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Why Shabana Azmi stopped being 'rude'

June 10, 2022 16:04 IST

Ever wondered why Shabana Azmi is the way she is?

Shabana Azmi

IMAGE: Author and film critic Maithili Rao, acting legend Shabana Azmi and author Rinki Roy Bhattacharya. Photograph: Kind courtesy Om Books International/Instagram

It's a very special relationship, the one that exists between a mother and her child.

In fact, it wouldn't be wrong to call it the world's 'oldest love story'.

Which is why The Oldest Love Story: A Motherhood Anthology seemed, to its editors Rinki Roy Bhattacharya and Maithili Rao, the perfect title for their collection of memories by mothers on motherhood and children on their mothers.

One of the chapters in the book has been contributed by Shabana Azmi, who talks about her formidable mother -- the talented Shaukat Kaifi.

There is no doubt that the remarkable actress has an equally remarkable mother, who she says was "not one of these Nirupa Roy characters from Hindi films".

In fact, she could easily bring her daughter down a notch or two when needed.

Like the time Shabana became self-confessedly "rude" and her mother decided to do something about it.

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When Javed Akhtar and Shabana were getting married, he received a sage bit of advice from his aunty. And it involved Shaukat Kaifi, not Shabana Azmi.

Shabana also shares another lovely tale about her mother and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.


Every wondered why Shabana Azmi is the way she is? Here's a clue: "My mother taught me that identity must not be a melting pot in which individual identities are submerged."

And that's just one of the many things Shaukat Appa gifted her.


If Shabana provides the perspective of a daughter, senior journalist and contributor Deepa Gahlot takes on the unwanted societal judgement faced by the women who decide they don't want to be mothers.

"'Selfish'," she tells Om Books International's Editor-In-Chief Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, is one of the words thrown at them.

But, she adds, if mothers were honest, this is what some of them would say.


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