Made 31 years ago, Shabana Azmi’s Libaas is fi­nally set to re­lease, but the ever-rel­e­vant ac­tor isn’t one to rest on past lau­rels. She has also re­cently been signed up for the TV se­ries Halo, Steven Spielberg’s next

India Today - - CONTENTS - —with Divya Unny

Q. Libaas is fi­nally be­ing read­ied for re­lease, 31 years af­ter it was made. What was your ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with Gulzar as a di­rec­tor for the first time?

Gulzar saab in­dulges his ac­tors and makes them feel very loved. His di­a­logues are taken straight from life, so they roll eas­ier on the tongue. I en­joyed work­ing with him a lot.

Q. The film is about adul­tery and it was made at a time when very few film­mak­ers were broach­ing such an is­sue. How was it for you?

Sub­jects in a film are al­most al­ways drawn from life. For me, be it Arth or Libaas or Ma­soom, there has al­ways been space to break stereo­types or social con­structs and per­form be­yond the norm. It happened all through my ca­reer and I am happy it did.

Q. How im­por­tant is ac­tivism in our trou­bled times? Do you think ac­tors should be more vo­cal?

An ac­tor’s re­source base must be life it­self. If you stay co­cooned in your own safety net, you can­not grow as an ac­tor. You need to be so­cially en­gaged and in­vested to hone your skills. But, ev­ery­body has a right to make their own choices. I am a prod­uct of my up­bring­ing—my par­ents be­lieved art to be an in­stru­ment of social change.

Q. How are you pre­par­ing for the role of a naval chief in Spielberg’s show Halo…

I find it amus­ing that ev­ery time I was asked when I will work with Zoya or Farhan, I was quoted as say­ing,

‘It will be eas­ier to con­vince Steven Spielberg to cast me rather than my own children.’ That has come true. I can’t di­vulge much, but it’s about AI and in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics 200 years from now. He’s a genius, so, I’m cer­tain it’s go­ing to be a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence.

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