Shabana Azmi has a lot of admirers in the film industry. Vidya Balan, Sonam Kapoor are two of the contemporary actresses who openly gush over Shabana’s heroic virtuosity.But the one actress whom Shabana looks up to is Jaya Bachchan,nee Bhaduri.
On her Jaya’s 69th birthday on April 9, Shabana came forward to express her full –throated admiration for Jaya. “I want her to know that I am here, in this film industry, because of Mrs Jaya Bachchan.Years ago when I was unsure of where my life was heading , and acting was a major option, I wasn’t sure if someone with my unconventional looks could pull off a career in Hindi cinema. Then I saw Jayaji in a short diploma-film produced by the Film & Television Institute Of India called Suman directed by Madan Bavaria. It changed my life. It gave me a sense of direction.I realized I can be an actress. Heroine aisi bhi ho saktihai(heroines can be like Jaya in Suman).”
Today Shabana has her own cluster of actresses who idolize. “It’s heartening to hear VidyaBalan or Sonam Kapoor say they admire my work. I must have done something right.”
Sonam’s National Award fills Shabana with maternal pride. “Sonam is like my own bachcha. To see her growth as an artiste is a very fulfilling experience for me personally.The National award for Sonam is such a glorious validation of her talent. It just makes her so much more confident to do better work. I am very proud of her.”
Another young actress whose National award has impressed Shabana is Zaira Wasim. “When I saw Zaira in Dangal I was immediately impressed by her confidence. She played Aamir’s young daughter with such confidence. There is a scene where she tells her father why she beat up some boys in the village.And the way she raised her fist to express her anger while recounting the incident….she won me over.”
Shabana feels there is much to be proud of among the women of Indian cinema. “From JayaBhaduri toVidya, Sonam and Zaira, we’ve made quite a lot of headway.”