On being asked about her plans this year, she said, “My play "Happy Birthday Sunita" opens in London on Sep 19. On my birthday I will be in technical rehearsal till 10 p.m.! Javed has come to be with me and I'm thrilled. No other plans needed!”. 

 

Shabana does not like the idea of cutting a cake on birthdays. “The cake cutting is a practice I do not like. When did it start in India and why, I do not know. In school, we were only allowed to give two sweets each to the entire class. It was a great leveller because it prevented the richer girls from being lavish and shows the not-so-rich ones in poor light! I'm not a great stickler for giving or receiving presents on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. as a 'must do'. I prefer giving a gift without occasion if I feel it's something a friend will like.” But she confesses that flowers are her weakness and she love receiving them, especially Indian fragrant flowers - Mogra, Rajnigandha, Sontakka etc.

Her 50th birthday was the most memorable day of her life. She says, “All my friends came from various corners and Abba (father poet Kaifi Azmi) sat quietly through the noisy celebrations in a sherwani and 'topi' looking like the birthday person himself!! Javed was wonderful too, but it's too personal to share the details.”

“I am at peace with my age. I have embraced life at all stages. I remember people were horrified when I celebrated my 50th! 'Don't announce your age', I was advised! How stupid is that?” she said. Azmi feels that this is the best time to be an actor. There are many parts available for all age groups. It's no longer the stereotypical mother in a white sari and terrible wig sacrificing all for her family!

She has a desire to learn to play the piano but believes that it's too late now. Her advice to the young actors is to never become complacent, work hard and embrace life.

 

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