The lighter side of Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi is noted for her serious roles and for the strong characters she played in Art Cinema. Last week, we showed a serious role of hers in the lovely film “Morning Raga”.

But, Shabana’s virtuosity as an actor was such that she played the lighter roles just as superbly.

Our first exhibit is her role in the 1983 film “Masoom”. She played the happy, socialite wife of a successful architect, played by Naseeruddin Shah. The film was directed by Shekhar Kapoor (who went to direct Hollywood films, most notably Elizabeth). Masoom was an interpretation of Eric Segal’s “Man, Woman and Child”. We have seen both Masoom and the Hollywood film; Masoom is far, far superior. How could it not be with Shekhar Kapoor, Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah? Masoom also introduced Urmila Matondkar as a young school girl. Urmila went on to become a top tier Bollywood actor.   

The following clip from Masoom shows the lighter side of Shabana as no words of ours could.

One of our favorite films of Shabana is the 1982 film “Yeh Nazdeekiyan”  in which Shabana plays the trusting wife of an advertising executive played by Marc Zuber. The film has 3 songs which display Shabana’s talent. We cannot import these clips from YouTube because they represent private content.  You could listen to the songs by visiting

We end this article with a gorgeous recent find. Imagine a young Shabana dancing with Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi in a “lavani”, a sexy, double-entendre filled rural dance, dressed in a “nauwari” sari (9-yard Marathi sari rather than the common 5-yard sari).

Below is the clip of this wow experience.

Where is this Shabana today?

Send your feedback to [email protected].