After more than two decades of Deepa Mehta’s much-controversial film, Fire, Bollywood veteran Shabana Azmi feels that the representation of gender minorities in mainstream cinema is finally being dealt with empathy.
The Tehzeeb star, who essayed a mother finding it difficult to accept her daughter’s relationship in Sheer Qorma, Azmi feels that despite far greater acceptance and awareness of minority issues today, there is still reluctance and misconstrued notions around the same topics.
The celebrated star, who won the Best Actor for her recent short film, Sheer Qorma, at the India International Film Festival in Boston, has now opened up about how important it is to showcase the underrepresented in mainstream cinema, in an interview with Times of India.
“Earlier, it was inconceivable that any actor, particularly in mainstream cinema, could play a character from a gender minority community. And then, although it almost happened surreptitiously, Fawad Khan’s character in Kapoor and Sons was an important one,” the veteran remarked.
She feels that the representation, not only leads to acceptance of people with different choices in love but also gives hope that this acceptance of the “other” will then be extended to communities, nations, gender, race and religion. “And that’s what we need. Not just tolerance, but acceptance,” Azmi added.
Azmi also commented on What’s Love Got to Do With It, her upcoming film with Jemima Goldsmith, Sajal Aly, Emma Thompson among others. She recalled, “I left on January 3, which was the height of the pandemic, and we completed the film in 38 days. We were in a very tight bubble and the whole crew was tested every single day. We were all very respectful of the bubble and weren’t allowed to meet anybody outside of our shooting group.”
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