'Ankur' started Shabana Azmi's long association with director Shyam Benegal. A poignant film on male supremacy and orthodox feudal society, Shabana Azmi played Lakshmi, who becomes pawn in a patriarchal society.
'Shatranj Ke Khiladi' by Satyajit Ray, starred Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey and Shabana Azmi. The film went on to win several awards.
The film 'Mandi' is a satirical comedy on politics and prostitution, and stars Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Smita Patil. Azmi played a madam who ran the brothel on her own terms. A strong confident performance, Azmi teamed up with Shyam Benegal for this film.
In 'City of Joy', Shabana Azmi plays the wife of a rural farmer who moves to Kolkata with their three children in search of a better life. The film is based upon the novel of the same name by Dominique Lapierre.
Shekhar Kapur's 'Masoom' had Shabana Azmi playing a betrayed wife who has to come to terms with things when her husband brings his illegitimate child home to stay with the family.
Even though Smita Patil had a more difficult part in 'Arth', Shabana Azmi's restraint performance was spell-bounding.
Starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das, the film 'Fire' is the first of Deepa Mehta's Elements trilogy. It is followed by 'Earth' (1998) and 'Water' (2005). A film which raised eyebrows for showing homosexuality, the film had Shabana playing a middle-class submissive housewife, who comes of her own when she meets and eventually fall in love with her sister-in-law.
Her film 'Godmother' gained huge plaudits for her acting prowess. Directed by Vinay Shukla, the film was released in 1999, and inspired by the life of Santokben Jadeja. Shabana bagged the National Award for best actress.
In the mild adventurous thriller 'Makdee', specially catering to children, Shabana Azmi played Makdee, who is believed to be a witch.
'15 Park Avenue' is the story of the relationship between a woman, Meethi, (Konkona Sen Sharma) who suffers from schizophrenia, and her sister Anjali (Shabana Azmi) to keeps her life on hold to take care of her younger sister and mother.