The mighty Shabana Azmi shot an entire web series for Steven Spielberg in Budapest and a feature film for Shekhar Kapoor in London during the Covid crisis. But now all shooting has come to a grinding halt. The formidable actress is now at her farmhouse on the outskirts of Mumbai with her husband and some close members of her family.
Her farmhouse is named Sukoon. Bu there is no sukoon (peace) in her mind right now. “Every day we are losing a relative or a friend. Jadu (husband Javed Akhtar) lost two cousins on the same day. Before we can mourn the passing of one loved one, another one goes. I’m numbed with grief and disbelief.”
Shabana is in quarantine with family. “At Sukoon we step out only into the garden. Otherwise we are completely indoors. The family is here with us, and that’s most comforting at a time like this. We do not leave the house. Grocery is brought to the house. We have created our own bubble over here in Sukoon, a lesson I learnt from my shootings abroad after the pandemic broke out.”
I ask her about the work she is known to with the needy. “I am monitoring the work at Mijwan (her ancestral home town in Uttar Pradesh) for Covid relief, including providing oxygen concentrators on a daily basis. But these are not things one should be talking about. Right now it’s time for action, not self-congratulation.”
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