Mainstream Hindi cinema witnessing change, says Shabana Azmi

Mumbai, March 2 (IANS) Actress Shabana Azmi has said that mainstream Hindi cinema is witnessing a change from the stereotypical portrayal of mothers and other characters in earlier times.

“There is a change coming in mainstream Hindi cinema. Earlier, when there used to be a role of a mother, she would drop the thaali and scream ‘nahi’, an absolutely stereotypical role. And in Hindi films, there was always an attempt to wipe out all the details,” Azmi said at a press meet regarding the success of her film ‘Neerja’.

This has been changing now, she said, adding that if you see, in mainstream cinema we are locating our characters.

Azmi plays a role based on Rama Bhanot in the film, the mother of Neerja Bhanot (played by Sonam Kapoor), a flight attendant who laid her life in protecting passengers on a hijacked flight in 1986.

The relationship between her and Sonam has been one of the highlights of the film, having earned appreciation from critics and fans.

While there were numerous Punjabi mothers shown in Hindi films, many of them have been stereotypical with the accent, mannerisms and behaviour.

“For any character it is important that you play different types of characters, and in Neerja’s character, there was a Punjabiyat, but we didn’t blow trumpets about it, only a few lines of it were used, and people have appreciated it. That’s the way forward. The most delightful feeling is that numerous Punjabi mothers said that I looked exactly like them,” Azmi said.

She also said that she’s getting numerous compliments from people who said that she made them cry.

“Javed sahab cried a lot when he saw the trial; he was speechless for a substantial time. He then watched it in the theatre and again cried a lot there,” she responded on being asked if her husband Javed Akhtar also feels the same?

‘Neerja’ has done good business at the box-office, having earned more than Rs.50 crore at the box-office in its first week.

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