• Monday, June 17, 2024

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Shabana Azmi’s work in films recognised at UK Asian Film Festival

Shabana Azmi

By: Eastern Eye

CELEBRATED actress Shabana Azmi has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her prolific contribution to Indian cinema and as a campaigner for women’s rights.

The 73-year-old actress, who was in London for a celebration of her 50 years in cinema at the annual UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF), received the honour at a ceremony last week. The Freedom of the City of London dates to the 13th century and is conferred upon individuals as a way of paying tribute to their outstanding contribution to London or public life, or to celebrate a very significant achievement.

“I am deeply honoured to receive the Freedom of the City of London award. It is a testament to the power of cinema and activism that we are able to transcend borders and make a meaningful impact on society,” said Azmi.

“I am grateful for this recognition and remain committed to using my voice and platform to advocate for positive change.”

She was nominated by Alderman Alastair King DL and deputy Brian Mooney BEM for the award, conferred by City of London or the Square Mile.

“I was delighted to nominate Shabana to receive this award for her remarkable contributions, both on and off screen. With an impressive acting career, coupled with her unwavering commitment to make the world a better place, it is not surprising that she is regarded as a role model by so many women who look to her for inspiration,” said Alderman King.

Azmi made her debut in Satyajit Ray’s 1974 classic Ankur, among the films screened at UKAFF this year as part of its “Celebrating the Golden Girl of Indian Cinema” segment.

She also won five Indian National Awards for best actress and six Filmfare Awards.

Away from the world of stage and screen, the award recognises her as an advocate for public health and women’s rights, serving as president of Nivara Hakk – a housing rights nongovernmental organisation – and heading the Mijwan Welfare Society, focusing on developing rural India.

“Her unequivocal talent, commitment, and dedication makes her a trailblazer in global cinema; the versatility and authenticity in the characters she has played has helped to inspire many women across the globe,” said City of London corporation policy chairman Chris Hayward. The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the UK capital’s Square Mile.

Azmi’s City of London accolade was followed by the Tongues on Fire Golden Flame Award at the closing night gala last Sunday (12), where the veteran actress was honoured for her contribution to Indian cinema.

Playback singer Kavita Krishnamurthy was honoured with the a Golden Flame Lifetime Achievement Award and designer Rina Dhaka received a Flame Award for Celebrating Sustainable Fashion. Supriya Pathak won the Flame Best Actor award for the film Baby Castro.

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