Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar were to fly to Kuala Lampur on Wednesday to be felicitated by the Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak as Asia’s power couple for exemplary contribution to the field of art and entertainment.
However Shabana landed in Kuala Lampur solo. “Javed is down with a viral fever. So I had to make it here on my own,” Shabana explained after receiving the award on behalf of the couple.
No stranger to global honour and recognition, Shabana describes the Malaysian experience as unforgettable. “The ceremony where the Malaysian PM gave me the award on behalf of Javed and I was memorable. But even better was the closed-door dinner with the Malaysian PM. It was attended by only eight people.”
Shabana and the Malaysian PM exchanged notes on Bollywood. She was thrilled to know he was aware that her son Farhan Akhtar’s Don was shot in Langkawi in Malaysia.
Otherwise Najib Razak has seen only two Hindi films.
Guess which ones? “Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Rajamouli’s Baahubali. That’s all. No, he hadn’t seen any of my films, not even Arth. Never mind. He was articulate, well-read and very interesting,” Shabana laughed as she flew out of Kuala Lampur to Sydney for the 7th Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards where she is part of jury headed by Russell Crowe.
In fact Crowe and Azmi have become friends over the months leading to the Awards.