One of the leading lights of the now-largely-defunct Indian New Wave, Shabana Azmi (alongside the late Smita Patil) was one of the main female actors who dominated the films of the so-called "Parallel Cinema" in India in the 1970s and 1980s. Born to noted Urdu progressive poet and lyricist Kaifi Azmi and theatre actress Shaukat Azmi, Shabana has acted in films by virtually all of India's most famous art-house directors including Shyam Benegal, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen and others, as well as in commercial and middle-of-the-road Hindi films, where she has essayed several strong female characters (e.g., in Death Sentence (1997) and Godmother (1999)). Shabana Azmi was paired opposite Rajesh Khanna in 7 successful films.She is noted for her naturalness and intensity on-screen, matched by her fierce advocacy of the rights of women, minorities and slum-dwellers off-screen, both through activism and in her role as a Member of Parliament, where her consistent stand in defense of liberal values and the freedom of expression is noteworthy. She has also acted on stage to considerable acclaim, most notably in Tumhari Amrita with Farookh Sheikh. She is married to noted scriptwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar.
One of India's most respected actresses, working in commercial and art house films alike.
Daughter of Kaifi Azmi and Shaukat Azmi.
Had a seven year long relationship with Shekhar Kapur.
Considered to be the best Indian actress of her generation together with Smita Patil.
She is a huge supporter of Benazir Bhutto.
Sister of Baba Azmi.
Rajesh Khanna-Shabana Azmi were paired romantically in 7 films and 6 were blockbusters and 1 was an average grosser at box office.
Had successful on-screen chemistry with Rajesh Khanna and had 7 super-hit films.
Aunt to Bollywood actor Kamran Rizvi.
I find it very frightening to be called an icon. To be institutionalised.
The trick of enjoying life is to accept your age. Don't fight the years, grow with them.
To speak in Parliament you really need to do your homework, otherwise you can be torn to shreds.
You cannot be detached from what you portray. I think it is inevitable that the roles you play affect you. The residue is bound to remain, even after you've played the role.
I'm not averse to doing anything as long as it's not at cross purposes with my values and I can make time for it.
I had become a fan of Rajesh Khanna even before I got into films. I was very happy to be cast opposite him in 7 successful films. I never dreamed of getting chance to act opposite such a good looking versatile hero.Khanna had a great understanding of the script and characters and on-screen he had the acumen to know exactly where Khanna the star ended and the character began which explained the brilliance of his turns in each film he did with me, Sharmila, Smita, Hema, Asha Parekhji, Zeenat, Padmini and others.
My personal favorite actor is Rajesh Khanna.I have utmost respect for him.He is the real Superstar and is among my favorite co-stars.He had an amazing blend of super-star distancing, moods, eccentricities and attitude with total groundedness, accessibility and warmth. He never got irritated with fan mobbing or hysteria. He was very affectionate with all of them and that worked superbly for him.
(January 2006) Shabana Azmi is currently in the UK filming the lead role in Banglatown Banquet (2006) (TV) for the BBC written by Tanika Gupta, directed by 'Hettie Macdonald' and produced by 'Sam Hill'. Executive producers are Will Trotter, 'Sally Woodward' and Tessa Finch.