During promotions for her upcoming movie, Neerja, veteran actor Shabana Azmi said that today’s actors get to experiment more as they do one project at a time, unlike actors during her prime time.
According to Indian Express, she shared, “I was the first one to decide that I will do both parallel cinema and commercial cinema. I was riding in two boats where you are likely to sink but fortunately, this didn’t happen. The most remarkable change has been that actors are only doing a single movie at a time. At our time, 12 movies were being made simultaneously.”
“What was demanded in Hindi cinema was an alternative reality to films. Earlier, Hindi cinema used to whitewash all the details of characters but parallel cinema did the exact opposite and showed everything that was real so that’s also being integrated now. Even in a Piku, you see Amitabh Bachchan speaking with a Bengali accent, adding depth to his character. All these demands are being met and skills are being sharpened because one movie at a time allows you to really focus.”
Azmi, who has been successful in both parallel and mainstream cinema, said the audience has become more open and are ready to try both kinds of cinema.
The actress went on to say that she believes that the present is a very happy time in the Hindi film industry.
“All kinds of films are being made right now. You have typical masala films, which are catering to the lowest common denominator. Then you also have a movie like Masaan and then Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara so all kinds of content is being embraced. That’s when the audience gets a choice.”
Speaking about her film, Fire in the context of the current censorship debate, she revealed, “Censor Board passed the film without any cuts. The film had already run for three weeks in a row then Shiv Sena came and pulled it off the cinema. It was referred to the censor board and it passed the film again, without a single cut and that too with an adult certificate. In that particular case, they (CB) showed a lot of maturity. Civil society also said that we are not going to listen to a political party and what they dictate to us.”
Relating it to the intolerance issue, she said people are not receptive to arguments: “At the moment, an atmosphere is being build up where any voice of dissent or anything that can be considered controversial or criticism is being stifled. It’s so you don’t say anything that challenges the status quo.”