While we wait for this interview to begin, we can hear Shabana Azmi humming a familiar tune. “My father was very keen that I sing,” she says, having noticed that we are listening intently. “He used to like my voice a lot. But I was very involved in acting. I did sing for one movie… it was called Anjuman (1986). I found it (singing) very difficult. That’s when I told myself that, henceforth, I will sing in the bathroom, but I will never record a song,” says Azmi, before laughing.
Ahead of an annual women’s empowerment fashion event that is hosted by an NGO founded by her father, late Kaifi Azmi, we speak to the actor about turning 65 and juggling many hats.
You will turn 65 in September this year. For you, what does age stand for?
One needs to embrace age in all its stages. When you are young, you want to grow older. When you are old, you want to be younger… it makes no sense. The world today is a much broader experience. There are so many things available to do today. In my grandmother’s generation, someone who was 45 was considered senior and was made to think about retirement. But I think, now, 60 is the new 40.
Even after so many years, you continue to act in films and on the stage; you are also involved in several charities and social work. Does wearing so many hats ever get difficult?
My interests are varied, so I have to make time for different things. I don’t see myself as someone who can only walk on one path. I have to have different things going on, and in that madness, I somehow manage.
We have heard that a creation from your NGO will be displayed at the Delhi airport. Is this true?
People only get to see the fashion show that our NGO organises, but they don’t realise how much hard work goes into it. Yes, an art installation by the girls is going to be put up at the Delhi international airport. This will be the third installation to be put there, after the likes of Ritu Kumar and Manish Arora (fashion designers) have had theirs showcased.