Javed has a lot in common with Kaifi Azmi: Shabana

Javed, 67, a poet himself, plays the part of Kaifi in the play alongside Shabana, who is essaying her mother Shaukat's role. The 61-year-old actress says she had no doubt about Javed playing the part of her father.

Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar

"Neither of us had any doubt about Javed sahab playing Kaifi. His sensibilities are exactly the same. My father and Javed come from the same background so they have the same sense of humour, they were interested in politics and Javed has been a public speaker even though he is not active," said Shabana, who was in the Capital last night with Javed to perform the play on Kaifi's 10th death anniversary.

"Kaifi Aur Main" is a theatrical collage based on Kaifi and Shaukat. It traces the life of the duo from childhood, to their unusual romance culminating in a marriage that lasted 55 years. "This is Kaifi sahab's 10th death anniversary and this play was performed as a tribute to him by IPTA of which my father was a president for a long time and my mother a leading actress.

"And as a tribute it was decided that we would stage something on his life so Javed sahab took portions from my mother Shaukat Azmi's book 'Yaad Ki Rehguzaar' and took some portions from Kaifi sahab's various interviews and strung them together into a story," said Shabana. 'Kaifi Aur Mein' is a theatrical experience in which Javed sahab plays Kaifi Azmi and I play my mother.

t was a different kind of experience it has laughter, drama, romance, politics, culture because both these people were product of their time. It is a romantic love story which is a bit different from Javed's life and this way he says something romantic once in a while," Shabana said. The play is scripted by Javed and directed by Ramesh Talwar.

The "Masoom" actress also said she takes this play as an opportunity to reach out to the world and let them know about her parents. "It's not merely a play for me, it is an opportunity, a gift that I have to share with the world about the extraordinary life about these extraordinary people. Not only about them, but the cultural, political, social ethos of that time.

"And in today's time I think more than ever it is important to remind people that the Independence we take so completely for granted is the hard earned struggle of the progressive writers." When asked how was it to share the stage with wife Shabana, Javed joked, "When you are on the stage you are so conscious about the audience that you forget who you are with. I am scared of them. I can make my wife understand later but who will make the audience understand?" The couple have already performed the play quite a few times in India and abroad.

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