For Vinay Shukla’s Godmother, released on September 3, 1999, Shabana Azmi won a richly deserved National Award for Best Actress, which was her fifth, making her the single actor with the maximum number of National Awards to her credit.
24 years of Godmother EXCLUSIVE: “Javed Akhtar and I winning National Awards for same film made it all the more special,” said Shabana Azmi
Speaking exclusively on the film Shabana said, “Godmother is a gift that my dear friend director Vinay Shukla gave me. Rambhi ben is such a well-etched character that I thoroughly enjoyed the process of inhabiting her world.”
The experience was made infinitely more memorable by an unerring team. Recalled Shabana, “The clothes by the director’s wife Mandira Shukla, who won a National Award for her work, helped tremendously. Vinay is a lefty and asked me to use my left hand just to inject some newness.”
So, there she was playing a dreaded lefthanded gangster-politician. Recalled Shabana, “I became obsessed with the idea of having a broad kada on my left hand, almost like an armour and Mandira Shukla found me the perfect one. My body language evolved organically. In the beginning when the role of the heiress of an illicit empire is thrust upon me after my husband (Milind Gunaji)’s death, it was an imitation of his body language in an attempt to look powerful.”
After she settles down on the thorny throne her body language changes. “When Rambhi tastes success in her own right, the body language becomes far more languid and self-assured. Vinay had given me a very important note that the reality of Godmother was a constructed reality like that of Gunga Jamuna, not the reality of Manthan. Even the spoken language is a construct,” she said.
Shabana is rightly proud of the film. “I think Godmother is a pioneer in the kind of films we are seeing today, where the format is mainstream, but the content is played out in a realistic way. We won seven National Film Awards for it. National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, National Film Award for Best Music Direction Vishal Bhardwaj, National Film Award for Best Editing Renu Saluja, National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer Sanjeev Abhyankar, National Film Award for Best Costumes Mandira Shukla, National Film Award for Best Lyrics Javed Akhtar, and my fifth National award for Best Actress. That Javed and I won National Awards for the same film made it all the more special,” she said.
More Pages: Godmother Box Office Collection
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