Shabana Azmi On Supporting the LGBTQ Cinema

One of  the most committed actors of all times  Shabana Azmi firmly believes  in  LGBTQ rights.  Years  ago when the movement  was  in its infancy in 1996,  Shabana  dared to play a lesbian role in Deepa  Mehta’s Fire.

“Now  23 years  later  I’ve moved on,” says  Shabana, “In  Sheesh Qorma I  play the mother of  a daughter , played by Divya Dutta, in a same-sex marriage. Many years after  the  marriage Divya’s character returns with her  partner(played  by Swara Bhaskara) to  win her mother’s approval  of  the match.It is a fabulous role and a great concept. When the  director  Faraz Arif Ansari came to me with the offer  I was moved to tears.  It is such a simple emotional story about acceptance.”

This  is not the first time that Shabana plays a mother coming to terms with her daughter’s sexuality. In FawziaMirza’a Signature Move Shabana was cast as  the mother  of a Pakistani lesbian in America who must reconcile her  orthodox  upbringing and beliefs with her  daughter’s sexual  preference.

 Says  Shabana, “It is  very important for actors to do films that open up dark spaces  in  our society.Playing safe  is  not always a desirable thing to do. One has  to  step out  of  the comfort zone and explore  subjects that  may seem uncomfortable but  nonetheless must be  addressed.”

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