MUMBAI — Guess who is the lovely face in this photograph? Well, she went on to win the world!
This girl was born in 1951 in Mumbai to Maharashtrian Brahmin mother Vardhini Karvaste and Afghan father Amanullah Khan, who worked as a scriptwriter in the Mumbai film industry and wrote as “Aman”— you guessed right, among his work is “Mughal-E-Azam” and “Pakeezah.” He also acted in the 1950s film “Jadoo.”
He died young and the girl’s mother married a German and moved to Germany. The girl went to a top Panchgani boarding school — the hill-station is known for its premiere educational institutions. Later, she got a scholarship to study journalism at the University of Southern California. She left the course midway and returned to India and started work as a journalist with Femina magazine.
Soon, she took part in a pageant and became Femina Miss India and a top model. She was given breaks in the movie respectively by O.P. Ralhan (“Hulchul”) and writer-director S.M. Abbas (“Hungama”) in 1971and was almost on the point of following her mom to Germany because the films were disasters.
And then she was offered the role of a hippie in “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” by Dev Anand and her life changed — the film not only won her lasting fame but also her first award.
Like Shammi Kapoor in 1957, she changed forever the image of the Hindi film heroine and then rocked Hindi films for years as one of the highest-paid actresses, famous for her sex-appeal and a very Western persona. Today, she is known all over the world as one of the biggest names in Hindi cinema from the 1970s.
Yes, folks, her name is Zeenat Aman.