In Bollywood, where being tagged as 'Aunty' is generally considered taboo by most senior female artistes for obvious reasons, internationally acclaimed actress and multiple National Award-winner Shabana Azmi comes off as an exemplary exception.
The enterprising Shabana deserves plaudits for leading the cast of this frothy short film titled 'Aunty-Ji' – directed by talented Adeeb Rais – where she plays the title-role of a widowed yet charming, exuberant Parsi lady. Known as a social-crusader off-screen, Azmi is shown befriending a real-life acid attack survivor Anmol Rodriguez in the movie which also has elements of tangy humour and fleeting romance between actors Mohit Hiranandani and Akanksha Thakur.
“When Adeeb approached me for this short film which has a sensitive theme, initially I was not too sure. But he was adamant I play the title-role. From my side, I suggested that my character should ideally be a Parsi lady and I even took lessons in the correct diction and nuances. The movie has a subtle, gentle message that external and facial looks should never be a barrier to form a judgmental bias. It's a unique pairing of an acid survivor and a lonely yet lively Parsi lady who wishes to venture out of her shell and try out stuff like getting a 'tattoo' done,” smiles Azmi, who had acted in a Google-centric Los Angeles-based movie some 13 years ago called 'Waterborne'.
“We need to embrace the fast-growing digital format, which allows total freedom of creative expression,” signs off Azmi, who according to director Adeeb, had absolutely no hang-ups playing 'Aunty-Ji', which is set to release on August 29 on YouTube and has merited a phenomenal response.