National Film Award winning actress and one of the iconic figures of Indian Art house films movement, Shabana Azmi turned 62 on Tuesday.
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The veteran actress, who also was later nominated to the Rajya Sabha, hails from a family of creative personalities, her father being a poet and mother being a theatre personality.
Wishing the actress on her birthday, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur tweeted: “@AzmiShabana a very happy birthday , Shabana. Lots of love and may you continue to be amazing.”
Mostly known for acting in parallel cinema while holding equal sway in commercial movies, the actress is an alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India of Pune.
Shabana’s first release was Shyam Benegal’s directorial debut ANKUR, which earned her the National Film Award for Best Actress for her powerful performances in the role of Lakshmi.
She portrayed various kinds of roles in different films showing her versatility. In MANDI she acted as a madam of a brothel, in KHANDHAR she played the role of a woman named Jamini resigned to her destiny, in MASOOM she portrayed a typical urban Indian wife, homemaker and mother, in SATI she played a young Brahmin girl of a period setting.
Deepa Mehta’s film FIRE was an important mark in Azmi’s career, where she played the role of a young lonely woman Radha who is in love with her sister-in-law. Though the film was much criticized in India for on-screen depiction of lesbianism, Azmi’s role was praised by the critics and brought her international recognition.
Azmi worked with some noted directors including Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Gautam Ghose, Aparna Sen, Mahesh Bhatt, Vinay Shukla.
The actress holds the record of winning National Film Award for five times in the category of best actress. She received the National Film Award consecutively for three years from 1983 to 1985 for her roles in movies, ARTH, KHANDHAR and PAAR.
Azmi debuted on the small screen in a soap opera titled ANUPAMA. She had also participated in many stage plays.
Azmi has been actively involved in various philanthropic works. She has campaigned against ostracism of victims of AIDS. In a Bengali film named MEGHLA AAKASH she played the role of a physician treating AIDS patients.
Azmi married lyricist, poet and Bollywood scriptwriter Javed Akhtar in 1984.
Thanking her fans for their wishes Azmi posted in a micro blogging site: “So early in the morning and sooooo many birthday wishes already..thanku all from the bottom of my heart”