Shabana Azmi and awards have almost become synonymous. So it comes as no surprise that her new film, Loins Of Punjab Presents, has won the best feature film honour at the 2007 First Run Festival in New York.
This unique festival held from April 11-16 honoured 120 first films by directors from all over the world.
Says Shabana, "Loins Of Punjab Presents is a really wacky film about a beauty contest. The director, Manish Acharya, is in New York to receive the award.
"Though I did a wacky film recently, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, I've never done anything as crazy as Loins Of Punjab Presents... It's quite a delightful film. I play this wicked socialite Rrita Kapoor (don't miss the two rrs). Trust me, Manish has talent in the same measure as Farhan Akhtar."
For those who were wondering about Shabana's chic new short-haired look at the Filmfare awards last year, she had cut her hair to a very stylish size for her part in The Loins.."I have a delightful part in the film. I play this flighty socialite," she chuckles. It's a comedy.
"Manish is a New York University graduate. He can talk for hours about global cinema and knows every Amitabh Bachchan-starrer and every Javed Akhtar dialogue by heart."
Shabana has seldom been so excited about a director. "Manish is an insanely talented filmmaker. Would you believe, he was a hotshot executive in an American company and was offered obscene amounts of money to join an Indian company. But he told his wife, "If I continue doing this, I'll never have the courage to make a film. She's a very good painter. She agreed to support him while he went away to NYU and performed very well there."
The Loins Of Punjab fell into Shabana's lap suddenly. "Manish approached me out of the blue through Ayesha Dharker. I really enjoyed this film."