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Why Shabana Azmi rates Shyam Benegal as director No.1?

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SHABANA AZMI
SHABANA AZMI

September 18, marks the birthday of Shabana Azmi, arguably one of the finest actress of Indian cinema after the legends like Nargis, Meena Kumari and Nutan. Glamsham. Com wishes her many happy returns of the day and probes why Shabana Azmi rates Shyam Benegal as director No.1?

Though Shabana Azmi made her mark on national and international level with Art Cinema yet she was quite popular with Commercial Cinema too. Remember her hit commercial movies like AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, THODISI BEWAFAII, FAKIRA etc. However, despite working with an array of directors Shabana Azmi always rates Shyam Benegal as the best director of contemporary cinema. Wanna know the reason?

Well in an interview she confessed, ”Shyam is an actor’s director. He understands his actors just as a mother understands her children.” Explaining her point more clearly she gives an example of her debut movie ANKUR. She says, ”If you have seen the movie ANKUR than recollect the last but one scene where my husband comes to know that I am pregnant and have been physically exploited by the zamindar‘s son. The scene required me to cry emphatically hurling abuses at the zamindar‘s son for running my life.”

She continues, ”I knew the scene was the backbone of the movie hence I practiced a lot in advance to give my best but to my dismay when Shyam began the shoot I felt cold and just could not react! Despite retakes I could not react to Shyam’s expectation. That’s when Shyam took me aside and like a caring mother, who dotingly helps her child overcome his difficulties, Shyam helped me gain confidence. And that’s not all, to ignite vigor in my performance, Shyam started summarizing the entire story of Laxmi, the character I was playing in the movie and the exploitation meted out to her. Listening to Shyam’s narration suddenly I was peeped with the vitality that Shyam had been yearning and I projected exactly what Shyam had conceived. That’s the magic of a dynamic director. But tragically how many Shyam do we have in our country today.”

Shabana’s performance was highly applauded not only by the thinking audience bur also commercially as ANKUR celebrated Silver Jubilee (25 Week run in cinema halls).

Shabana Azmi also fetched the National Award for Best Actress in the movie.

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