Today, Shabana Azmi turns 60. She brought in her birthday last night after the premiere of her play,
, that wrapped up a three-day conference on women’s issues and rights in the Capital.
“I started my career with
that also touched on a woman’s issue. Now 36 years later, I’ve featured in a play that is a collation of powerful voices of women who have struggled against all odds to reach leadership positions. It’s a happy coincidence!” she exults, confident that her co-artistes, Urmila Matondkar, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Tanvi Azmi, Jayanti Bhatia, Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal and Mahira Kakkar who raised a toast to her last night, will remain her friends even after this journey ends.
Does she feel 60? “I do, and I wouldn’t want to be 30 or 40. Life must be marked by changes and my view of relationships and the world today is that of a mature, mellow mind,” she says.
Her older brother died a week before his first birthday and her mother, Shaukat Kaifi, was superstitious about celebrating younger brother, Baba, or her birthdays. “But I had a big bash when I turned 50, it was like a three-day wedding,” she laughs, as she prepares for the party tonight that her family and friends have arranged.
Azmi’s next goal is to learn how to cook. Her mother, sister-in-law, Tanvi, and friends are all proficient in the kitchen, but the actor admits that even if she were to stand near a pot, she’d burn what was simmering inside to cinders.
“When we were shooting for
, I’d drive Deepa Mehta insane with my neurosis about everything being perfectly perfect in my kitchen. She would tell me that it was because I couldn’t cook that I was so paranoid,” Azmi reminisces.
All these years she’s been collecting recipes, but now that she’s got herself a new house in Khandala with a huge kitchen, Azmi’s determined to cook those delicious ‘kebabs’ and ‘biryani’ she grew up savouring. She says, “So far, only my father, Kaifi Azmi, has ever dared to eat anything I’ve made. But I’m going to change that.”