April 24, 2012

Shabana ji on the nature of classiness

Ican’t call myself classy, it’s for other people to say that. I can only say that this is what I have seen, this is what I have imbibed, and this is how I am. 
 -- Shabana Azmi

This from an article in Forbes India online, where Shabana ji talks about what makes her - and some of the characters she has played - so gosh darn classy.   She goes on to say:
[Class] has to do with dignity, subtlety, with a layered subtext where much more is expressed because it is hidden. It’s got very little to with wealth and money, and much more to do with an attitude that comes from being comfortable in your own skin.
I have to agree with that, and it's part of why women often seem to get classier with age - comfort in one's own skin often goes hand in hand with maturity.

I am not sure I can agree completely with Shabana ji about this part, though:
But it’s when you’re not doing it for public consumption that counts. Like eating. When I’m by myself and nobody’s watching, do I gobble up my food? Do I eat it elegantly? Do I behave in the same way when there are people for whom I want to put my best foot forward?
I just don't think the table manners I use when I am alone are a particularly relevant measure of my quality as a person.  I'd rather expend energy worrying about how I treat others than about whether I'm a bit of a slob in my pajamas alone at the kitchen table.  Put another way, I only have so much energy to expend on self-improvement, and I don't see anything wrong with conserving that energy for behaviors that actually have a measurable effect on others. 

That quibble aside, there is no doubt that Shabana Azmi does know something about class. 

Have a look at the article - both the mesmerizing pictures I have included here (Shabana ji with Javed sahib, above, and Kaifi sahib, below) are from it. 

April 15, 2012

Internet stalkers beware

Shabana Azmi arms herself against internet stalkers who maintain fan websites in her honor.

It's the sheer delight on her face that really makes me a little nervous here!

This picture is apparently from an art exhibit opening in Mumbai - the TOI piece it came from doesn't provide a whole lot of context.

ETA:  It is an exhibition of "furniture art" promoting the Uttara & Adwait furniture collection.  I found some more excellent pictures here.

April 13, 2012

Shabana-gaana! "Rang Birange Nazaare"

This week's Shabana-gaana is from Atithee (1978), a movie I have not seen.


"Rang birange nazaare" is a nice enough duet, though I have to admit that Shabana ji's performance in the song is fairly generic and uninspired.  Songs like this really don't play to her strengths, even this early in her career when she frequently played the masala heroine.  She did better hamming it up in the funny songs in Parvarish.  

The real question this video raises is:  Why did the costume designer helmet Shashi with such a terrible wig, when he has such gorgeous natural curls?

April 9, 2012

Multi-starrer in the works?

News like this is always tenuous - a lot can happen when a movie is still in the early planning stages, and this one may never come to be (or may come to be without Shabana ji).  That said, IBN reports that Nikhil Advani is planning a multi-star masala flick whose cast includes Shabana Azmi, Madhuri Dixit, Dimple Kapadia, Karisma Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Deepika Padukone, and Genelia D'Souza. 

The first three on that list have long been my dream cast for some movie - any movie, really - and for them alone I am excited by this news.  But, who knows how many of these are signed - they could just be the actors Advani has in mind as he works on the script.  

Advani claims it's not a "women-centric" film (I am really starting to despise that term, and if I can organize my thoughts as to why I'll publish something about it on Filmi Geek one of these days).  He says there are just as many male stars, but the article doesn't include any hint of who they might be. 

Stay tuned ...

April 8, 2012

Garam Dharm and Garam Shabana

A friend in Calcutta sent this beautiful photograph that was in the Telegraph a few days ago, of Shabana Azmi and Dharmendra at the reception where they were honored with the Padma Bhushan. Don't they both look wonderful?

April 6, 2012

Stills from Midnight's Children

Salman Rushdie has posted stills from Deepa Mehta's upcoming adaptation of his book Midnight's Children to an album on Facebook.

Looking great!  I'm pleased at the thought of Shabana ji working with Deepa Mehta again ... cautiously optimistic about this one.

April 5, 2012

What I would give to have been a fly on the wall ...

... when Shabana met Gloria.

I bet that when Shabana Azmi had a chance to sit down and talk with her hero, Gloria Steinem, earlier this week, she wasn't bashful and tongue-tied the way I was back when I met Shabana ji.  Just saying.  

The gorgeous picture is courtesy of Shabana ji herself, via Twitter.   Follow her if you don't already - she single-handedly made this blog obsolete.  Oh, and pease follow me, too. 

April 4, 2012

Shabana Azmi awarded Padma Bhushan

Warmest congratulations to Shabana Azmi, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India today. This decoration is India's third-highest civilian honor, awarded to recognize distinguished service to the nation. It is given in recognition of work in the arts, social work, sciences, and many other fields.

Along with Shabana ji, Dharmendra, Mira Nair, and many others also received the honor this year.

The Padma Bhushan will join the Padma Shree on Shabana ji's mantle - that award is India's fourth-highest civilian honor, which she was given in 1988.

Read more about the award and the award ceremony here.

April 2, 2012

Twitter makes my day again

Just thought I'd share this delight with you: