Beginning this week, India Tribune is going to publish one profile of top Bollywood sex symbols of all time. Bollywood sex symbols have been creating stream across India and worldwide. This list consists of the female icons of Bollywood, who have impacted the history and changed the future of Bollywood.
By Rita Bhattacharya
Zeenat Aman was born on November 19, 1950 in Germany, Zeenat Aman is the archetypal cosmopolitan Bollywood sex symbol. Her luscious body and blistering screen presence made her Bollywood’s object of erotic fantasies. She spent some time in California on an academic scholarship, then later returned to India as a journalist to work for Femina India magazine. Her co-workers encouraged her to enter the Femina India Beauty pageant, which she not only won but also succeeded in winning the Miss Asia Pacific title in 1970, making her the first ever South Asian winner. After winning both titles, Zeenat Aman’s breakthrough film, Hare Rama, Hare Krishna (1972) with Dev Anand catapulted her to super stardom. Her role as a pot smoking, cynical hippie who slept with her boyfriend shocked audiences in the 1970s. Zeenat Aman was proof of the sexual revolution that hit 1970’s India. Bollywood has never been the same since.
Why she’s sexy: Zeenat Aman is sexy. Looking at her, you’ll know why she’s number one on this list. She exudes sensuality with her toned figure and shoulder length hair, breaking the mold of traditional Indian beauty. Since she spent time in the US, she has this westernized sophistication no other A list Bollywood actress has. Not only does she have modern looks, she also wasn’t afraid to show off her amazing body in short skirts and see through sarees. In Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), Zeenat shocked audiences by going braless in a see-through, waterfall drenched white saree. In Don, she wears body hugging dresses and stylish pant suits and sports sexy short hair. She also made waves appearing in a super sexy Bikini in Qurbaani (1981), which was never seen before in mainstream Bollywood films.
Her impact on Bollywood: Even though she exuded mass sex appeal, to simply dismiss her as all looks and no substance is drastically wrong. She chose roles that differed from the traditional martyr type, by playing a woman who leaves her jobless boyfriend for a millionaire in Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (1974) with Manoj Kapoor, a career minded woman, who considers abortion in Ajnabee (1974) with Shashi Kapoor, a vengeance seeking woman that can give Uma Thurman a run for her money in Don (1978) with Amithabh Bachchan and also in Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) with Shashi Kapoor as the partially disfigured Rupa. She also did a number of commercial films, like Lawaaris (1981) with Amitabh Bachchan and Qurbaani (1980) as a sexy lounge singer, which made her dominate the marquee for 14 years.
Interesting fact: In September 2004, Zeenat Aman entered London’s theater community by playing the role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. Considering the fact that she still looks amazing in her 50s, this role is truly fitting.