Shabana Azmi is keeping herself engaged even during the coronavirus lockdown. According to a report by Mumbai Mirror, the veteran actor has collaborated with Tony award-winning director Michael Mayer, Italian author Erri De Luca and his partner Paola Bisson for an innovative project.
Speaking about this initiative, Azmi said that it’s titled Decameron 2020 and it is a collection of dramatised recitations of stories on the coronavirus crisis written by authors from across the world.
She has recorded Professor Tabish Khair’s story River of No Return. “Tabish Khair’s story is very close to my heart. Apart from that, I loved the idea of authors using their creativity and joining hands in this period of crisis to make actors enact their pieces”, Azmi told the publication.
Shabana Azmi added that through Decameron 2020 Italian writer-director Erri Luca has managed to unite authors, journalists, poets and actors to write and perform tales that have bloomed from their collective isolation. “Julian Sands, Stéfi Celma, Michael Alone, Pascal Greggory and Luigi Lo Cascio are some of the other actors involved”, she said.
Azmi also said that working on a virtual medium without even having met the director (Michael Myers) was something that she couldn’t have comprehended earlier. “From setting up the lights, fixing the phone on a tripod, arranging for a green screen to recording, I had to do everything myself and it was a challenge. Thankfully, my brother is a DoP and he sent the equipment and his colleague to help me out. I am so used to big cameras and people around me, but here I had to even okay my own takes”, she said.
Shabana Azmi has been using art to unite people during this time of distress. Some time back, Anhad, a voluntary organisation that “works for questions of democracy, constitutional values, diversity and gender rights” had hosted a Music and Poetry series, and a number of notable names came forward to be a part of it to help people cope with the quarantine and social distancing.
Shabana had recited poetry by her father Kaifi Azmi, including Makaan, which she explained he wrote while spending time with labourers. She spoke about its relevance today, and how those who build our houses don’t have anything for themselves. Just as today we see our migrant labourers are suffering during the pandemic.
(With inputs from Mumbai Mirror)
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