Shabana Azmi honored with Freedom of London City award

Renowned actress Shabana Azmi receives the prestigious Freedom of London City Award for her outstanding contributions to cinema and activism.

Shabana Azmi honored with Freedom of London City award

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Renowned actress Shabana Azmi is beaming with pride and gratitude as she receives the prestigious Freedom of the City award from the London Corporation. The ceremony, held at Guild Hall on May 10, 2024, was a momentous occasion attended by distinguished personalities including Alister King, the incoming Lord Mayor, Baroness Gohir, and Samir Bhamra, who recommended her for the honor.

Expressing her overwhelming emotions, Azmi took to her social media platform, acknowledging the significance of the award previously bestowed upon luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and Florence Nightingale. She shared a photo capturing the memorable moment alongside Alister King, emphasizing her gratitude to him and others for recommending her for the esteemed recognition.

Azmi’s receipt of the Freedom of the City award underscores her exceptional contributions to the world of arts and culture, both within India and on the international stage. Her illustrious career, spanning over five decades, has seen her shine in over 140 Hindi films and a dozen international productions, with her debut performance in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Ankur’ marking the beginning of a remarkable journey.

Beyond her achievements in cinema, Azmi’s advocacy for women’s rights and public health has been unwavering. She serves as President of Nivara Hakk, a housing rights NGO, and leads the Mijwan Welfare Society, dedicated to uplifting rural India.

Chris Hayward, the City of London Corporation Policy Chairman, lauded Azmi’s multifaceted contributions, praising her as a trailblazer in global cinema and a catalyst for societal change. Alderman Alastair King DL echoed this sentiment, emphasizing Azmi’s remarkable impact both on and off the screen.

In her acceptance speech, Azmi expressed deep gratitude for the recognition, affirming her commitment to using her platform for positive change. The Freedom of the City award, with origins dating back to 1237, holds symbolic significance, enabling recipients to carry out their trade while honoring their exceptional contributions to society.

Azmi joins a distinguished list of recent recipients, including theatre luminaries Dame Rosemary Squire, Sir Howard Panter, and Sir Cameron Mackintosh, alongside sports icon Ian Wright and medical leader Professor Sir Chris Whitty.

As Azmi continues to inspire through her art and activism, her receipt of the Freedom of the London City award stands as a testament to her enduring legacy.