By Oindrila Muhuri Last Updated:
Veteran actress, Zeenat Aman was one of the most iconic actresses of her time. She made her acting debut with the film, Hare Ram Hare Krishna in 1971. Not only that, in 1970, at the mere age of 19, she became the first Indian to win the Miss Asia Pacific pageant. Some of her notable works were in the films like Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime, Don, Yaadon Ki Baarat, Laawaris, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, and Dharam Veer. However, her character 'Rupa' in the film, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, catered to huge criticisms at that time. Now, almost after 44 years, the actress opened up about the same and revealed many more anecdotes.
On February 16, 2023, Zeenat took to her IG handle and shared a throwback picture from her 1978 film, Satyam Shivam Sundaram. In the monochrome picture, she looked beautiful while flaunting her curves in a skirt and blouse with a plunging neck cut. Along with it, she mentioned the details of the photoshoot and also opened up about the controversy going on at that time regarding her. She wrote:
"This picture was taken by photographer J P Singhal during a look test for Satyam Shivam Sundaram around 1977. We shot the series at R K Studios, and my costumes were designed by Oscar winner Bhanu Athaiya. Anyone acquainted with the history of Bollywood will know that there was much controversy and brouhaha about my character Rupa in Satyam Shivam Sundaram."
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Further, Zeenat talked about the accusations she had faced in the late 1970s regarding obscenity and sensuality shown in the film, Satyam Shivam Sundaram. In her note, she mentioned that whatever was shown in the film was all about the director's choice. However, mentioning that the set wasn't a sensual space and penned:
"I was always quite amused by the accusations of obscenity as I did not and do not find anything obscene about the human body. I am a director’s actor and these looks were part of my job. Rupa’s sensuality was not the crux of the plot, but a part of it. As it is, the set is not even remotely a sensual space. Every move is choreographed, rehearsed and performed in front of dozens of crew members."
At the end of her note, Zeenat mentioned how she had to convince Raj Kapoor to cast her in the film by performing a look test. Elaborating more about it, the veteran actress shared that she had to shoot a reel on a song, Jaago Mohan Pyare, from a 1956 film, which was also screened. She concluded:
"Director Raj Kapoor (Rajji) had brought me on board the film, but was concerned about my “western” image. He was unsure whether the audience would accept me in this avatar, and so conducted this look test. Later, on the basis of this test, we shot a small reel picturised on Lata ji’s famous song ‘Jaago Mohan Pyare’ from the 1956 film Jagte Raho. Rajji held a screening of the reel at R K Studios to gauge the response of his distributors to me in this role. After that first screening, the rights for all territories were immediately sold."
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Despite being the dream of millions of men, Zeenat's love and marriage life wasn't a bed of roses. For the unversed, she tied the knot for the first time in 1978 with the already-married man, Sanjay Khan. But soon, Sanjay left her, and their wedding was annulled in 1979. Afterwards, she married Mazhar Khan in 1985 and welcomed two sons, Azaan Khan and Zahaan Khan. However, as many may know, their marriage was full of kicks and slaps from the filmmaker on her. She had to deal with a lot of emotional and physical turmoil, so much so that once Mazhar had beaten her in such a way that Zeenat's eye was permanently damaged. Thus, in 1988, she decided to part ways with him just before his death.
What do you think about Zeenat's take on obscenity and sensuality portrayed by her on-screen? Let us know!
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