MUMBAI: On its opening night, SAIFF will honor filmmaker, actress and activist Shabana Azmi with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to South Asian cinema.
From her breakout role in her debut film in 1974, Shyam Benegal’s Ankur, for which she won her first of five National Awards, Azmi ventured upon an audacious path in cinema and stage by acting in over 100 independent, mainstream, and international films and appearing in a number of plays.
She credits Ankur, the film that essentially launched the art or independent film industry in
In an interview with SAIFF, she spoke about her enduring lifetime bond with the pioneering director of the art or independent cinema movement in
She spoke about the changing nature of Indian cinema, in particular, the emergence of independent cinema as a viable alternative to commercial cinema. “
“This year, for the first time, SAIFF presents its lifetime achievement award to an individual known for their work in front of the camera. Ms. Amzi is one of the few refined actors within the industry willing to take on independent film roles throughout her career. She has that rare gift of being able to get underneath each of her character’s skin so convincingly, no matter how different the character in each film. Even more unique is her conviction in mostly taking on roles that make strong statements and reinforce positive stereotypes about women,” said SAIFF president Shilen Amin.
Azmi, who will not be able to accept her award at the festival in person due to scheduling conflicts, appears in the festival’s opening night world premiere, Loins of Punjab Presents.