Shabana Azmi‘s 60th birthday party today (September 18) at a lounge named Trilogy has for its invitees a motley mix of friends, family and selected colleagues from the film industry.
“Not like Javed (Akhtar)’s 60th birthday party which was as lavish and large as a wedding reception,” laughs Shabana heartily. “But a motley group of invitees from film, theatre and my political activities. I was doing a performance of my new play Seven in Delhi till late in the night on Friday. So all the arrangements for the party were done by my gal pals, Parna (best friend for decades) and Shahana (Goswami) and my sister-in-law Tanvi.”
It seems rather unbelievable that the timeless Shabana Azmi has actually turned 60. The matter of age makes her amused. “I can’t understand why being 60 should be such an issue. I am asked in the interviews, ‘Kaisa lag raha hai?’ What is one supposed to feel? I am very proud to have arrived at this place. Do I feel 60? I don’t know. Because I don’t know how other 60-year olds feel. I am just happy and not time-bound in my pursuit of new challenges.”
Shabana brought on her birthday with her friends in Delhi. “We wrapped up the play in the evening and then I was with my friends in Delhi to bring in my birthday. Then I flew into Mumbai for my party in Mumbai for my party. So it’s been almost a non-stop celebration for me.”
The play Seven that she performed in Delhi to bring in her birthday is one more attempt to bring her personal convictions on a public platform. Says Shabana, “Someone pointed out something interesting to me. I was shooting for Shyam Benegal‘s Ankur during my birthday many years ago. Now I was performing a play with a strong feminist message on this birthday. It’s an interesting summation of my journey as an actress and a woman.”
Shabana is toying with the idea of writing an autobiography. “Many friends and well-wishers think I should. They see something in my life that could be useful to others. Let’s see.”
Her mantra for such luminous longevity? “I guess it’s my refusal to conform. I don’t see why I have to wear the colours that are politically correct. Who says saffron is identified with one religion and green with another? I’ll wear both colours together. And let me see who can stop me.”