Shabana Azmi Recalls a “Chilling” Scene Written by Girish Karnad

Shabana Azmi paid a last tribute to her 43-year-old friend, Girish Karnad, with a performance of ‘Broken Images’.

2 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

Cameraman: Mukul Bhandari

With memories dating back to 1975, renowned Bollywood actor Shabana Azmi spoke of old friend and co-actor Girish Karnad as “one of the finest playwrights of India.”

“I think you felt uplifted in his company. He is a true intellectual to my mind. He could talk on any subject. He was a very articulate man. He could really persuade you by his power of reasoning and yet he wore his fame very lightly.”
Shabana Azmi

Azmi paid her last tribute to Karnad, who passed away on 10 June 2019, with a special performance of a play written by him in 2005 – ‘Broken Images’.

“Broken Images is certainly the most challenging play I’ve done technologically because it’s a story about two sisters and one of the sisters, the older sister, Manjula, is a live character on stage and the younger sister is a television image. Now what people fail to realise is that actually that image on the television is a pre-recorded image of 44 minutes.”
Shabana Azmi

The performance in Delhi in July was also her tribute to mentor and director of the play, late Alyque Padamsee. She recalls how Padamsee reacted to her first performance of ‘Broken Images’ and how he would always send her an email wishing her luck every time she had a performance.

“For me, it was very special working with Alyque because he had worked with my mother Shaukat Kaifi as his main lead 50 years ago... 40 years ago. And that he was still... so many years later he was still working with me. To me that was so thrilling. And he was all there. He was all there. He was sharp. He understood the pulse of the audience like very few.”
Shabana Azmi

(The story is from The Quint’s archives and has been republished to mark Girish Karnad’s birth anniversary)

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