At a time when Islamophobia is at a peak, what with several barbaric terror attacks in various parts of the world being claimed responsibility by Islamic extremist groups, Shabana Azmi has dared to play the distraught mother of a young Pakistani man accused of and incarcerated for terrorism in Britain in the BBC One series Capital.
It's a feisty role. And Shabana has a terrific time sinking her teeth into the meaty part of a Pakistani matriarch trying to hold her family together in London in a climate of rapidly growing distrust hostility and violence.
I saw an episode where Shabana playing the Pakistani matriarch with her family convinces a human-rights lawyer to take up her son's case. Shabana is completely in-control of the situation in the plot and she speaks her lines without any accent.
Says Shabana, "Capital is based on journalist-author John Lanchester's book of the same title. London is chronicled through the residents' of a single street named Pepys Road."
Set on a single street in South London, Capital, Peter Bowker's adaptation of John Lanchester's critically acclaimed and bestselling novel Capital, and produced by Kudos for BBC One.
Says Shabana, "I had no idea that Kudos is one of the biggest production houses in UK or that the star line-up is so spectacular! I don't think any of them except the producer Matt and director Euros Lynn know anything about me either!"
About her role Shabana enthuses, "The Asian family is central to the plot. I play a feisty Pakistani mother whose son is locked up for terrorist activities. She fights back gets a human rights lawyer and is totally unafraid. She's funny, domineering, but with a warm heart. Nice part and I enjoyed the work."
Shabana comes away with fond memories of young actress Mona Goodwin who plays her daughter-in-law.
"We bonded well and have kept in touch after the shooting," says Shabana warmly.
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