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Shabana Azmi to play a corrupt politician

Shabana Azmi insists her next character is not modelled on anyone, happy to reunite with Vishal Bhardwaj after a decade, is also looking forward to working with Nasseruddin Shah and Om Puri again.
Hindustan Times | By Roshmila Bhattacharya, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2012 04:32 PM IST

A decade after Makdee (2002), in which she played the village witch, Shabana Azmi returns to make another movie with director Vishal Bhardwaj. Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola features Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma in the lead, with Shabana playing a significant role of a corrupt politician. The film will be shot in the interiors of Haryana but Shabana is quick to assert that her character is not inspired and will not have any distinctive mannerisms or identifiable traits culled from any of our living ‘netas’ (politicians).

"Recently I posted a picture on Twitter wondering if I looked like a corrupt politician and I was flooded with reactions pointing to resemblances that were not intended. This is a completely fictitious character and totally unpredictable, with many different shades to her. Given people’s expectations and the inevitable speculations, it was a conscious decision to ensure that she was no one’s lookalike. I’ve been really busy with Abba’s 90th birth anniversary celebrations and haven’t had the time to start shaping the character yet. But I’m looking forward to the task," she says.

The internationally acclaimed actor who has just been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan had played a politician earlier in Vinay Shukla’s Godmother (1999). Rambhiben, who ostensibly had her muse in Santokben Jadeja, was an illiterate village woman who avenges her husband’s death, contests the elections, gets voted into office and then uses the power to get even with her enemies till a epiphany strikes and she decides to redeem herself. It fetched Shabana her fifth National Award.

She’s looking forward to working with Vishal again. “We’ve had a few readings and I can see that he’s really grown as a filmmaker since Makdee,” she points out. “The film also reunites me with Naseer (Naseeruddin Shah). There was a time when I was working with either Naseer or Om (Om Puri). But lately, we haven’t done too much work together or even caught up with each other as friends. Om and I had lots to talk about when we were shooting for Mira Nair’s The Fundamentalist last year. And now Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola will give me a chance to interact with Naseer again.”

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