India Tribune is serializing profiles of top Bollywood sex symbols of all time. Bollywood sex symbols have been creating storms across India and worldwide. The list consists of female icons of Bollywood, who have impacted the history and changed the face of Bollywood.
Sharmila Tagore was born in a Hindu Bengali family in Hyderabad on December 8, 1946, she comes from an impressive family background. Her great grandfather is Nobel Prize Winner, Rabindranath Tagore, she’s married to Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Nawab of Pataudi, who is also a famous Indian Cricket captain and her son is actor Saif Ali Khan. Like many Bengali actresses, she began her film career in Kolkata in Oscar winner Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar (1959) as Aparna and Devi (1960) as the reincarnation of Hindu Goddess Kali. After gaining critical acclaim, she moved to Bollywood with Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) co-starring Shammi Kapoor. She effortlessly balanced both worlds of Indian art house cinema and Bollywood’s commercial films.
Why she’s sexy: Sharmila is sexy because she was considered one of the most elegant actresses in Bollywood. Women during the 1960s and 1970s copied her butterfly knot saree blouses and accentuated eye make up. She created a buzz when posing for a magazine cover in a bikini in 1960s India. Her publicity shot had Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist groups protesting her because she brought women’s sexuality to the forefront, demonstrating India’s strong Western influence. Even now, Sharmila Tagore is a fashion icon, she’s India’s answer to Audrey Hepburn.
Her impact on Bollywood: During her acting career, she became a super sensation alongside Rajesh Khanna in classic films Aradhana (1969), Safar (1970) and Amar Prem (1971). Their on screen paring reigned supreme, which mirrors the same effect Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan had. From April 2005 onwards, she is the head of the Indian Film Censor Board. The same year in the month of December, she served as the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She is also working on a film.
Interesting fact: Her marriage to Muslim Mansur Ali Khan created controversy because of her Hindu Brahman religious background. She was the first Bollywood actress to marry outside of her religion.