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Shaukat Kaifi is my mother, my child and my friend: Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi with Shaukat Kaifi
Shabana Azmi with Shaukat Kaifi
At 87 Mashallah, Shaukat Kaifi is my mother, my child and my friend.Warm compassionate generous to a fault. But brutally frank. Her memory is failing. But she remembers lines from a play that she did at age 10! She continues to be a fabulous hostess. Her love for sarees has only increased with time.

Shabana Azmi with Shaukat Kaifi

When (nobel laureate)Amartya Sen wrote a glowing review of her memoirs Kaifi & I  she bought 16 sarees for herself at one go. When I gasped that I had never done that in my life pat came her answer, ‘Well, Amartya Sen has never praised you during your life so far.’ My mom is a riot! On Mother’s Day I thank her with all my heart.  By the way, I honestly think she would rather have me gift her a saree than speak so sentimentally about her!!”….As for the Cine-Maa…..The mother in Hindi cinema has always been an avtar of Mother India-strong , principled, the chief custodian of the errant son’s morality.  Given to sacrifice and hardship, she battles all odds to bring up her children .
Today she is changing whilst essentially retaining the core values. Dolly Ahluwalia in Vicky Donor drinks along with her mother – in- law whilst an indulgent son says ” she works so hard a drink relaxes her.” She runs a beauty parlour, has a short temper , screams at her son but has a heart of gold and after initial resistance supports her son in his decisions.
Kajol in My name is Khan is a working mother far removed from the coughing hapless Leela Chitnis. Waheeda Rehman in Trishul is a revolutionary mother who challenges her son to seek revenge for his desertion ‘nahi to main doodh maaf nahi karoongi’ Salim Javed’s mother was always central to the story line- particularly in Deewar.
Since my first film Ankur, I have been claiming ‘yeh bachcha mera hai’ as the raison d’etre for keeping the child from an illicit relationship.Genesis, Mrityudand, Ek Pal.

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Raakhee Gulzar

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