Veteran actress Shabana Azmi credits her father, noted poet Kaifi Azmi, with removing any prejudices she might have against darker skin tones telling her that “being dusky was okay and being black was indeed beautiful.”
“As a little girl I also was in love with the white dolls which had golden hair and blue twinkling eyes but my father never got me one. When I was nine year old, he got me a doll with black skin and eyes and told me that being dusky was ok and being black was indeed beautiful,” Shabana said at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.
The actress, said despite her initial disappointment with her father’s “ugly gift,” she soon understood that her Abba’s words held deep meaning.
“The kind of values and confidence I was raised with also reflected later in choice of the kind of films I did,” she said.
Shabana was in conversation with Pakistani artist and nuclear-weapon activist Salima Hashmi and lyricist Ali Hussain Mir in a session titled “Faiz and Kaifi-A poetic legacy” at the LitFest.
The actress went down the memory lane recalling how her mother who came from an upper middle class family in Hyderabad fell in love with young dynamic poet Kaifi and how she played a confident bread earner of the family without portraying a glimpse of making some sacrifice.
Admiring her father’s poetic legacy, the 64-year-old actress said, “My father was such a great poet that everybody used to believe that the poem he was reciting for that person only, especially women.”
“He had such conviction in his eyes. As a kid I had gone to a party with Aammi and Abba, where Kaifi sahib recited a poem and a women said “Aap kamal ka likhte hain kaifi sahib”. To this my father replied â€œAap ke liye hi likha hai mohatarama” and I went haywire and pointed out that my father had written those lines for my mother,” she recalled.
“My mother felt embarrassed with my behaviour at the party but inside I knew she was on cloud nine. My father, however never dared dedicating any poem to any random woman, thereafter,” Shabana said.
Meanwhile Salima Hashim, also shared flashback moments of her childhood and the legacy of her father, the renowned poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.