Shabana who's shooting an American film in Chandigarh called Decent Arrangement, is determined to zero-in on a project featuring herself and Smita Patil's son. And fast. "I'm very fond of Smita's son. I found Prateik enchanting in Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na. The problem is I don't want to do a typical mother-son film with Prateik. I want to do something much more unconventional with him. The mother-son route would be too predictable."
In Chandigarh trying to go unrecognised for security reasons (the American units, not Shabana) the proud mother saw Zoya Akhtar's debut film on the day of its opening with the aam junta. Shabana jumped out of her seat to dance when Hrithik Roshan broke into his 'Bawre' gig. "They loved the film in Chandigarh," mama Azmi enthuses. "And we all danced with Hrithik."
Shabana Azmi is linked to Zoya Akhtar's debut film with more than marriage to Javed Akhtar. Shabana and Zoya are also connected by Anuradha Parikh who has done the art direction for Luck By Chance. Explains Shabana, "Anuradha is basically an architect, she has done my home. And now she's done the art direction in Luck By Chance. It was so important to have some non-industry eyes looking at the goings-on in the industry. That's why Anuradha and the cinematographer Carlos Catalan were brought in."
About the American film she's shooting in Chandigarh Shabana says, "I'm not allowed to talk about it. I'm staying at an undisclosed hotel and we're trying to work as quietly as possible. All I can say is that it's being directed by a young filmmaker from Philadelphia. The romantic lead is played by Americans. And no, they aren't Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie," she bursts into laughter.
Watching Luck By Chance on Friday with the audience in Chandigarh Shabana felt a pang about not being a more integral part of the film. "You should ask Farhan and Zoya why they just cast me as my husband's 'trophy wife' in a party scene. For Dimple Kapadia's role (the part of the star-mother) Rekha was Zoya's choice, not me. But I'm glad Dimple did it. She has done a brilliant job. In one key sequence you can see every nerve in Dimple's being pulsating with emotion. But my two favourite scenes are the one where the refrigerator suddenly lands up at Konkona's doorstep and the final scene where she holds Farhan's hands and tells him that she knows he's selfish and is okay with the existence of such people. Everyone has gone ga-ga over that final scene. Hats off to Jadoo (Javed Akhtar) for his dialogues. And I'm so proud of my daughter Zoya."
For Zoya it hasn't been an easy climb. "Imagine this girl's struggle. She couldn't direct the Luck By Chance script, then she went to another script and then returned to Luck By Chance. Who says it's easy for kids born within the industry?"
It's all about karma. The actor-extraordinaire Shabana Azmi couldn't find a proper place in her daughter Zoya's directorial debut. Now Shabana is all set to star with her 'adopted son' Prateik Babbar. Fierce rivals during Smita Patil's lifetime, soul-sisters after her death, Shabana Azmi has taken the late Smita Patil's son Prateik under her wings. She's now on the look-out for a script where the two can star together.