Rupa Ganguly Talukdar

Born to famous poet Kaifi Azmi and stage actress Shaukat Azmi, Shabana straddles both commercial and parallel cinema with equal ease. A five-time National-Award-winning actress, having received accolades for her performances in Ankur, Arth, Khandhar, Paar and Godmother, could not lessen her love for theatre. Theatre was very much a part of her existence as she had once said, “My mother used to take me to Prithvi Theatre, in Mumbai, when I was just three months old…in theatre, you need to have fierce concentration, challenge of theatre is to remain calm and focused.”
The play, Broken Images, was premiered way back in 2009. A psychological thriller, this play is about a Hindi short-story writer who suddenly becomes internationally famous for writing a bestseller in English. The play, directed by Alyque Padamsee and written by Girish Karnad was staged this time at GD Birla Sabhaghar on Wednesday, September 8. The event was co-ordinated by Weavers Studio Centre for Arts. Shabana was seen playing double roles in it, easily moulding herself well, not in two different characters but in two facets of the same character. With the developments in theatrical technology, two different Shabanas were seen on stage at the same time. The story unfolds as the play proceeds. It is the tale of an elder sister, Manjula, unethically publishing in her own name a hit novel actually written by her crippled younger sister, Malini, after her death. The trauma of the crippled is always easily glorified, but here the trauma of a sibling who is neglected in the process has been brought forth. It was a One-Act play. Only one actor (Shabana) enacted both, the character and her conscience, innovatively portrayed on the TV screen.
The actor had somewhere said, “It is the relationship between her and her image and at no point can we say that the image is actually her, her conscience, or whether it is her younger sister Malini, who used to write in English, but was paralysed from birth.”
Audience was kept glued to their seats for whole one hour as Shabana maintained sync with her conscious that kept running parallel on the TV monitor. The smooth switch from English to Hindi and vice versa along with the display of emotions made the play a splendid watch. The use of technology set the play apart where the role of the alter ego was pre-recorded and later replayed on a television screen. A script so dramatic and challenging was done justice to and to put it in Shabana’s own words “for the first time in my entire career, on the stage and on the big screen where I have completed a 45-minute-long performance in a single shot”.

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