July 19, 2007

An intimate interview

Thanks so much to SLP reader fadista da mouraria who sent me a rich collection of interviews and articles about Shabana Azmi. Some of them I have seen before, but others are new to me, and they will provide material here for weeks to come.

Today I begin with a set of reminscences so intimate that it made my eyes moist. In this 2004 interview, Shabana ji ventures into some intensely personal topics. The interview begins with some anecdotes from childhood that I've heard before, but then turns to subjects that had for me previously only been matters of speculation. I feel grateful to Shabana ji for offering this window into aspects of her life that are none of my business and yet irresistably fascinating to me.

There's some fun stuff in there too. This made me smile and smile:

I had a crush on Shashi Kapoor: Shashi and Jennifer were family friends. Prithviraj Kapoor lived next door to my parents' house and, every Sunday, when Shashi visited his father, I would buy a Re-1 photo of Shashi and get him to sign it. When I was selected to act with him in Fakira, I panicked — he was my big hero!

Well, one could do worse than have a crush on the beautiful Shashi Kapoor. I wrote here about Fakira just the other day. In it Shabana ji's character Neeta or Geeta (depending upon when you ask her) is a police inspector who plans to catch the vigilante bandit Fakira, played by Shashi, by going undercover and pretending to fall in love with him; it turns out she can't control her emotions as well as she hoped. It must have been a fun and overwhelming role for Shabana ji to play, at just 24 or 25 years old, a romantic lead opposite her childhood hero.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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