Shabana Azmi was born on 18th September 1950 in Delhi. She is daughter of poet and Urdu writer Kaifi Azmi and stage heroin Shaukat Azmi. Baba Azmi is her brother who is a cinematographer. She took degree in Psychology from the St. Xavier's College and acting course from FTII, Pune.
At the starting of her career she was emotionally attached with Shekhar Kapoor (Film Director) but got married with famous poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar on 9th December 1984. This was Javed Akhtar's second marriage.
Shyam Benegal gave her first chance in the Bollywood with the film "Ankur" released in 1972. She won National Award for this film. Shabana made her first art film named "Faalsa" directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and film was released on 1974. She continuously got three National Awards for the films named as "Arth", "Khandhar" and the "Paar". Her film "Godmother" in 1999 also becomes much hit.
During 1980s, she performed many films. Some of her hit films were "Swami" released in 1977, Apne Paraye in 1980, "Masoom" in 1983, "Khamosh" in 1985, "Krishna" in 1987, "Ek Admi" in 1988 and the film "Disha" released in 1990. She got many Filmfare Awards and made image as talented and responsible actress.
Shabana started her career with performing on small screen. Her first television serial was "Anupama". In this serial she performed role of modern women. She performed many stage shows with M.S.Sathyu and name of play was "Safed Kundali" and another play was "Tumhari Amruta". Shabana like to take risks and performs different kinds of roles like playing role of Radha who love with her sister-in-law in film "Fire" released on 1996. For the role of Radha, she got international recognition with Best Actress Award.
Shabana performed near about 100 Hindi films which were normal as well as art films. Most of her films were international. Her films which got international approval were "Madame" directed by John Schlesinger, "Bengali Night" directed by Nicholas Klotz, "City of Joy" directed by Roland Joffe, and many more.