Talented actress Shabana Azmi opened up about her work relationship with Karnad, who died at the age of 81 at his residence in Bengaluru after a prolonged illness on June 10. According to her, it is difficult for her to describe her friendship of 43 years in a single sound byte.
Azmi took to her social media account and posted a note with the title, 'Farewell My Friend'. In the note, she stated many things from her memories. Right from how she came to know about Girish Karnad when he was roped in Shyam Benegal's Ankur to the last time she met him in Bengaluru, she penned it all down in this emotional note.
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Azmi also recalled that when Karnad was the director at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), he showed immense maturity in handling the students' strikes that she said were headed by actor Naseeruddin Shah.
"It was a troubled tenureship because the students were on strike and very hostile. But Girish handled it with great maturity and compassion. Legend has it that Naseeruddin Shah was in the forefront of the strike and there were some unpleasant altercations between them. But to Girish's remarkable credit that didn't deter him from recommending Naseer to Shyam for a very important role in Nishant, his first break in films that launched his career and established him as a fine actor. A lesser person than Girish could have been revengeful," she stated.
In Benegal's 1975 film, Azmi remembers that it was the first time that she shared screen space with Karnad.
She recalled, "I was playing the schoolmaster's wife in Nishant. Girish played the somewhat timid school master, quite the opposite of what he was in real life, confident, articulate, erudite, a true intellectual. He didn't fancy himself as an actor and rued that it would damage his reputation as a playwright (who was fast getting acknowledged as one of the best in India). I would tease him and say, 'No matter... even if you aren't good, you are so good looking that all will be forgiven!' He would laugh loudly and then proceed to regale us with umpteen stories. it was a pleasure to hear him speak. I warmed up to him."
She said her last film collaboration with the veteran was 2016 film Chalk And Duster.
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