Zeenat Aman born (November 19, 1951) is an Indian actress. Zeenat Aman was born to a Muslim father and a Hindu mother. Amanullah, her father was one of the writers for the movie Mughal-e-Azam and he died when Zeenat was just 13. Aman graduated from St. Xavier’s School in Mumbai and went to Los Angeles for her studies. Upon returning to India, she first took a job as a journalist for Femina and then later on moved on to modeling. She was the second runner up in the Miss India Contest and went on to win the Miss Asia Pacific in 1970. She was considered a sex symbol during the 70s.
Film career 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 unique roles – she was cast as the opportunist who deserts her jobless lover for a millionaire (Roti Kapda Aur Makaan), the ambitious girl who considers aborting her baby 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(This is rated by many as one of the landmark movies in Indian Cinema)
The beginning 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.
Work with Dev Anand However, an error of judgment on actress Zaheeda’s part changed the course of Aman’s career. Dev Anand offered Zaheeda (his second heroine in Prem Pujari) the role of sister in Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1972). Overlooking the fact that the role was important, Zaheeda wanted the heroine’s role (eventually played by Mumtaz), and she opted out. Aman was chosen as a last-minute replacement.
In Hare Ram Hare Krishna, Aman, aided by R. D. Burman’s song “Dum Maro Dum” (Take Another Toke), won over the audience as Janice. She earned a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award and BFJA Award as 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.
The late 1970s Aman, in her later career, found success with other banners such as B. R. Chopra, Nasir Hussain, Shakti Samanta, Manoj Kumar and Manmohan Desai.
In 1978, she starred in Raj Kapoor‘s massively publicised Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), however, the film was not much of a success. The subject ironically dealt with the notion of the soul being more attractive than the body, but Kapoor chose to showcase Aman’s sex-appeal. The actress was highly criticized for her exposure but somehow, the film is what made her famous later on. She also earned a Filmfare nomination as Best Actress for this film.
Aman’s entry into Hollywood also backfired when Krishna Shah‘s Shalimar (1978), co-starring Dharmendra and international names like Rex Harrison and Sylvia Miles, proved to be a failure in the USA. Zeenat possessed a convent schoolgirl accent and a penchant for revealing dresses. She matched Gina Lollobrigida in the battle of oomph at Shalimar‘s launch. Westernised heroines like Parveen Babi and Tina Munim now followed in her footsteps, by the late 1970s. Aman continued to act in hits like Dharam Veer and Don.
The 1980s Unlike her breakthrough roles in the early 1970s, Aman was increasingly asked to just provide sex appeal in hero-oriented, multi-star films. In contrast to this trend was her performance as a rape victim seeking justice in B. R. Chopra’s Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1980) for which she received a Filmfare Best Actress nomination. This film was followed by success in the love triangle Qurbani (1980). Aman enjoyed a phase of renewed fame when she associated with Sanjay Khan during Abdullah (1980), a colourful costume drama set in the arid desert.
Personal life Zeenat married Mazhar Khan and was happily settled with her two sons Azhar and Azaan when fate played truant once again. Mazhar was ill with liver dysfunction and Zeenat spent all her savings for his treatment. The disease however was fatal. Mazhar Khan died in September 1998 . What followed was five traumatic years when her in-laws defamed her in public, snatched her son and brainwashed him to the extent that he refused to go back to his mother and even abused her.
Within a span of two years she lost her husband, her mother, and her son got estranged. Zeenat with the help of her former friends like Dimple Kapadia decided to let the world know her side of the story. She called a press conference and clarified all the allegations leveled against her.
Today, Aman lives with her two sons and makes many social appearances. She is seen on screen rarely, in films such as Bhopal Express and the Kaizad Gustad film Boom. In 2006, she acted in the film Jaana – Let’s Fall In Love with Rajesh Khanna.
Controversies Zeenat Aman has campaigned for DP Yadav,a politician who is facing several criminal charges in the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in May 2007.
2005 – Bollywood’s “Female Sex Symbol of All Time” by DesiClub.com