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Loving that wicked energy

The ever youthful Shabana Azmi gets candid with Diganta Guha on multi-tasking, offbeat films and working with debutant directors.

entertainment Updated: Sep 25, 2007 15:28 IST

She is currently at the United Nations General Assembly lobbying to make poverty an emotive issue.

"Don't think of poverty in terms of cold statistics but as something happening - God forbid - to your own family says Shabana Azmi, ," whose most recent release was Manish Acharya's Loins of Punjab Presents.

You are doing so many things at the same time. Where does this energy come from?
I think the energy comes from just being interested in life and open to what life has to offer.

Any young person who works with you says that you are young at heart.
I am a high energy level person. I enjoy meeting young people. Farhan (Akhtar) and my kids help me understand how the young think and feel. And it is always invigorating to be with them. Yes, but people do feel a bit apprehensive because of the serious kind of image that I have.

But when they actually meet me, we develop very happy relationships. Whether it was Urmila Matondkar or Dia Mirza in Tehzeeb or Sandhya Mridul or Raima Sen in Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., I got along very well with them .

You have worked with Reema Kagti in Honeymoon.. and now with another debutant director, Manish Acharya, (of Loins of Punjab Presents) who is all praise for you..
Manish came to me through Ayesha Dharkar whom I like a lot, and have already worked with. So when Manish sent me the script, I found it very funny And it was on the basis of the script that I said yes. Then later when I met him I thought he was very bright. I have a sense of pride about young and first time directors, and I said yes purely on that basis.

<b1>What according to you is the USP of the film?
Reality is the USP of the film. I play a socialite, Rrita Kapoor, who wants to win a singing contest in New Jersey. Kapoor ostensibly wants to donate the prize money of $25,000 to charity, but employs uncharitable means to win it.

It is a slightly wicked part, and I enjoyed playing it very much. I think it has come at the right place, and right time. Because we just had a film like Bheja Fry, which was so successful. It is a multiplex film and has to be marketed properly so people actually see it.

There is no experimentation here..
No, it's not experimentation at all because it is a mainstream film. It has a sensibility which is very today. Manish's strength is that he loves both, international and Hindi films. He brings in that sensibility in a very tongue-in-cheek way.

You worked with Naseeruddin Shah after a long time in one of the short stories (Rohit Roy's Rice Plate) in Dus Kahaniyaan. How was that?
It is always a pleasure. I was interested, and very much so, because we were going to get together after such a long time. Soon we come together for an even longer film.

I have just done a film with Farhan Akhtar called Positive. It's about AIDS and produced by Mira Nair.