Azmeri Haque Badhan rose from the ashes just like a phoenix, as she soared to the zenith of fame and praise with her performance in and as "Rehana Maryam Noor". She is now aiming far and beyond with her first Bollywood spy thriller series "Khufiya," directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.
In an exclusive interview with Star Showbiz, Badhan talked about her life, philosophy, and more.
You have been a strong advocate, and I daresay example, of women's empowerment.
It really feels amazing when young girls look up to me, support me.
However, I believe in the freedom of all people, not just women. Everyone is entitled to their basic rights, so I believe in establishing rights for all.
Rehana Maryam Noor is the film that got you to Cannes; how important was it in the context of your career?
I am glad that I was able to do the nation proud through this film. I couldn't believe it when the film was chosen for the 74th Cannes Film Festival.
I felt the same way after going there as I did when my daughter was born, which is a huge accomplishment for me.
This journey has enriched me as an artist.
Talk us through your experience in making 'Rehana' international.
I travelled for one and a half years, attending film festivals in various countries.
I was very fortunate in that wherever I went, I had the opportunity to mingle with big stars with whom I discussed movies, exchanged ideas, and developed relationships.
They were familiar with me, my work, and the films of my country. These are the highlights of an artiste's life.
What is it that you want out of life?
I want to live in a peaceful world. There is conflict in various parts of the world. The climate change issue is alarming as well. I urge everyone to take action now, considering that these issues will affect future generations in the long run.
What makes you happy after waking up in the morning?
Seeing my daughter's face just after waking up every day is what makes me the happiest person in the world.
Do you have any observations about our industry?
Our industry is still not making as many women-centric films as it should. It might be because we live in a patriarchal society. However, we have a lot of talented directors, scriptwriters, cameramen, and actors.
I really think the producers should come forward to invest in women-centric projects. They should not perceive the investments just as a money-making tools. As producers, they have a certain kind of responsibility towards society too.
I am grateful to Chorki for producing the women-centric series "Guti" and making me a part of it.
What kind of books do you read?
I read a lot of books. I feel that there's no alternative to learning. Autobiographies attract me the most. I get to know people through this genre.