Zeenat Aman (born as Zeenat Khan) is an Indian actress, former model and beauty queen, who is best recognized for her work in Bollywood films, and is widely considered to be a highly influential actress in Indian cinema. She was one of the highest paid actresses throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, with her career spanning nearly fifty years. She has received a wide variety of awards throughout her film career, including winning a Filmfare award for her role as Jasbir/Janice in Hare Rama Hare Krishna, and being nominated for two Filmfare awards for her roles as Roopa in Satyam Shivam Sundaram, and as Bharti in Insaf Ka Tarazu.
Zeenat Aman in 2018
19 November 1951
|Alma mater||University of Southern California, Los Angeles|
|Years active||1971–1989, 1999–present|
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Title||Femina Miss India Asia Pacific 1970|
Miss Asia Pacific 1970
(m. 1978; annulled 1979)
(m. 1985; died 1998)
At a young age, Zeenat began her professional career as a short-lived journalist for Femina magazine. Shortly after, she began to take up modelling, endorsing various brands and products, such as Taj Mahal Tea. At the age of 19, she then went on to participate in beauty pageants following her success with modelling. She won both the Femina Miss India pageant amd the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant in 1970, and was internationally acclaimed for her wins.
Zeenat then began her film career making appearances in minor films, her first films being The Evil Within, Hungama, and Hulchul, all of which were box office flops. On the verge of quitting and moving from India, it wasn’t until 1971 when Zeenat was approached by Dev Anand to star in his self-directed movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna that she made her official debut as an actress. The film had brought her much fame, and her performance was critically praised. Throughout the majority of her career, Zeenat became known for being one of the few to play more bold and controversial roles in Bollywood, breaking the traditional taboo and revolutionizing the Bollywood industry, alongside other actresses such as Rekha and Parveen Babi.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Professional career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Awards and nominations
- 5 Style and influence
- 6 Filmography
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Zeenat Aman was born in Bombay in 1951. Her mother, Scinda Vardhini Karvaste, is from Maharashtra. Zeenat is the cousin of actor Raza Murad and niece of actor Murad. Her father, Amanullah Khan, was related to the Bhopal State ruling family. Her mother was Brahmin Maharashtrian and her father of Afghan descent. He was a script writer for movies such as Mughal-e-Azam and Pakeezah, and often wrote under the nom de plume "Aman", which Zeenat Aman later adopted as her second name on screen. He died when Zeenat Aman was 13. Her mother afterwards married a German man called Heinz and also obtained German citizenship.
She did her schooling in Panchgani and went to University of Southern California in Los Angeles for further studies on student aid, but she could not complete her graduation. Upon her return to India, she first took up a job as a journalist for Femina and then moved on to modeling. One of the first few brands that she modeled for was Taj Mahal Tea in 1966. She was the second runner-up in the Miss India Contest and went on to win the Miss Asia Pacific in 1970.
Early career and modeling (1960–1969)Edit
Zeenat studied in Los Angeles from early on, and eventually began her career by starting off as a journalist, writing for Femina magazine. It was a short-lived occupation, and she later went on to try modelling - she modelled for various major/minor brands, and later on went to partake in beauty pageants. In 1970, Zeenat participated in the Femina Miss India pagaent, and ended up to be the winner of it. Much fame was brought to her after her win, and she had appeared in a few more beauty pagaents following. She won the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant in the same year, and her modelling career had taken off.
Early acting, debut and stardom (1970–1979)Edit
Following her successful modeling career, Aman's film career began with a small role in O. P. Ralhan’s Hulchul in 1971. She had a second brief role in Ralhan's Hungama (1971) opposite Vinod Khanna, starring singer Kishore Kumar, Mehmood and Helen; but both films were unsuccessful, and she was ready to pack her bags to leave India and was ready to go to Malta with her mother and stepfather. However, she changed her mind when Dev Anand approached Zeenat to star in his movie, after he offered Zaheeda (his second heroine in Prem Pujari) the role of his sister in Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), which Zaheeda rejected due to Zaheeda wanting the lead female part (which was eventually played by Mumtaz). Zeenat had been chosen as a last-minute replacement. In Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Zeenat Aman, aided by the R. D. Burman song Dum Maro Dum, she won over the hearts of the audience as Jasbir/Janice. She earned a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award and BFJA Award for Best Actress.
Following the success of the film, Aman and Dev Anand had worked together in quite a few films; they starred together in films like Heera Panna (1973), Ishq Ishq Ishq (1974), Prem Shastra (1974), Warrant (1975), Darling Darling (1977) and Kalabaaz (1977). Of these, Warrant turned to be the biggest hit at the box-office.
In 1973, Aman starred in Yaadon Ki Baaraat as Sunita. The film was idolized and marked as a classic, and Aman became known at the time as the girl carrying a guitar, for her performance in the segment Churaliya hai tumne jo dil ko (in Asha Bhosle's voice), winning her an immense amount of popularity, and thus winning the hearts of millions of fans. Zeenat then went on to appear in many Hindi film magazine covers during the 1970s. In December 1974, Cine Blitz magazine was launched with Zeenat Aman on its cover, adding to her popularity and verifying her credibility at the time.
In her career and her success with Navketan Films and Dev Anand, she found success with other banners, such as B. R. Chopra, Raj Kapoor, Manmohan Desai, Feroz Khan, Nasir Hussain, Manoj Kumar, Prakash Mehra, Raj Khosla and Shakti Samanta.
In 1978, she starred in Raj Kapoor's massively publicised Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), however, the film was heavily criticized. The subject 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 at a later stage, the film had a great deal to do with Aman's fame and the movie itself was distinguished as a work of art. She earned a Filmfare nomination as Best Actress for this film.
Aman then attempted to make an entry into Hollywood, backfiring when Krishna Shah's 1978 Shalimar, co-starring Dharmendra, Shammi Kapoor and international names like Rex Harrison, John Saxon and Sylvia Miles, proved to be a box-office bomb in both the United States and in India. Aman’s success around the time wavered, with negative revies of Shalimar along with the discouraging controversies of Satyam Shivam Sundaram, but Aman was able to bounce back, starring in many successful commercial films throughout the rest of the year, sucb as Heeralal Pannalal and Chor Ke Ghar Chor. In that same year, Zeenat went to star as Roma in Don. Her reasons for accepting the role in Don were altruistic, and refused to take remuneration for it due to wanting to help the producer of the film, Nariman Irani, who was losing money and eventually died midway through filming. The film was a commercial success, and highly influential throughout Bollywood. Her role characterized as a Westernized revenge-seeking action heroine helped contribute to the film's huge success, and her fans and success had surfaced once again with her. Westernized heroines such as Parveen Babi, Tina Munim and Rekha followed in her footsteps, playing bold roles just like she had done. Aman continued to act in more box-office throughout the 70s, a few being Dharam Veer, Chhailla Babu and The Great Gambler.
Further acting, major successes and temporary retirement (1980–1989)Edit
This section needs expansion with: This section is very vague of her achievements throughout this period.. You can help by adding to it. (September 2019)
By the beginning of the 1980s, multi-starrer films became a trend, and Aman was increasingly asked to provide sex appeal in hero-oriented films. However, in contrast, she instead was casted 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 much more success, starring in box-office hits Qurbani (1980), Alibaba Aur 40 Chor (1980), Dostana (1980) and Lawaaris (1981). The films were deemed classics, and Zeenat gained international recognition for her successes.
Comeback, further acting, and Panipat (1999–present)Edit
After 10 years, Zeenat came back to the silver screen doing a cameo role in the film Bhopal Express (1999). Aman then went on to do roles in Boom (2003), Jaana... Let's Fall in Love (2006), Chaurahen (2007), Ugly Aur Pagli (2008), Geeta in Paradise (2009), Dunno Y... Na Jaane Kyon (2010) and Strings of Passion (2012).
In 2004, she appeared as Mrs. Robinson in the play The Graduate staged at St Andrew's auditorium in Mumbai. Zeenat Aman had a TV show called In Conversation with Zeenat made by B4U TV, and also made an appearance along with Hema Malini in the popular show Koffee with Karan hosted by Karan Johar.
She received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Zee Cine Awards function in 2008 as a recognition of her contribution to Hindi Cinema. She also received An Outstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema award at IIFA awards 2010 held at Colombo, Sri Lanka. She dedicated this award to her mother.
Zeenat Aman went through two marriages, one with Sanjay Khan for a year, and one with Mazhar Khan, from 1985 to his death in 1998. She had two children with Mazhar and was in a relationship for 13 years. It was said that both Mazhar and Sanjay Khan were abusive. In both of these marriages, Zeenat stated she was unhappy.
It was reported that Zeenat was aggressively beaten by Sanjay Khan. There was reportedly a lengthy argument between the two after Zeenat received a phone call from Sanjay asking to discuss specifics for the film Abdullah. She then decided to meet him at the hotel he was staying at, where she was then taken into a separate room of the hotel as there was a private party going on at the time she arrived, and Zeenat was beaten, resulting in many injuries. This had been seen by his wife, who had allegedly cheered him on to keep doing so. This incident was the cause of damage in one of her eyes, leading to a lazy eye. It was not until the hotel's security intervened that the abuse stopped. Zeenat has stated that she pretends this incident never happened.
Awards and nominationsEdit
- 1972 - Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Hare Rama Hare Krishna
- 1978 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for Satyam Shivam Sundaram
- 1980 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for Insaaf Ka Tarazu
- 2010 - "Outstanding Contribution to Indian cinema" at the 11th IIFA awards
- 2011 - "Best Contribution to Indian cinema" at the 11th IIFA awards
- 1970 - Femina Miss India Asia Pacific 1970
- 1970 - Miss Asia Pacific 1970
- 1970 - Special Awards - Miss Photogenic at Miss Asia Pacific 1970
- 2003 - Bollywood Awards 'Award for Lifetime Achievement'- Lifetime of Glamour.
- 2006 - "Outstanding Contribution to the Motion Picture Industry of India Awards" at the eighth annual Bollywood Movie Awards.
- 2008 - Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement
- 2018 - Society Achievers Award -Lifetime Achievement
Style and influenceEdit
Zeenat Aman's 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 the screens of Hindi Cinema, 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, Chhailla Babu, Dostana and Lawaaris, which is considered by many to be a landmark in Indian Cinema.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|1971||Hare Rama Hare Krishna||Jasbir/Janice||Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|1973||Yaadon Ki Baaraat||Sunita|
|1974||Roti Kapda Aur Makaan||Sheetal|
|1974||Ajanabee||Reshmi Kumar Saxena|
|1977||Dharam Veer||Rajkumari Pallavi|
|1977||Hum Kisise Kum Naheen||Sunita Kewalchand|
|1978||Satyam Shivam Sundaram||Roopa||Filmfare Nomination for Best Actress|
|1979||The Great Gambler||Shabnam|
|1980||Alibaba Aur 40 Chor||Fatima|
|1980||Insaf Ka Tarazu||Bharti Saxena||Filmfare Nomination for Best Actress|
|2019||Panipat||Sakeena Begum||Post production|
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