On Shabana Azmi's birthday, looking back at the veteran actor's best films, from Arth to Makdi

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Daughter of Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi, noted actor Shabana Azmi celebrates her birthday on 18 September. Known for playing a wide array of roles in both mainstream and parallel cinema, Shabana Azmi is the recipient of several national and international awards.

The actor, who made her debut in 1974 with Shyam Benegal's Ankur, has appeared in over 120 Hindi and Bengali films. Shabana Azmi has also appeared in numerous foreign films such as John Schlesinger's Madame Sousatzka, Nicholas Klotz's Bengali Night, Roland Joffe's City of Joy, among others.

On the actor's birthday, Faraz Arif Ansari, writer and director of Sisak, which is billed as India's first silent queer love story, wished the actor.

Actress Tisca Chopra, Shefali Shah and Vivek Oberoi also wished the actor.

Check out the tweets here

On the actor's birthday, here's looking at 5 of her most memorable roles in cinema.

Ankur (1974)

The first feature film directed by Shyam Benegal, the film launched Indian actors Ananth Nag and Shabana Azmi. The film that dealt with patriarchy and casteism got Shabana her first National Film Award. In an interview with National Herald, Shyam Benegal had recalled that she had tried casting Waheeda Rehman, Sharda, Aparna Sen and Anju Mahendroo, all of whom said no, before he cast Shabana Azmi.

Arth (1982)

Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the film starred Shabana Azmi and Kulbhushan Kharbanda in lead roles. Smita Patil, Raj Kiran and Rohini Hattangadi too had pivotal roles to play in the film. The semi-autobiographical film was written by Bhatt based on his extramarital relationship with Parveen Babi. Azmi won a National Film Award for Arth as well.

Godmother (1999)

Inspired by the life of Santokben Jadeja, who ran the Mafia operations of Porbandar, Gujarat, in the late 1980s and early 1990s and later turned politician, the Vinay Shukla directorial saw Shabana Azmi essay the titular role, bagging another National Award in the process.

Makdee (2002)

The comedy horror, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj starred Shabana Azmi, Makrand Deshpande, Shweta Basu Prasad, Vijay Raj and Alaap Mazgaonkar. The film follows the journey of a young girl and her encounter with an alleged witch in an old mansion. The role of the witch was played by Shabana Azmi. The film was screened in the Critics' Week section at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003.

Paar (1984)

The Goutam Ghose directorial starred Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri. Based on a story by Samaresh Basu, the film chronicles exploitation in rural Bihar, where a landlord (played by the legendary Utpal Dutt) wreck a village and kill a benevolent schoolmaster who was helping the village. A labourer Naurangia (Naseeruddin Shah) retaliates by killing the landlord's brother and he and his wife Rama (Shabana Azmi) become fugitives from justice. The film follows their journey and earned both actors National Film Awards.

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