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Shabana gets Gandhi Peace Prize

The award, to be given at the House of Lords in London on Oct 26, is in honour of her work for the slum dwellers.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2006 12:45 IST

Veteran actress Shabana Azmi has added one more feather to her crowded cap by bagging this year's International Gandhi Peace Prize.

The prize has earlier gone to the likes of Nelson Mandela and Coretta Scott Young.

"I'm quite honoured," Shabana said from Jaipur. "I believe they had me in mind for this award for some time in recognition of my work with slum dwellers."

Shabana will attend the ceremony in London with husband Javed Akhtar.

"It will be given to me at the House of Lords in London on Oct 26. And I won't have Javed miss this moment in my life for the world," said Shabana.

Apart from social work, Shabana is giving equal attention to her acting career and has three films lined up before the end of the year.

"There's Reema Kagti's 'Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd' and Manish Acharya's 'The Contest'. Both by new directors, both in a lighter vein and great fun to do."

The actress is all praise for Acharya.

"He's a walking talking encyclopaedia on Hindi cinema. I rate him as high as Farhan Akhtar."

But the first Shabana starrer to hit the screen will be JP Dutta's "Umrao Jaan" where she plays Aishwarya 'Umrao' Rai's mother.

What excites Shabana is the historical significance of the part. "My mother has played Umrao's mother in Muzaffar Ali's film. And now I'm playing Umrao's mom in JP's film. Isn't that neat?"

Neater still is the fact that mom Shaukat and daughter Shabana went shopping for Shabana's costumes in "Umrao Jaan".

"Since my mom and I have a fair knowledge of fabrics and clothes, we had great fun dressing up my character."

Shabana feels "Umrao Jaan" will dispel Dutta's image of a men's director.

"JP was in despair, surrounded as he was by women on the sets all the time. But you know what? They'll stop calling him a men's director and start calling him a women's director after 'Umrao Jaan'."