My first colour blind casting: Shabana Azmi on ‘Halo’

PTI, Mar 3, 2022, 10:27 AM IST

Mumbai:  Veteran Indian actor Shabana Azmi, who will be seen in Steven Spielberg-produced series “Halo”, on Thursday said the show marks her first color-blind casting since she began working in Western films almost 34 years ago.

The 71-year-old actor made her feature film debut with director Shyam Benegal’s 1974 film “Ankur”, which won her first National award for best actress.

Azmi has appeared in many films both in independent and mainstream cinema-like “Junoon”, “Shatranj Ke Khiladi”, “Khandhar”, “Arth”, “Fire”, “Godmother” and “Neerja” among others, besides acting in international projects like John Schlesinger’s “Madame Sousatzka”, Roland Joffe’s “City of Joy” and “Son of Pink Panther”, among others.

In a Twitter post, while sharing her first look from “Halo”, Azmi — An alumna of Pune’s Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), and five-time National award-winner — recalled the struggle Asian actors face in terms of casting while foraying in the West.

Azmi plays the role of Admiral Margaret Paragonsky, the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence in the series.

“As Admiral Margaret Paragonsky in #HALO- my first color-blind casting since I started working in the West 34 years ago. What a struggle it’s been for Asian actors. Releasing on 24th March,” she wrote.

“Halo”, an adaptation of the megahit video game of the same name, features Natascha McElhone, Bokeem Woodbine, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac, and Kate Kennedy.

Directed by Otto Bathurst, in the series McElhone will star as two characters: Dr. Catherine Halsey, the creator of the Spartan supersoldiers, and Cortana, the most advanced AI in human history, while Woodbine will essay the role of Soren-066.

“Halo” will premiere on March 24 on Paramount+ and on Voot Select in India.

Azmi will also be seen in Karan Johar-directed “Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani”, also starring Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Jaya Bachchan and Dharmendra.

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