Shabana Azmi: Every witch way she wills
What is it that has not yet been written about Shabana Azmi's enormous talent? The answer is that there isn't anything that this versatile actor hasn't achieved in terms of the range of screen roles.india Updated: Jan 15, 2003 15:35 IST
What is it that has not yet been written about Shabana Azmi's enormous talent? The answer is that there isn't anything that this versatile actor hasn't achieved in terms of the range of screen roles. Winning accolades therefore comes naturally to her. After having wowed every lover of good cinema, she has once again come up tops with another bravura performance in Vishal Bhardwaj's Makdee, a children's film in which she plays a witch.
Azmi has donned the weirdest of hair dos and some really outlandish wigs with several layers of paint for the desired tanned look of a witch. And according to Bhardwaj, "Only Shabana could have agreed to play such a de-glamourised role. Most other actresses would have shied away from painting their faces for that spooky look."
Incidentally, Bhardwaj had "only Shabana in mind" while scripting the film and had thought that it would take a lot of cajoling on his part for her to agree. In fact, he was quite taken aback when she gave her go-ahead instantly.
It isn't just Azmi's homework for any role which is exemplary. Her total and complete dedication to any character down to the last detail is what makes her stand out as an actress of considerable prowess. Whether she is the neglected wife Pooja in Mahesh Bhatt's Arth, or Jamini in Mrinal Sen's Khandar - a young woman who waits endlessly for a brighter future amid the ruins, or the brothel keeper in Shyam Benegal's Mandi or even as Rambhiben in Vinay Shukla's Godmother, the strong and ruthless woman harbouring political ambitions – Azmi has always added a new dimension to her characterisation.
Makdee is yet another feather in her cap, what with a scintillating and captivating act. It's not so much for her choice of roles that she is selected over a host of much younger actors as the 'Star of the Season', since at a time when scriptwriters are specially assigned jobs to do justice to her enormous talent, Azmi is indeed in an enviable position. But it is sheer magnetism that makes her approach to any role with a view to altering it into an absolute winner.
In short, Azmi gives it her all. And the difference between her and a lesser actor is only too obvious to ignore.
First Published: Jan 14, 2003 14:18 IST