, I am out of it, thanks to my sons and some very close and supportive friends."

On the work front, Zeenat remains selective. 

"There is not much to choose for actresses of a certain age. But I can't complain. I think I had good innings in my earlier days. I worked with the very best directors including the great Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand, also Shammi Kapoor, Feroz Khan, Nasir Hussain, Shakti Samanta, Manoj Kumar, Manmohan Desai and Raj Khosla… 

"Gosh, that is quite a list. I learnt so much from these masters. I enjoyed every bit of the challenge that was thrown at me when I had to play a disfigured tribal girl in 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' or a happy sex worker in 'Manoranjan'."

As for the challenges now, "I won't do 'faltu' (useless) roles. I will wait for something that does justice to me. I have learnt the hard way not to rush into things." (IANS)