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'I am gutted to miss Diwali back home'

By SUBHASH K JHA
October 24, 2022 10:45 IST
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IMAGE: Shabana Azmi in Budapest. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shabana Azmi/Instagram

Shabana Azmi is, in her words, "gutted" to miss Diwali again in Mumbai.

"I'm in Budapest shooting for Steven Spielberg's HALO Season Two. I am gutted to miss two Diwalis in a row back home," she tells Subhash K Jha.

Diwali and Eid have always been celebrated at the Azmis without equal enthusiasm.

"Diwali is such a happy festival that we have celebrated over the years, a tradition started by my father (legendary poet Kaifi Azmi) since we were kids. I love the lighting of diyass, the marigold flowers and the dressing up."

 

IMAGE: Shabana takes us to a throwback Diwali at her parents's home at Janki Kutir in Juhu. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shabana Azmi/Instagram

The key to deriving optimum joy from the festive occasion is to do everything yourself.

"We do all the arrangements for the Diwali get-together ourselves, without any event managers stepping in to show us what we should do," she continues. "It's family time, so the right thing to do it is to spotlight the personal touch. My cousins used to come in from Hyderabad. Now their kids come and the tradition continues."

So is it always a big Diwali for Shabana and Javed?

"Sometimes it's a big bash, sometimes just family and close friends. Cards are played at very low stakes, but the shouting when somebody gets trumps can bring the roof down!"

Shabana warns against the use of firecrackers: "There is a growing awareness in society that firecrackers lead to pollution and children themselves are rallying against them, which is a good thing."

"There is an NGO that makes crackers that turn into flowers. Those are the ones we should light. It is very important that we take utmost care in minimising pollution and celebrate festivals in a sustainable manner."

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SUBHASH K JHA