HT Brunch Cover Story: Saba has you covered

ByBy Vanessa Viegas
Jan 27, 2023 08:52 PM IST

The musician, actor and girl boss is set to amp up your weekend with book, screen, style and music recommendations

Wait, wait, wait. How many Saba Azads are there, anyway?

Actor, musician and cover girl Saba Azad says, “Boredom is such a valuable tool. I’m not sure we allow ourselves to be bored anymore”.
Actor, musician and cover girl Saba Azad says, “Boredom is such a valuable tool. I’m not sure we allow ourselves to be bored anymore”.

There’s the poised, assured actor who played Parvana Irani, aka Pipsy, the lawyer and Homi J Bhabha’s love interest in last year’s SonyLiv webseries Rocket Boys. Then, there’s the nutty singer/songwriter/performer in the decade-old electro-funk band MadBoy/Mink, alongside actor and musician Imaad Shah. Rewind a bit. You’ll find a theatre actor who’d been on stage since the age of five, working with the likes of Habib Tanvir and GP Deshpande. And scroll a bit through entertainment Reels and posts. Here’s another Saba Azad, her not-quite-smile waiting out paparazzi cameras as they zoom into her relationship with a famous action star (IYKYK).

Azad is clearly greater than the sum of her parts. “As someone with a limited attention span, it’s marvellous being able to do so many of the things I love,” she says. She acknowledges, a touch reluctantly, all the upsides of being more famous than before. . “The best one can hope for is an appreciation for your work and the respect of your peers. Everything else is white noise.”

HT Brunch Cover Story: Saba has you covered
HT Brunch Cover Story: Saba has you covered

The book follows the coming-of-age of a mixed-race teenager from South London in the 1970s, and his social, political, and sexual dilemmas and exploits. It’s amusing and touching all at once.

Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (2004)

On Saba’s playlist: Alfa Mist (@alfa mist)
On Saba’s playlist: Alfa Mist (@alfa mist)

Alfa Mist - He’s a British producer and pianist, and the music is hip hop meets jazz improv in a most interesting sound.

Natural child - A 2009 band, but feels like it lives in the 60s and I love the 60s!

Charlotte Gainsbourg - This French actress and musician is the correct amount of kook.

Jungle - If ever there was music to move to, this is it.

Saba recommends: Blue Lab Beats
Saba recommends: Blue Lab Beats

Blue Lab Beats - A London-based music duo and another nu jazz favourite and often my workout companion.

5 great under-the-radar shows or movies

Treme (2010-2013) by David Simon

This is about New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and how a community rebuilds their lives and holds on to their culture -- such good music too!

The Plot Against America (2020) by David Simon

Another David Simon show that creates an alternate reality in which Lindbergh defeats Roosevelt in 1940s America. It’s deeply relevant to the times we inhabit if not a visual essay in caution. Brilliant.

Gamak Ghar by Achal Mishra (2019)

This film is made in the Maithili language and follows a large Indian family as it gathers in an ancestral home over the years -- it’s a poetic portrait of change and shift away from village life to the city. Beautifully shot too.

Triangle of Sadness (2022)

Ruben Östlund, the director, creates a microcosm of the systems we inhabit and makes you question your own freedom -- how deeply entrenched are we in the social positions assigned to us by the economic systems that trap us? Just stunning.

The Bear (2022 -)

A hyper realistic show about a chef struggling to keep a restaurant afloat in the aftermath of the death of his brother who passed it on to him. Stuff of genius!

5 hacks for getting ready and looking stylish quickly

I’m far from stylish, I think you’ll find my personal style screams “hobo” So I’m not one to give advice but if you must,

Ice your face, it wakes it up.

Coordinate - when in doubt match your tops to your bottoms.

Black - Will never go out of style!

Sleek bun - On my bad hair day? Just tie it up and slick it back with some aloe vera gel

Lip and Cheek tint - This is the difference between tired and flushed and fresh and takes less than ten seconds to apply.

5 tips for creatives stuck in a rut

Stop trying to create for some time, give yourself a break, a change of state always helps.

Watch some great cinema, listen to some good music, read a good book -- inspiration can be found in all sorts of places.

Put the phone away and allow boredom to set in, boredom is the mother of creation (in my opinion.)

Travel - A physical change in space always helps.

Take yourself a little less seriously - Learn to laugh at yourself and drop judgment. Most days it’s self criticism that’s stopping us.

5 things she wishes she knew earlier in life

Work is not who you are, it’s just a small part of it.

School isn’t a reflection of the rest of your life.

Don’t start a business with a friend.

The premium put on “hard work” at the cost of one’s own health, physical and mental is the trappings of the economic system we inhabit and not a thing of virtue.

Fear is the death of creativity!

From HT Brunch, January 28, 2023

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