Shabana Azmi encouraged Sonam to become actress

Mumbai, Dec 18 (IANS) Actress Shabana Azmi at the trailer launch of “Nirja” on Thursday revealed that Anil Kapoor asked her to dissuade daughter Sonam from becoming an actress but Azmi instead encouraged her to take up the profession.

“Anil Kapoor had sent her to me and said that this girl wants to become an actress, please make her understand so that she changes her mind. And I seriously told him that I would. She was very scholarly, so I told her to go and study at the London School of Economics. And when she came back she said she wanted to be an actress. I told her, be an actress, I will be with you all the way,” Shabana said.

“And when Sunita (Sonama’s mother) approached me and said that she wanted Sonam to dance, I introduced her to a Kathak teacher. So, for me she is my daughter. She has been my ‘bachcha’ for many years since the time she was very small,” said the actress.

Azmi plays the role of Rama Bhanot, the mother of Sonam’s character Neerja. Incidentally, as seen in the trailer, she asks why Neerja wants to become an air hostess despite doing well in the modelling industry.

The two are seen sharing a close bond with Rama later shown as being proud of Neerja’s decision to become an air hostess.

Azmi was invited by the Bhanot family to present the Neerja Bhanot award in Chandigarh where she had met Rama even before the idea of this film had not come about.

“I consider myself extremely fortunate that I met Rama Bhanot. There was a certain connection that was formed between the two of us. She came across as a large-hearted person,” said Shabana at the trailer launch.

“And the central point of this character was that she was a very frank person. I’ve tried my best to portray this frankness on screen. My only aim was to portray the character with full honesty and without any manipulation,” she added.

Neerja Bhanot was an air hostess who had heroically braved hijackers in 1986 on a flight and protected passengers and sacrificed her life in the process. Directed by Ram Madhvani, “Neerja” is set to release sometime in 2016.

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