Veteran actor and theatre artiste Shaukat Kaifi, mother of Shabana Azmi and wife of celebrated poet Kaifi Azmi, passed away at her Juhu home at 5 pm on Friday. The news was revealed by Shabana’s husband, Javed Akhtar, who confirmed that she was hospitalised for a few days after which she insisted to be taken back at her house where she died of a heart attack. Shaukat was 93 and was dealing with age-related issues.
The actor, along with her husband who was a famous lyricist in the Hindi film industry, was one of the most respected names in the history of Indian cinema and the theatre world. Shaukat was known to have driven the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and the Progressive Writers Association (IWA), the known cultural platforms of the Communist Party of India.
As revealed in a report written by Anjum Rajabali, a close friend of Shaukat and her family, in Mid-Day, she was a person of open heart and too-generous-for-words. Shaukat was best known for her performance in the role of Khanum Jaan in Umrao Jaan that released in the year 1981 and featured Rekha in the lead. She also played prominent roles in many acts organised by Prithviraj Kapoor’s Prithvi Theatre. Some of them include Deewar, Africa Jawan Pareshan, Aazar Ka Khwab and Tanhai among others.
Shakat Aapa, as she was fondly known among her peers, also had an autobiography named Kaifi and I which was launched by her daughter Shabana in 2005. The book was converted for a stage performance the following year in which Shabana played the role of her mother and Javed performed the character of Kaifi Azmi.
Shaukat Kaifi’s funeral procession will leave from 25, Janki Kutir, at 3 pm on Saturday, and end at Sunni Kabrastan, four Bungalows. May her soul rest in peace!