Q&A WITH SHABANA AZMI
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
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.