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Birthday Special: 5 things women can learn from Shabana Azmi

New Delhi: It is next to impossible to write about the life of actress and humanitarian Shabana Azmi in one article. The social activist, who is an alumna of Film and Television Institute of India,
India TV News Desk September 18, 2015 15:38 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: It is next to impossible to write about the life of actress and humanitarian Shabana Azmi in one article. The social activist, who is an alumna of Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, debuted in Bollywood in the year 1974 and soon became the queen of parallel cinema.

One of the finest actresses of Indian cinema, her progressive movies have earned her 6 National Awards and 4 Filmfare Awards. Married to poet and screenwriter Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi turns 65 today. Her life is full of inspiration and has many lessons for the women of today.

For all you women out there, we bring you a list of traits you can learn from Shabana Azmi which will change your approach towards life.  

Learn to say NO

If there is one personality trait that contributes immensely towards the fearless personality of Shabana, it is that she never frets about saying no. At a point in her career when she was approached to be a part of movies which she didn't believe in, she blatantly said no. In one of her interviews she said, “This director showed me a script about a woman who was an ugly duckling and offered me the part. I said, of course, I will not do the film.” If you think you are being ill treated or settling for something less, be courageous enough to say NO.

Break the norms

Well, you should definitely learn and absorb this. Our society wants women to behave in a certain clichéd way. Shabana Azmi teaches you that if you don't want that, then don't follow the path which is evident from her choice of movies like Ankur (1974), Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977), Arth (1982), Ek Din Achanak (1989), Madame Sousatzka (1988) and City of Joy (1992). Shabana broke the traditions where Indian women were portrayed as meek and humble on screen and created new boundaries.

Stand up for what you think is right

Shabana is a lady who has voiced her opinions on a plethora of topics. Very recently, she criticised the fatwa issued against music composer AR Rahman for his work in the Iranian movie Muhammad Messenger Of God. This is not the first time. After the 1993 Mumbai riots, she became a strong critic of religious extremism. In 2001 she strongly opposed the suggestion made by the grand mufti of Jama Masjid that Indian Muslims should join the people of Afghanistan in their war. So, if you think what you support is right do not be afraid to voice your opinions.

Do your bit for society

Her philanthropic acts also inspire women by telling them that their actions can make society a better place, just like somewhere Shabana's are. The actress has been active for years in supporting child welfare, fighting AIDS and injustice in real life. Apart from this, she has also advocated the cause of slum dwellers, displaced Kashmiri Pandit migrants and victims of the earthquake at Latur (Maharashtra, India).  Recently, she urged her fans to donate organs. Initially, her activism was treated as a publicity gimmick but she didn't let that bring her down which is probably why United Nations Population Fund appointed her as its Goodwill Ambassador for India in 1998.

Your relationships don't define you

In an era, where women spent their entire life being someone's wife or daughter, Shabana thought differently. She might be the daughter of renowned Indian poet Kaifi Azmi and veteran stage actress Shaukat Azmi but she never let that overshadow her personality. Even after marrying the great lyricist Javed Akhtar, she did not lose her individuality. People know as much about Shabana Azmi as they know about Javed Akhtar. This just tells women that although your relationships play an important role in your life, your life isn't run by them.

We wish a very Happy Birthday to the exquisite lady who is loved by millions!