Known as Neha Bajpai or simply Neha, Shabana Raza was born into a Muslim family, who made her debut in the film industry opposite Bobby Deol in Kareeb. Her debut film was followed by a couple of super hit movies including Hogi Pyaar Ki Jeet, Fiza and Koi Mere Dil Mein Hai. Right after Kareeb, Shabana met the love of her life, Manoj Bajpayee, stayed in touch with him, became good friends and soon, love blossomed! (Read Love Story)
After dating for eight years, Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza tied the knot in 2006 and five years later, in 2011, the couple had embraced parenthood with the arrival of their daughter, Ava Nayla. Shabana is happy being Mrs Manoj Bajpayee and though she is passionate about acting, she doesn't want to run after producers for work. Shabana waits for the right opportunities to come her way.
A lot of celebrities have voluntarily ditched their names including Akshay Kumar, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Sunny Deol, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Kiara Advani, Tiger Shroff and many more. Shabana Raza also belonged to the list, however, she was 'forced' to change her name. In a 2008 interview with Rediff, Shabana had revealed that she never wanted to be Neha as she liked her original name.
Revealing how she had matured since she entered the industry, Shabana Raza had said, "I was never Neha. I was always Shabana. I was forced into changing my name too. I was not okay with it at all. My parents proudly named me Shabana. There was no need to change it, but nobody listened to me. I have matured a lot since I entered the industry. I was very apprehensive about everything before but I understand better now."
It was only with Sanjay Gupta's film, Alibaug that Shabana Raza managed to carry her original name and working with the cast and crew of this film has been the best experience of her life. Shabana continued, "That is the sad part. Nobody would listen to me when I wanted to go back to my first name. That is why working with Sanjay and the whole team of Alibaug has been the best experience of my life. I told Sanjay that I want to go with my real name, and he was okay with it. I had lost my identity and now, I got it back."
On February 23, 2020, when Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza had completed fourteen years of marital bliss and their daughter, Ava Nayla turned 9, he had posted a special post on Instagram. On the double celebrations of their anniversary and little one's birthday, Manoj had posted lovely pictures with the caption, "And she turn 9 today...!!!love you Ava to eternity always!!! It's our marriage anniversary too!!! Celebrating life!! Forever thankful for our blessings!!!"
We hope to see Shabana back on screens soon!