A Living Portrait of India
India Heritage:Performing Arts:Cinema In India:Personalities

Stars: Shabana Azmi (born 1950)

Madhubala Meena Kumari Rajesh Khanna Dilip Kumar Jayshree Gadkar Saroja B. Devi
Nalini Jaywant Dharmendra Deol Utpal Dutt Amitabh Bachchan Sivaji Ganesan Om Puri
Vishnupant Pagnis Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao Akkineni Nageshwara Rao Rajkumar
Rajnikant Dhritiman Chatterjee Soumitra Chatterjee Chiranjeevi
Naseeruddin Shah Smita Patil

ctress and star, Shabana Azmi is synonymous with riveting performances that lift the film right off celluloid, as real as life. Her finest roles have been in the genre known as New Indian Cinema (or Arthouse Cinema). Not surprising, considering her parentage : her father, Kaifi Azmi, a highly respected poet and film lyricist, and her mother, Shaukat Azmi, a noted stage actress.

While her first film was the commercial one, Faasla, it was released after the Shyam Benegal film Ankur (1973). Thus, the arthouse film is regarded as her debut - the film, performances, and in particular Azmi, were inordinately appreciated.

Nishant (1975), Junoon (1978), Mandi (1983), Susman (1986), and Antarnaad (1992) are all Benegal films that have time and again proven her range and power.

Other directors who have drawn out her talent : •Satyajit Ray in Shatranj Ke Khiladi Mrinal Sen in Khandar, Genesis, Ek Din Achanak •Saeed Mirza in Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai • Sai Paranjpye in Sparsh and Disha Gautam Ghose in Paar Aparna Sen in Picnic and Sati Mahesh Bhatt in Arth John Schlesinger in Madame Sousatzka (1988) •Roland Joffe in City of Joy (1992).

Azmi's mainstream films have been popular - Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish, to name just two - but have paled before her New Indian Cinema repertoire.

Staged plays like Safed Kundali (1980) - M.S. Sathyu's version of The Caucasian Chalk Circle - and the dinner theatre playTumhari Amrita (with Farouque Shaikh) have seen her expand her world beyond cinema.

Likewise, her activism on behalf of Bombay slum dwellers.


So Many Cinemas
Author - B.D. Garga
Publishers - Eminence Designs Private Limited.

Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema.
Author -Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen
Publishers -Oxford University Press.

Could not find what you were looking for?