Shabana Azmi

‏born 18 September 1951

Shabana Azmi(‏born 18 September 1951) is an Indian actress of film, television and theatre. An alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India of Pune , she made her film debut in 1974 and soon became one of the leading actresses of parallel cinema , an Indian New Wave movement known for its serious content and neo-realism.Regarded as one of the finest actresses in India, Azmi's performances in films in a variety of genres have generally earned her praise and awards, which include a record of five wins of the National Film Award for Best Actress and several international honours.She has also received four Filmfare Awards .Azmi has appeared in over 120 Hindi films in both mainstream and independent cinema, and since 1988 she has acted in several foreign projects. In addition to acting, Azmi is a social and women's rights activist, a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), and a member of the Rajya Sabha , the upper house of the Indian parliament.She is married to Indian poet and screenwriter Javed Akhtar .

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 Shabana Azmi's Early life and background

She described the reason she decided to attend the film institute, saying, "I had the privilege of watching Jaya Bhaduri in a (Diploma) film,Suman,and I was completely enchanted by her performance because it was unlike the other performances I had seen. I really marvelled at that and said, 'My god, if by going to the Film Institute I can achieve that, that's what I want to do.'" Azmi eventually topped the list of successful candidates of 1972.

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 Shabana Azmi's Career

Azmi graduated from the FTII in 1973 and went on to sign on Khwaja Ahmad Abbas 'Faaslaand began work on Kanti Lal Rathod'sParinayas well. Her first release, however, was Shyam Benegal 's directorial debutAnkur(1974). Belonging to the arthouse genre of neo-realistic films,Ankuris based on a true story which occurred in Hyderabad .

" Indian politics has been unfair to Muslims and despite Indian secularism Muslims are discriminated against. I wanted to buy a flat in Bombay and it wasn't given to me because I was a Muslim and I read the same about Saif (Ali Khan). Now, I mean, if Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi cannot get a flat in Bombay because they are Muslims, then what are we talking about? I don't think that the Muslim leadership has bothered to clear the air about what Islam actually is."

Ankurshe may not have fitted immediately into her rustic surroundings, but her poise and personality are never in doubt. In two high pitched scenes, she pulls out the stops to firmly establish herself as one of our finest dramatic actresses".

She went on to receive the National Film Award consecutively for three years from 1983 to 1985 for her roles in movies,Arth,KhandharandPaar. Another filmGodmother(1999) earned her another National Film Award, taking her tally to five.

Azmi’s acting has been characterized by a real-life depiction of the roles played by her. InMandi, she acted as a madam of a whorehouse. For this role, she put on weight and even chewed betel . Real life portrayals continued in almost all her movies. These included the role of a woman named Jamini resigned to her destiny inKhandharand a typical urban Indian wife, homemaker and mother inMasoom.

depicts her as a lonely woman, Radha, in love with her sister-in-law. The on-screen depiction of lesbianism (perhaps the first in Indian cinema) drew severe protests and threats from many social groups as well as by the Indian authorities. Her role as Radha brought her international recognition with the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 32nd Chicago Film Festival and Jury Award for Best Actress at Outfest , Los Angeles.

which was actually planned to hit the floors on 2000. Few scenes were already shot. Shabana Azmi had to shave her head with Nandita Das to portray the character of Shakuntala. However, due to political reasons, the film was shelved and later shot in 2005 with Seema Biswas replacing Azmi.

Some of her notable films include Shyam Benegal 'sNishant(1975),Junoon(1978),Susman(1986), andAntarnaad(1992); Satyajit Ray ’sShatranj Ke Khiladi; Mrinal Sen ’sKhandhar,Genesis,Ek Din Achanak; Saeed Mirza’sAlbert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai; Sai Paranjpye’sSparshandDisha; Gautam Ghose ’sPaar; Aparna Sen ’sPicnicandSati; Mahesh Bhatt ’sArth; Vinay Shukla’sGodmother. Her other films include the commercially successful Manmohan Desai 'sAmar Akbar AnthonyandParvarishand Prakash Mehra ’sJwalamukhi. Azmi starred in Hollywood productions such as John Schlesinger ’sMadame Sousatzka(1988) and Roland Joffe’sCity of Joy(1992).

Azmi debuted on the small screen in a soap opera titledAnupama. She portrayed a modern Indian woman who, while endorsing traditional Indian ethos and values, negotiated more freedom for herself. She had participated in many stage plays, and notable among them include M. S. Sathyu’sSafed Kundali(1980), based onThe Caucasian Chalk Circle; and Feroz Abbas Khan 'sTumhari Amritawith actor Farooq Sheikh , which ran for five years. She toured Singapore on an assignment with the Singapore Repertory Theatre Company, acting in Ingmar Bergman ’s adaptation of Ibsen ’sA Doll's House, which was directed by Rey Buono .

Pointing out the differences in all these media, she once remarked that theatre was really the actor’s medium; the stage was actor’s space; cinema was the director’s medium; and television was a writer’s medium.[citation needed]

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 Shabana Azmi's Personal life

It was Akhtar’s second marriage, the first being with Bollywood scriptwriter, Honey Irani . However Shabana's parents objected her to being involved with a very much married man with 2 childrenIndian actresses Farah Naaz and Tabu are her nieces. Shabana has no children of her own.

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 Shabana Azmi's Social Activism

Azmi receiving Padma Bhushan , India's third highest civilian honour from the President of India Pratibha Patil .

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.

A small film clip issued by the Government of India depicts an HIV positive child cuddled in her arms and saying: "She does not need your rejection, she needs your love". In a Bengali film namedMeghla Aakashshe played the role of a physician treating AIDS patients.

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 Shabana Azmi's Selected filmography

She has acted in more than one hundred Hindi films, both in the mainstream as well as in parallel cinema . Several of her films have received attention in the international arena, including at the Norwegian Film Institute, the Smithsonian Institution and the American Film Institute . She has appeared in a number of foreign films, most of which have won international acclaim, including John Schlesinger ’sMadame Sousatzka, Nicholas Klotz’sBengali Night, Roland Joffe ’sCity of Joy, Channel 4 ’sImmaculate Conception, Blake Edwards 'Son of the Pink Panther, and Ismail Merchant ’sIn Custody.

  • Ankur(1974) - Laxmi
  • Nishant(1976) - Sushila
  • Fakira(1976) Geeta / Neeta C I D Police Inspector
  • Shatranj Ke Khiladi(1977) - Khurshid
  • Amar Akbar Anthony(1977) - Laxmi
  • Junoon (1978) - Firdaus
  • Swami(1978) - Saudamini
  • Sparsh(1980) - Kavita
  • Arth(1982) - Mrs. Pooja Inder Malhotra
  • Masoom(1983) - Indu D. Malhotra
  • Mandi(1983) - Rukmini Bai
  • Shart(1986)- Kiran Dutt
  • The Bengali Night(1988) - Mrs. Sen
  • Madame Sousatzka(1988) - Sushila
  • City of Joy(1992) - Kamla Pal
  • In Custody(1993) - Imtiaz Begum
  • Son of the Pink Panther(1993) - Queen
  • Fire(1996) - Radha
  • Saaz(1997) - Bansidhar (Bansi) Vrundavan
  • Side Streets(1998) - Mrs. Chandra Bipin Raj
  • Earth(1998) - voice of older Lenny
  • Godmother(1999) - Rambhi
  • Makdee(2002) - Makdee
  • Tehzeeb(2003) - Rukhsana Jamal
  • Morning Raga(2004) - Swarnlatha
  • 15 Park Avenue(2005) - Anjali "Anju" Mathur
  • Waterborne(2005) - Heera Bhatti
  • Umrao Jaan(2006) - Khannum Jaan
  • Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.(2007) - Nahid
  • Loins of Punjab Presents(2007) - Rita Kapoor
  • Sorry Bhai!(2008) - Mother Gayatri
  • It's a Wonderful Afterlife(2010) - Mrs. Sethi
  • Kalpvriksh (Film)(2012) - Gypsy Woman
  • Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2012) - Chaudhari Devi
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist(2013)

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 Shabana Azmi's Awards and honors

National Awards[ edit ]

  • 1975 - National Film Award for Best Actress ,Ankur
  • 1983 - National Film Award for Best Actress ,Arth
  • 1984 - National Film Award for Best Actress ,Khandhar
  • 1985 - National Film Award for Best Actress ,Paar
  • 1999 - National Film Award for Best Actress ,Godmother

Filmfare Awards[ edit ]


  • 1978 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forSwami
  • 1984 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forArth
  • 1985 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forBhavna
  • 2006 - Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award


  • 1975 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forAnkur
  • 1981 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forThodisi Bewafaii
  • 1984 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forMasoom
  • 1984 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forAvtaar
  • 1984 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forMandi
  • 1985 - Filmfare Best Actress Award forSparsh
  • 2003 - Filmfare Best Villain Award forMakdee
  • 2004 - Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award forTehzeeb

International awards[ edit ]

  • 1993: Best Actress award forLibaasin North Korea
  • 1994: Best Actress award for Gautam Ghose ’sPatangat the Taormina Arte Festival in Italy
  • Fireat the Chicago International Film Festival
  • in L.A. Outfest

Other awards[ edit ]

  • Ankurin 1975,Paarin 1984,Ek Palin 1987, andGodmotherin 1999. She won the Best Supporting Actress (Hindi) award forTehzeebin 2003.
  • 1998: Star Screen Award Best Supporting Actress forMrityudand.
  • 2004: Zee Cine Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role- Female forTehzeeb.
  • 2005: Star Screen Awards - Best Performance in an Indian Film in English forMorning Raga

Honours and recognitions[ edit ]

  • 1988: Awarded the Padma Shri from the Government of India .
  • 1988: Yash Bhartiya Award by the Government of Uttar Pradesh for highlighting women’s issues in her work as an actress and activist.
  • 1994: Rajiv Gandhi Award for "Excellence of Secularism"
  • 2002: Martin Luther King Professorship award by the University of Michigan conferred on her in recognition of her contribution to arts, culture and society.

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 Shabana Azmi's Notes

  1. ^abPTI (22 July 2005). "Parallel cinema seeing changes: Azmi" .The Times of India. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  2. ^K., Bhumika (21 January 2006). "Shabana's soap opera" .The Hindu. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  3. ^Nagarajan, Saraswathy (18 December 2004). "Coffee break with Shabana Azmi" .The Hindu. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  4. ^abcdefgGulzar; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterjee, Saibal; Encyclopaedia Britannica (India) Pvt. Ltd. (2003).Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema. Popular Prakashan. p. 524. ISBN   978-81-7991-066-5 . 
  5. ^abEdward A. Gargan (17 January 1993). "In 'Bollywood,' Women Are Wronged or Revered" .New York Times. 
  6. ^Kaifi Azmi (28 May 1997). "Kaifi Azmi" .Outlook. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  7. ^Shabana Azmi (2 October 2010). "To Abba... with love" .Screen. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  8. ^"A conversation with actress and social activist Shabana Azmi" .Charlie Rose. 6 March 2006. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  9. ^"Indo-American Arts Council" . 
  10. ^"Interview With Shabana Azmi" . GlamSham. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  11. ^"Shabana Azmi" . Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  12. ^
  13. ^THE DYNAMIC DYNASTIES: What would the world of films be without them? Screen, September 22, 2000.
  14. ^Ali Peter John (8 December 2000). "Javed Akhtar: It’s not so easy" .Screen. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  15. ^
  16. ^abc"Biographies: A-F" . United Nations. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  17. ^"World population crosses 6 billion" .The Tribune. Tribune News Service. 1999-10-12. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  18. ^Rasheeda Bhagat (14 November 2001). "The Indian Muslims trial by fire" .The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  19. ^"Animated film to educate students on HIV" .The Times of India. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  20. ^38th Annual BFJA Awards
    50th Annual BFJA Awards
  21. ^"Archives 1999" . Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  22. ^Template:Cite
  23. ^"2006 Peace Award: Shabana Azmi" . Gandhi Foundation. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  24. ^Amit Roy (11 June 2007). "Amit degree in Gandhi hall" .The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  25. ^Template:Cite
  26. ^"WEF honours Amitabh with Crystal Award" .The Financial Express. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  27. ^"Padma Awards" . pib. January 27, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  28. ^"Shabana Azmi Javed Akhtar get UK fellowship" . 
  29. ^Template:Cite http://entertainment

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 Shabana Azmi's References

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