Veteran actress of crossover cinema Shabana Azmi attended special screening of her upcoming American-Indie comedy drama ‘Signature Move’ along with film’s lead actress and writer Fawzia Mirza at 19th Jio MAMI Film Festival on Tuesday in Mumbai. While interacting with media, Shabana stated that ‘Signature Move’ tries to normalize gay relationships.
Talking about ‘Signature Move’, Shabana Azmi said, “The kind of adulation this film is getting at international circuit is all because of Fawzia who has written the film and acted in the film. Most importantly, story of this film is really beautiful. It’s a story of mother and daughter. I feel USP of this film is that it tries to normalize gay relationship. It doesn’t discriminate gay or homosexuals as people from the other world. Without carrying a bandwagon, it normalizes gay community and that is the most important thing”
Shabana Azmi played lesbian in Deepa Mehta’s ‘Fire’ (1996) along with Nandita Das, When asked Azmi, how does feel to be part of this film, She said, “Fawzia really wanted me to be part of this film because 20 years ago , I did film named ‘Fire’ so it was natural progression for me as an actress to play mother of a lesbian girl.”
Talking about gay and homosexuals relationships, Azmi said, “I feel in our society, if we don’t able to understand certain people then we label them as ‘others’ but when we normalize ‘the others’ then our empathy increases not just for gay community but for other religions, race, nation and gender. That’s why I feel this is important film. I do think that between the time when ‘Fire’ was released and now Signature Move’, there has been lot of sensitization and softening. You will be amazed that this discrimination doesn’t happen in India only, this still happens in countries like United States as well that was shocker for me”
Being a writer of the film and homosexual herself, talking about the film, Fawzia Mirza said, “Being with Shabana ji and Indian audience, there is nothing better in the world. This is the first time, I am attending MAMI so I am looking forward to be here”
“I also feel that we should have empathy towards everyone whether they are gay or straight, fat or thin, white or black, it doesn’t matter. Honestly, it’s all about normalizing gays, lesbians, browns, Mexicans, Muslims and non-Muslims people. I honestly believe that if every single person in the world would have little bit of empathy, we will change the world and it’s been privilege to be in India, we have been oppressed for so long as South-Asians that I don’t think we should be oppressing anybody else”
When asked Fawzia what inspired her to write this film, she said, “I inspired to write this film on an actual relationship of mine with Mexican woman being a South Asian woman. We found many connections across our food, family, mothers, culture and language that I felt what a beautiful way to show this similarities and connection across people instead of highlighting the difference”
“The mother that Shabana ji played in this film is inspired by my mother and many other mothers I know around the world. Some people call this film as romantic comedy but I like call it ‘mom-com’ because the relationship between mother and daughter that is very beautiful and important”
Azmi added, “In films, more often, we see relationships between father and son is being emphasized but between mother and daughter, when daughter is caregiver for mother, it’s very warm,lovely and funny as mother in this film is obsessed find husband for her daughter and more importantly, I convinced to do this film because Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Institute had mentored the script and Michael Shannon a very well known Chicago actor was investing in it. So obviously there is something special about the film and this film has received many accolades and awards that its won, so its testimony to that, so now India, you better like the film too”
‘Signature Move’ revolves around Zaynab (Fawzia Mirza), a thirty-something Pakistani, Muslim, lesbian in Chicago takes care of her TV-obsessed mother Parveen (Shabana Azmi). As Zaynab falls for Alma (Sari Sanchez), a bold and very bright Mexican woman, she searches for her identity in life, love and wrestling.
It stars Shabana Azmi, Fawzia Mirza and Sari Sanchez in lead roles.
It is directed by Jennifer Reeder and produced by Brian Hieggelke, Fawzia Mirza, Eugene Sun Park.