Lucknow is my second home: Shabana Azmi




Actress, theatre artist and social activist Shabana Azmi, known for her impressionistic work in Bollywood, was recently in Lucknow for a private event.

Expressing her emotions for her second home, Lucknow, and the happiness that she feels in coming here, again and again, the actress shared, "The feeling is just wonderful. I just get off at the airport and there is this huge smile on my face. Lucknow ki jo tehzeeb hai, yahan ki jo zubaan hai, jo khana hai, it just brings back a sense of nostalgia, the sense of connecting with my roots in me. This city makes me realize that this is the place where my father studied, this is where he belonged to, this is where he started his writing and this is where he became who he was. Starting with just a small little village Mijwan in Azamgarh and today he is famous internationally."

It isn't just her father that was famous, her mother also was a famed actress. Calling her mother, Shaukat Kaifi, her muse, the actress got a bit emotional and said that her mother meant everything to her. She believes that her mother has helped her in honing her acting skills and is responsible for shaping her personality as well. "You see, she hasn't just sat me down and told me that this is the way acting should be done. But I have learnt my acting and process of osmosis from her and the way she used to get into the skin of the character. Almost about a month before a play, she would go up on the stage and refine her character." 

To keep her father's legacy and Lucknow's association alive, Shabana has founded several entities in his name. In the recent years, she has been associated with the Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS), an NGO founded by her father, the famous poet, late Kaifi Azmi.  After his demise, she decided to take ahead his dream. She says, " My father believed that India’s remarkable economic progress can only be meaningful if it reaches out to rural India, where 80 percent of the population lives but is denied access to opportunity." MWS also runs many institutes – Kaifi Azmi High School for girls,  Kaifi Azmi Inter College for girls, Kaifi Azmi Computer Training Center and Kaifi Azmi Sewing  Center.