Biography|August 4, 2012 3:24 pm

Zeenat Aman Biography

Zeenat Aman born 19 November 1951) is an Indian actress who has appeared in Hindi films, notably in the 1970s and 1980s. She was the second runner up in the Miss India Contest and went on to win the Miss Asia Pacific in 1970. Upon making her debut in Bollywood, Aman was credited with making a lasting impact on the image of its leading actresses by bringing the western heroine look to Hindi cinema, and throughout her career has been considered a sex symbol.

Zeenat Aman was born in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) on 19 Nov 1951 to a Muslim father, Amanullah Khan and a Hindu mother. Her father was a script writer who was one of the writers for such movies as Mughal-e-Azam and Pakeezah. He died when Zeenat was 13. Her mother got re-married to a German, Mr. Heinz (was constantly referred to as Mrs. Heinz in all subsequent articles film magazines would carry on Zeenat). Zeenat’s mother obtained German citizenship, and took her to Germany, where Zeenat was very unhappy, returning to India as soon as she turned 18.

Aman graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and went to University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California for further studies on student aid. Upon returning to India, she first took a job as a journalist for Femina and then later on moved on to modeling. One of the first few brands that she modeled for was Taj Mahal Tea and Television X Debut in 1966 exclusively. She was the second runner up in the Miss India Contest and went on to win the Miss Asia Pacific in 1970.

After having studied in Los Angeles, winning the Miss Asia Pageant and a successful modeling career, Aman’s film career began with a small role in O. P. Ralhan’s Hulchul in 1971. A second role in Hungama(1971), starring singer Kishore Kumar, was also not successful.

Dev Anand offered Zaheeda (his second heroine in Prem Pujari) the role of sister in Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1972). Not realizing the importance of this secondary role, Zaheeda wanted the lead female part (eventually played by Mumtaz), and she opted out. Aman was chosen as a last-minute replacement.

In Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Aman, aided by R. D. Burman’s song “Dum Maro Dum” (Take Another Toke), won over the heart’s of audience as Janice. She earned a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award and BFJA Award for Best Actress. Throughout the 1970s, the Dev-Zeenat pairing was seen in half a dozen films: Heera Panna (1973), Ishq Ishq Ishq (1974), Prem Shastra (1974), Warrant (1975), Darling Darling (1977) and Kalabaaz (1977). Of these, Warrant, was the biggest box-office success.
Her hip looks in Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973) as the girl carrying a guitar, singing “churaliya hai tumne jo dil ko” (in Asha Bhonsle’s voice) has won her more popularity and the hearts of millions of fans.

She appeared on every Hindi film magazine’s cover during 1970s. In December 1974, Cine Blitz magazine was launched with Zeenat Aman on its cover, a testimony to her popularity at the time. However, she went on as the favourite cover girl of the popular magazine ‘Stardust’.

Aman’s sultry persona was a contrast to many of the more conservative stars of the era. At a time when heroines were obedient wives and lovers on screen, Aman was drawn to more unconventional roles—she was cast as the opportunist who deserts her jobless lover for a millionaire (Roti Kapda Aur Makaan), the ambitious girl who considers having an abortion in order to pursue a career (Ajnabee), the happy hooker (Manoranjan), the disenchanted hippie (Hare Rama Hare Krishna), the girl who falls in love with her mother’s one-time lover (Prem Shastra), and a woman married to a caustic cripple but involved in an extramarital relationship (Dhund). She managed to balance these roles with acting in more conventional films such as Chori Mera Kaam, Chhaila Babu, Dostana and Lawaaris, which is considered by many to be a landmark in Indian Cinema. Encyclopædia Britannica’s “Encyclopedia of Hindi Cinema” wrote, “Zeenat Aman had a definite impact on the characterization of the heroine in Hindi films. With films such asHare Rama Hare Krishna and Yaadon Ki Baraat, she fashioned the image of the youthful and westernized woman in Hindi cinema.”
Aman’s persona was such that newcomers were, and still are compared to her. Parveen Babi was called “The poor man’s Zeenat Aman”, Sarika was christened “Zeenat Aman 2” and Padmini Kolhapure was named “Baby Zeenat”.

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