Born on September 18th, 1950, Shabana Azmi is a multi-dimensional woman, who has created an impact in the fields of theater, politics, television, and film. Making her debut in 1974, she was soon able to make her mark as a leading actress of the industry. To her credit, there are 5 National Film Awards, and 4 Filmfare Awards.As an actress, political figure and a social activist Shabana has inspired many women. She has conveyed a message of strength and feminist freedom to her gender. Her achievements speak for her intellect, talent and courage.
She has played roles in more than 120 films, and since 1988, she has appeared in some non-Indian films as well. She is a very famous social activist, a member of Rajya Sabha, and a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund since 1998. She is the wife of Indian poet Javed Akhtar, since December 9, 1984. Farhan Akhtar, and Zoya Akhtar are the children of Javed Akhtar (from his first wife), while Tanvi Azmi is the sister-in-law of Shabana Azmi.
As a social worker
She is a dedicated social worker, and is very active in supporting children who are suffering from AIDS and social injustice in the society. Shabana Azmi has recorded her opinion on a number of different issues. At the start, her social work gave rise to doubts, and it was thought that this was a promotional ploy, just to be in the spotlight. Later she was able to prove her critics wrong. She did this by utilizing her superstar position to appear on the screen as a social activist.
She took part in a number of plays, which were against the ideas of Marxism. She was able to make her impact, when she organized a peace march spanning on four days along with Asghar Ali Engineer, and Swami Agnivesh. She did this in 1989, and the march was directed from Delhi to Meerut. The main objective of the March was to create harmony among several communities of India.
She is an advocate for the right of several social groups, such as shantytown inhabitants, expatriate Kashmiri Pandits, refugees and sufferers of the earthquake in Latur, which is situated in Maharashtra. She was shocked by the Mumbai riots in 1993, therefore, raised strong opposition to the religious extremism. After the attacks of Sept 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center in New York, USA, the grand mufti of Jamia Masjid Delhi urged Muslims of India to go to Afghanistan and fight against the US forces. Shabana was deadly against the advice of the Mufti, and strongly opposed it by saying that the one who is suggesting it, should go there first.
AIDS awareness campaigns
She has made special efforts for the victims of AIDS. Government of India has recorded a small video clip, where a child suffering from AIDS is lying in the arms of Shabana Azmi. The actress in the campaign advertisement is saying: “She does not need your rejection, she needs your love.” In a movie named Meghla Akash, Shabana Azmi acted as a physician, who was treating patients of HIV AIDS.
She has also lent her voice to TeachAIDS, which is a non-profit organization. The voice was lent for an educational, animated software tutorial, which was created for the guidance of the patients of AIDS.
She is a member of the National Integration Council, chaired by the Prime Minister of India since 1989. She is a member of National AIDS Commission of India as well. She stands as a great inspiration for the women who want to make their mark in the society and prove their merit. Shabana’s services for the society, especially for the patients of AIDS are much appreciated in many walks of life.