This week Shabana Azmi was in Chicago for the screening of her new international project Signature Move, about the relationship between a Muslim lesbian wrestler and her conservative Pakistani mother played by Shabana.
20 years earlier Shabana’s lesbian love-making with Nandita Das in Deepa Mehta’s Fire had wowed audiences at the same venue. Signature Move was premiered at the prestigious Music Box theatre on September 29.
Speaking from Chicago Shabana said, “The response was excellent. And my scenes were greeted with much laughter. Why I’m becoming a comic actor in my old age I don’t know! But my controversial Fire was screened at the same theatre 20 years ago, and a lot of the audiences were very nostalgic.”
Interestingly Shabana had played a lesbian in Fire while she plays a lesbian’s mother in Signature Move. “I play the mother of a girl who I discover is a lesbian and a Lucha Libre wrestler!! It’s terrific time to be an actor .We got a terrific response in Chicago.”
On September 30 Shabana was given the lifetime achievement award at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival. Says the hyper-active actress-activist, “There is a screening of my new film, Aparna Sen’s Sonata in Chicago. Then I am off to Toronto for a show of my play Broken Images on October 1. Then I deliver a lecture on Gandhi Jayanti at McGill University in Montreal on 2nd Oct on root issues of violence against women”
Full plate, huh? “It’s one life and so much to do. I’ll see you soon,” the amazing Azmi signs off.