Q. You have turned 64! What plans this year?
Q: Do you enjoy the cake cutting and the gifts?
A: The cake cutting is a practice I do not like. When did it start in India and why, I do not know. In school, we were only allowed to give two sweets each to the entire class. It was a great leveller because it prevented the richer girls from being lavish and shows the not-so-rich ones in poor light! I'm not a great stickler for giving or receiving presents on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. as a 'must do'. I prefer giving a gift without occasion if I feel it's something a friend will like.
Q: But surely you like something?
A: I must confess that flowers are my weakness and I love receiving them, especially Indian fragrant flowers - Mogra, Rajnigandha, Sontakka etc.
Q: Which is the most memorable birthday you ever had?
A: My 50th birthday. All my friends came from various corners and Abba (father poet Kaifi Azmi) sat quietly through the noisy celebrations in a sherwani and 'topi' looking like the birthday person himself!! Javed was wonderful too, but it's too personal to share the details.
Q: 64... is it just a number or does it really mean a coming of age?
A: I'm at peace with my age. I've embraced life at all stages. I remember people were horrified when I celebrated my 50th! 'Don't announce your age', I was advised! How stupid is that.
Q: As an Indian actress, do you feel restricted by your age?
A: This is the best time to be an actor. There are many parts available for all age groups. It's no longer the stereotypical mother in a white sari and terrible wig sacrificing all for her family!
Q: Any unfulfilled dreams?
A: I would have loved to play the piano! Alas! It's too late now.
Q: If you had to change one thing in your life, what would that be?
A: It's too personal to answer.
Q: Generations of actors consider you a role model. What advice do you have for them?
A: Never become complacent, work hard. Embrace life!