If you see a grossly overweight woman waddling around the busy streets of London looking like Shabana Azmi, chances are it is the mighty Azmi herself looking laden with loads of weight.
In fact those of you who saw Shabana at the Filmfare awards last February must be wondering what on earth was wrong with her. But Shabana had begun preparing for her part two months ago, tucking into those calorie-enhancing goodies with a relish that only the committed actor in her could enjoy.
Now hugely overweight Shabana is having the time of her life playing a hysterical Punjabi woman for Gurinder Chadha"s It"s A Wonderful Afterlife.
This is the look that she must hold in place for the next month and half, a dangerous state for her metabolism to be in at her age. But Shabana is ready to give justice to her role. She had shaved her head for Deepa Mehta"s Water. And for Shayam Benegal"s Mandi she had put on weight to look like a well-to-do Madame in a brothel.
But 25 kgs for one role? Laughs Shabana from London, “Yes, you"ve heard right. I have put on 25 kgs and I"m waddling around unrecognizable to all except those who know who I am."
The experience of working with Gurinder Chadha, who herself is on the prosperously plump side, is enriching for Shabana. “Gurinder is in control without being bossy which is a remarkable quality in a director." Javed Akhtar has also joined Shabana in London. “He"s here for the London book fair My sister-in-law Tanvi and two of my close friends are coming in this weekend. So I"m having a ball."