Juhi Babbar has been awarded the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Rashtriya Puraskar for her contribution to Indian arts and theatre with the youth. This category of the Sangeet Natak Akademi National Awards is for those under 35 years of age. Juhi, whose mother, Nadira Babbar bagged the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2001, is ecstatic: “Earlier, you had to wait for years to be even considered. This new category is a real boost for young people. And what can be better than being honoured for your passion!”
Mom’s the guru
The news was conveyed to her by her mother, who is also her theatre guru. It was with her Ekjute Group that Juhi started her stage career in 1999, with the mandatory workshops and small roles that developed over time. “My mom is flying but my happiness will be complete only when she gets the Padmashri and my other guru, Bhanu Athaiya, who taught me fashion designing in NIFT, bags the Padma Bhushan,” she asserts, delighted that the award recognises her work on stage and also her backstage contribution as costume designer for 35 plays.
No mediocre projects
Juhi will we presented the award by President Pratibha Patil on August 10. “I’ve still to decide what to wear, it will be something traditional. My parents (Raj and Nadira) will be there but my brother, Arya, is leaving on a shoot on the 9th and feels terrible about it,” she laughs.
Juhi was last seen in NDTV’s Ghar Ki Baat Hai produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies, and says that she gets two TV offers every day, but finds it hard to block 30 days at a time. “For me, acting is a passion. Since I don’t have to work for money or fame, I can afford to be choosy,” she says, pointing out that she quit movies because she didn’t want to accept mediocre projects. “I found my space in theatre and am happy with my plays and workshops in schools and colleges. Theatre for me is both entertainment and education. I’m looking forward to next April when Ekjute completes 30 years and we will be hosting an all arts festival with artistes from theatre, music and dance,” she says.