By Subhash K Jha
BOLLYWOOD: What’s it about women born on 19 November that makes them clutter-breakers of extraordinary dimensions? Zeenat Aman, Rehana Sultan and Sushmita Sen all 19th November-born scorpios. Fiercely independent , all there redefined the Hindi film heroine and ushered in a new-age post-feminist female protagonist who could look after herself quite well,thanks.
Presenting the 5 roles from the trio of sensuous 19 November Scorpios that broke the mould, and how.
Zeenat’s 5 Ground-Breakers
1. Hare Rama Hare Krishna: Starting out your career as the heroine’s sister? No way! Many leading ladies said no to the role of Dev Anand’s hippy sister. Zeenat grabbed the part and added Dum dum and more dum into her career.
2. Satyam Shivum Sunderam: With her face scarred and her body more exposed than any mainstream heroine dared, Zeenat romped across this epic film with a couldn’t-care-less grace that most heroines only dream about.
3. Manoranjan: A full-on whore, not the filmy kind whose activities are more perpendicular(dancing) than horizontal. Zeenat played a full-blown streetwalker in Shammi Kapoor’s directorial debut. She oozed oomph in the shortest of dresses and longest of coitus situations.
4. Pyaas: Playing a sweeper, yes you heard right, in a film directed by her discoverer O.P Ralhan Zeenat was as convincing as Smita Patil would have been were she to play Zeenat in a bio-pic. She failed. So what? Zeenat never shied away from trying.
5. Roti Kapada Aur Makaan: Another unconventional role where the heroine dumps her middleclass jobless boyfriend to marry wealth. Sharmila Tagore had refused the role.
Rehana Sultan’s 5 Ground-Breakers
1. Chetna: A prostitute who can’t adjust to a life of a normal housewife. It couldn’t get any bolder than that.
2. Dastak: A Muslim housewife who moves into a home earlier occupied by a prostitute and must deal with leery men knocking on her door all day long. Even today heroines who pride themselves on their unconventional choices would shudder at the prospect of doing this one.
3. Prem Parbat: Playing a 20-year old woman married to a 75-yar old man Rehana was assigned the thankless role of a woman whose sexual needs were frankly addressed by the script. She rose to the occasion.
4. Savera: Here’s the thing. Rehana Sultan could play against conventions and get away with it. In this film she plays a girl pregnant with her dead lover’s child .She hides the pregnancy to the man chosen for her marriage , only to discover later that he’s incapable of siring children.Can’t get any bolder than that.
5. Sajjo Rani: A prostitute’s daughter looking to break away from the family profession. Finally it was her bold eschewal of stereotypes that destroyed Rehana Sultan’s career.
Sushmita Sen’s 5 Ground-Breakers
1. Sirf Tum: Imagine playing the Other Woman in a Sanjay Kapoor-Priya Gill love story! But Sushmita took the risk. She never cared about the length or the impact of her role.
2. Biwi No 1: While Karisma Kapoor got into a saree, Sushmita played the sautan with a certain élan usually denied to the Other Woman.
3. Chingari: As a hard-hitting village prostitute Sushmita tried hard to eradicate her chic and svelte personality. Full marks for trying.
4. Samay: When Time Strikes: Another gritty unconventional part of a cop and a single mother tracking down a serial killer.
5. Filhaal: Sushmita played a surrogate-mother to her best friend Tabu’s baby.This was the mother of Vickey Donor.
- 40 years later, I still dream of Zeenie Baby!
- Zeenat Aman finds new lover 30 years her junior
- Sushmita says rumours about her wedding to Wasim Akram are `absolute rubbish’