Shabana Azmi (born 18 September 1950) is an Indian actress of film, television and theatre. An alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India of Pune, she made her film debut in 1974 and soon became one of the leading actresses of Parallel Cinema, a Bengali new-wave movement known for its serious content and neo-realism and received government patronage during the times. Regarded as one of the finest actresses in India, Azmi's performances in films in a variety of genres have generally earned her praise and awards, which include a record of five wins of the National Film Award for Best Actress and several international honours. She has also received four Filmfare Awards.Azmi has appeared in over 120 Hindi and Bengali films in both mainstream and independent cinema, and since 1988 she has acted in several foreign projects. Numerous of her films have been cited as a form of progressivism which portrays Indian society, its customs and traditions. In addition to acting, Azmi is a social and women's rights activist. She is the wife of poet and screenwriter Javed Akhtar. She is a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) which seeks to spread contraception and abortion in India in order to limit that country's population. In appreciation of Azmi's life and works, the Congress party's government gave her a nominated (unelected) membership of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament.