Veteran actress and former Miss India Zeenat Aman, who recently made a splash with her Instagram debut, shared a picture from her film ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’. The old picture has a sepia tone. The picture belongs to the look test from the film, which was directed by Raj Kapoor and starred his younger brother Shashi Kapoor.
Taking to her Instagram on Thursday, the actress shared the picture as she revealed the history behind the picture in the caption, “This picture was taken by photographer JP Singhal during a look test for ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ around 1977. We shot the series at RK Studios, and my costumes were designed by Oscar winner Bhanu Athaiya.”
She then made an important point surrounding the concept of obscenity in the caption, “Anyone acquainted with the history of Bollywood will know that there was much controversy and brouhaha about my character Rupa in Satyam Shivam Sundaram. I was always quite amused by the accusations of obscenity as I did not and do not find anything obscene about the human body. I am a director’s actor and these looks were part of my job.”
“Rupa’s sensuality was not the crux of the plot, but a part of it. As it is, the set is not even remotely a sensual space. Every move is choreographed, rehearsed and performed in front of dozens of crew members,” she continued.
The director of the film had his own reservation with regards to the actress playing the character of a girl who was essentially from a village and Zeenat had the persona of a ‘western’ woman, “Director Raj Kapoor (Rajji) had brought me on board the film, but was concerned about my ‘western’ image. He was unsure whether the audience would accept me in this avatar, and so conducted this look test. Later, on the basis of this test, we shot a small reel picturised on Lata ji’s famous song ‘Jaago Mohan Pyare’ from the 1956 film ‘Jagte Raho’.”
There was also a small screening for a focused group to gauge their response, “Rajji held a screening of the reel at RK Studios to gauge the response of his distributors to me in this role. After that first screening, the rights for all territories were immediately sold.”
Zeenat Aman, who won both Miss India and Miss Asia Pacific in 1970, has been one of the most revered actresses of the retro era. As much as she was recognised for her on-screen work, she also had a troubled personal front.
Zeenat, who was the dream of every man in the 1970s, fell in love with Sanjay Khan (the father of Zayed Khan and Sussanne Khan) on the sets of the film ‘Abdullah’. Sanjay Khan was already married and had three kids from his marriage back then.
However, one night as the actress was shooting in Lonavala for a project, she received a call from Sanjay, who asked her to reshoot a portion of the song.
To which, Zeenat replied by saying that her dates are already occupied as she had committed to another project. As per ‘Cine Blitz magazine, an angry Sanjay then accused Zeenat of being involved with the makers.
Hurt by this, the actress left her shoot in Lonavala and drove down to Mumbai. As she reached Sanjay’s house, she was told that the actor was partying at the Taj hotel. She then went to the hotel to settle the dates.
Upon seeing her at the hotel, Sanjay got so angry that he took her to a nearby room and brutally beat her up leaving her with bruises. Not just this, Sanjay’s wife Zarine cheered for her husband as he attacked Zeenat, saying ‘give the b***h what she deserves’ and herself started attacking the ‘Don’ actress.
While this incident happened in front of many onlookers, nobody bothered to come to Zeenat’s rescue. Finally, a steward intervened and saved Zeenat from Sanjay. Even though she was in pain, she didn’t report Sanjay’s disgusting act to the police.