So, who was the most difficult character to portray? Which do you consider your most challenging role to date?

Azmi: You know, the one person that I was really surprised to discover in myself was Jamini, the character I played in Mrinal Sen’s Khandar. To find Jamini, I had to go deep inside the recesses of my own being and, when I did, I was actually startled to discover that she actually existed.

How do you get in touch with someone who you think exists within you? How do you isolate this person? Is there a process?

Azmi: The first time you hear a story is very important—whether it is narrated in three lines or as an entire script. The first narration is very important for me for something clicks during that time. Mrinalda narrated the story to me in five lines— and something pulled me to that character and I said, “Yes, this could be challenging”. What happened is that Khandar came immediately after Mandi. And for Mandi, I had put on weight and was very gregarious on the sets and it was one big jhamela…and in three weeks I was reporting for Khandar, set in these ruins in Shanti Niketan. And very subconsciously—it is only in retrospect that I am able to understand this—I decided that I was going to be by myself; no make-up man, no hairdresser, no nothing, just my books and my music. It was as though I had decided to withdraw from life’s experiences. For with Mandi I had expanded the barriers of my own persona and I had to find the quiet, tragic but dignified Jamini from somewhere within. So it was a very reserved Shabana on those sets. Looking back, I realize that it also had to do with the ruins. You know, they do something to you. You really get affected by your environment.

Ameen Merchant with Shabana Azmi (Rungh, Film & Video Issue II)

A holder of chains - A different take on the Reaper

Hmm, I am not sure if I understood fully what Koori meant with these two lines:

but I am still going to try. 

if we take into consideration that he thought that Furuta, as this sort of Reaper is a God, then we have a rather different type of view on the “Reaper” than we had before. In the past people like Arima were shown as the Reaper because he took lives, he killed many ghouls and was thus called  The Reaper of CCG because of that. In here the Reaper seems to be something different. Koori sees Furuta as  Reaper who holds “the dead” in chains, under his command. Okihira is in these chains, as well as Hairu and etc..If you want to Reaper to release it`s chains over the dead, you better pray to him. Jamini´s Box version of this is a bit better worded in my opinion, and I think it gets this idea across better. There Koori says:

 “Okahira….his life is restrained. Wrapped tight by the chains of the Reaper. But still…If the Reaper is the only God out there then I`ll cling onto it.”

So Ui sees Furuta as a Reaper who instead of claiming lives, holds the dead tightly in his hands. He rules over the dead, I guess you could say. 


The National Gallery of Modern Art is the premier art gallery under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The main museum at Jaipur House in New Delhi was established on March 29, 1954 by the Government of India, with subsequent branches at Mumbai and Bangalore. Its collection of more than 14,000 works includes works by Indian and foreign artists such as Raja Ravi Verma, Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy and Amrita Sher-Gil. Some of the oldest works preserved here date back to 1857.

(Rajpath, Delhi)