All of last week Shabana Azmi was on tenterhooks as her mother, the legendary Shaukat Kaifi was in the hospital's ICU with a respiratory ailment.
Shabana, who was shooting for Ram Madhvan's Neerja where she plays Sonam Kapoor's mother, rushed in and out of the studio and hospital, playing in her words, "mum to Sonam and mum to my own mum."
Fortunately, Shabana's mom is out of danger now, just in time for Shabana to fly off to Cambodia for a summit. Says the relieved daughter, "Old age is truly a second childhood. Unnoticed my mother became my child but she continues to give me strength when I'm feeling weak."
Dividing time between shooting and mothering her mom was not easy for Shabana. "Each time I left her in the hospital her face would fall like a child but then I'd say, "I have a very difficult scene, Mummy .You must wish me luck." And she would immediately lift her hands up in prayer and say "Allah kare meri beti ka kaam bahut achcha ho." Then the minute I'd get back her first question would be "Scene achcha hua? Maine bahut duayein maangi." And then instead of complaining about her pain she would recite poetry and sing Hyderabadi songs!"
Shaukatji won over the entire hospital. Says the protective daughter fondly, "She was quite the darling of all the nurses. And for some strange reason was only speaking in her broken English. They don't make them like her anymore. I've been inundated by loving messages and offers to be by her side. She is much loved... Mashallah".
Shabana hates being away from her mom at this time. "I've come to Cambodia for Action aid General Assembly meeting. But my heart is with her. My relationship with Abba (father Kaifi Azmi) is much celebrated. But Mummy has also taught me a lot not by sermonizing but by setting an example. She's my life's breath."
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