Shabana Azmi – India

Linked with Lara Shankar – India.

Shabana Azmi (born 18 September 1950 in New Delhi, India) is one of the leading actresses of parallel cinema. She is a film actress as well as a social activist, and her performances in films in a variety of genres have generally earned her praises and awards including five wins of National Film Award for Best Actress. She is married to Indian poet Javed Akhtar … (full text).

Social activism: Shabana Azmi has been a committed social activist, active in fighting AIDS and injustice in real life. Shabana Azmi has voiced her opinion on a variety of issues. Initially, her activism drew skepticism and was dubbed by some as a publicity gimmick. However, she proved her critics wrong and used her celebrity status to emerge as a high-profile social activist … She has campaigned against ostracism of victims of AIDS. A small film clip issued by the Government of India depicts an HIV positive cuddled in her arms and saying: “She does not need your rejection, she needs your love”. In a Bengali film named Meghla Aakash she played the role of a physician treating AIDS patients … (full text social activism).

She says about herself: … I have not met the right man yet. I wish to have kids someday. I am skinny girl that eats right and works out. I have a cute and slim body. As far as clothes that I wear, I am casual. Vegetables are how I keep myself looking good. I am your typical fast food junky. I love eating Moghlai dishes. I don’t drink at all. Cigarette smoke makes me sick. I am a very devout and practicing Hindu. Painting is a very cool thing. I do not even know what numerology is but I list it as my hobby. (full text).

UNFPA Announces the Appointment of Ms. Shabana Azmi as its Goodwill Ambassador for India, 01 November 1998.

… “HIV/AIDS is about society being hit at its bones and roots,” said Ms. Azmi. “[It] is about families losing their means of livelihood and support. Is about individual women and men whose legitimate dreams are dashed away. … It is ripping-off the very fabric of community and family life” … (full text).

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Shabana Azmi – India

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She says also: “I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a woman, an actress, an Indian, and a Muslim. Each of those identities is important to me” … and: “That nations cannot be built on the sole basis of a commonality of religion was proved when Bangladesh became free. Since, however, India and Pakistan do exist, we should first try to work on the commonalties between them, rather than the differences. I would emphasize that in the new world of today, we should be thinking less in terms of the isolation of nations than what is in the common interests of whole regions” … and: “Theatre is really the actor’s medium. When you go on stage, it is your space. Cinema is the director’s medium”. (Quotes).

The Actor as Activist: Celebrating Shabana Azmi.

… However, no one can blame the director for not fleshing out the characters of the delightful parents. Shabana as the domineering mother could have ended up being a caricature; instead she comes across as a believable, quirky lady, who wants the best for her sons. Boman Irani has played the poker-faced jokester so many times that he can probably sleepwalk through such roles, and still endear the audience. (full text).

… Appreciating the efforts of the farmers they felicitated them for their outstanding work. Presence of world renowned Dr Joseph Mercola and actor and social activist Shabana Azmi, added a touch of glamour to the event … (full text).

Karan’s guests this week are an extremely special couple. She is an actor par excellence…in fact, almost an institution! From path breaking alternate cinema to plausible mainstream… She’s been there, she’s done that! Her contribution to the society as well as the fraternity has never gone unnoticed and on a lighter vein, she can be the life of a party … (full long text on Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi and Farhan Akhtar enjoy Koffee with Karan).

Find her and her publications on the Shabana Azmi page on TRIPOD.com (filmography, images, SONGs, articles); on twenga.co.uk; on amazon,co.uk (54 DVD results); on e-bay;
on a fan site; on wikipedia /select filmography; on wikipedia /Awards and honors; on IMDb; on her Google Video-results; on You Tube; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search; on Google News-result.

… So she disappeared from the scene, except for an appearance in the 2005 dud Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow, while rumours went about in B-town that her husband, the golfer Jyoti Randhawa, had stopped her from acting. Now, after a child, a few charcoal painting sessions and yoga, she is back — in Onir’s Sorry Bhai, that also stars Shabana Azmi and Boman Irani. Singh calls this “a new beginning” rather than a “comeback”, and you can already sense the anxiety in her voice. “I am slightly nervous. It has been some time since I acted,” she says … (full text).

It’s in real life, not the movies, where SHABANA AZMI plays her biggest part—as a crusader against injustice. Her passion is incontrovertible. Her ego can easily tend toward excessive. Her talent keeps her famous, and her pulchritude made her that way. But the measure of Shabana Azmi’s humanity is none of those things. It is her willingness to say, simply, what others are frightened of saying. “The trouble,” says Azmi, “is that I can never keep quiet.” That volubility has indeed caused her problems, but it’s also made the 51-year-old Indian actress an outspoken secular hero espousing tolerance in a state riven by religious conflict … (full text).

… Question: Is the world’s most wanted terrorist really behind the city’s 26/11? Or is his name being trotted out by a clueless government which wants to blame somebody for the attack because it finds too many fingers pointing back at itself? We’ll never really know. But, yes, given the D Man’s involvement in the plot to bomb Mumbai in 1993 (he is accused No. 1 in the trial, but remains as elusive as ever), there is every reason to believe he was also behind the war against Mumbai last week. The authorities are not forthcoming for lack of evidence. But Mumbaiites have their own take on D’s involvement … Shabana Azmi’s answer: I don’t know if Dawood is directly involved, but the underworld based out of Pakistan certainly is; there’s a diabolic war waged on our country and we need answers … (more people’s answers).

And she says: … “I want leaders to stop thinking about food in cold statistics. How would they feel if it was their child, their spouse, their parent who had to go hungry?” … and: “Put food on the table – this is our only chant for the UN leaders. We are here in New York to make sure that they are not allowed to ignore this promise,” said Shabana Azmi. “Food is the most basic need in a human being. I want this to become an emotive issue for all. I want them to stop thinking about it in cold statistics and understand how they would feel if it was their child, their spouse, their parent who had to go hungry,” she added … ActionAid also demands that any US policy on hunger also needs to address the issue of corporate abuse. Regulations must be set in place to ensure that smallholder farmers are not driven into destitution through unfair trade, corporate land grabs, and the diversion of natural resources, such as water … (full text).

Apart from being a highly respected actress, Shabana Azmi is also a committed social activist. Inspired by the fiery zeal of her father, who has worked extensively with construction labours, she undertook a 5-day hunger strike for the slum dwellers in Bombay. As Chairperson of the NIVARA HAKK SURAKSHA SAMITI, she demanded and managed to get alternative land for the disputed slum dwellers of Sanjay Gandhi Nagar, NIVARA HAKK opposes demolitions, arguing that demolitions only create worse slums out of already existing slums and that upgradation is the better alternative. Alongwith Swami Agnivesh and Asghar Ali Engineer, she undertook a 4-day march for communal harmony from DELHI to MEERUT in April, 1989. She has also participated in several street plays and demonstrations against the rising wave of communalism. In the aftermath of the Babri Masjid Demolition, she along with activists of NIVARA HAKK, helped to diffuse tension in several slums. To their credit, NIVARA HAKK did not have a single incident of violence whilst the city was ablaze … (full text).

Shabana Azmi has been a committed social activist, active in fighting AIDS and injustice in real life. Shabana Azmi has voiced her opinion on a variety of issues. Initially, her activism drew skepticism and was dubbed by some as a publicity gimmick. However, she proved her critics wrong and used her celebrity status to emerge as a high-profile social activist. She had participated in several plays and demonstrations denouncing communalism. In 1989, along with Swami Agnivesh and Asghar Ali Engineer, she undertook a four day march for communal harmony from New Delhi to Meerut. Among the neglected social groups whose causes she has advocated are slum dwellers, displaced Kashmiri Pandit migrants and victims of the earthquake at Latur (Maharashtra, India). The 1993 Mumbai riots appalled her and she emerged as a forceful critic of religious extremism. After the September 11 2001 attacks, she opposed the advice of an important religious leader calling upon the Muslims of India to join the people of Afghanistan in their fight by retorting that the leader go there alone. Her strong reaction encouraged other moderate Muslim leaders to counsel restraint and tolerance, and to shun terrorism. She has campaigned against ostracism of victims of AIDS. A small film clip issued by the Government of India depicts an HIV positive cuddled in her arms and saying: “She does not need your rejection, she needs your love”. In a Bengali film named Meghla Aakash she played the role of a physician treating AIDS patients … (full text).

Of all the many elements that go into making cinematic art, perhaps the most elusive, and mysterious is film acting. While important works have been published on aspects such as editing, mise-en-scène, cinematography, even sound design, few scholars have seriously tried to address the peculiar qualities that go into the creation of the performer?s art. Comparisons to theatrical performance are usually misleading or inconclusive; while there are notable exceptions, many brilliant stage performers have simply failed to make the transition to celluloid. Yet, even if we can?t effectively define it, there?s no mistaking the aesthetic and emotional excitement we feel when we’re watching a great actor come to life on screen … This series was organized by Uma da Cunha and Richard Peña, and is presented in collaboration with the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. Special thanks to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (New Delhi), the National Film Development Corporation (Mumbai), the Directorate of Film Festivals (New Delhi), the Consulate General of India in New York, Film Four International, Prakash Jha, and Jagmohan Mundhra. Very special thanks to Mr. Ismail Merchant for his generous support of the series. Additional funding has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts … (full text, September 28 – October 10, 2002).

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