Shabana Azmi
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Shabana: Long way from being perfect, but a start has been made

By HT

Veteran actor Shabana Azmi is quite impressed with the kind of roles that female actors are portraying in films these days. 
 
She says, in the past, heroines were merely adding glamour to films, and the scenario has completely changed now.
 
“Earlier, girls were only playing glamour dolls on screen. There is a shelf life for that — at 30, her career is over. But today, female actors are getting to play good parts even at the age of 36 or 37. It’s a long way from being perfect, but a start has been made,” says Shaban.
 
The 66-year-old adds that female actors are recognising the worth of doing good work. “You need to slip into supporting parts and that can happen if you are playing substantial roles. If you only play the glamour doll and you want to cling on to the image, then it will be difficult. But if you don’t, you will prolong your career,” says Shabana, who is married to lyricist Javed Akhtar.
 
Talking about the present crop of female actors, Shabana feels they are all doing really well. “Look at Anushka Sharma, I am impressed that she’s producing films at the peak of her career and both the films were so unconventional [NH10 and Phillauri]. Look at Vidya Balan — the brave choices, which she has made as an actor. The kind of roles Alia Bhatt is doing, too, are wonderful,” she says.
 
The actor, who was seen in the film Neerja (2016) as Sonam Kapoor’s mother, and recently in Aparna Sen’s Sonata, says that the process of casting has changed for the better. “Acting in itself is changing. This change is because of the advent of the casting director. Earlier, there would be stock characters, who would be seen in every film. Now, casting directors are bringing fresh faces,” adds Shabana.