Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman, who went on to become Indian cinema's first 'sex-symbol', celebrates her 62nd birthday today (November 19), The actress is best remembered as the wayward hippie in 'Hare Krishna Hare Rama' and her sensuous avatar in Raj Kapoor's 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram'.
Here's a look at Zeenat Aman's turbulent personal life and rise and fall in Bollywood. (Express archive photo)
Zeenat Aman was born to Bollywood scriptwriter (for films like 'Mughal-e-Azam' and 'Pakeezah') Amanullah Khan and Scinda. Her father died when Zeenat was just 13.
Zeenat's mother got re-married to a German, Heinz and moved to Germany taking Zeenat along with her. But baby Zeenat was unhappy and returned to India as soon as she turned 18. (Express archive photo)
Zeenat Aman graduated from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai and went to University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USA) for further studies on student aid. Upon returning to India, she first took a job as a journalist for Femina and then later moved on to modelling. One of the first few brands that she modelled for was Taj Mahal Tea and Television X Debut in 1966 exclusively. (Express archive photo)
She was the second runner up at the Miss India Contest and went on to win the Miss Asia Pacific in 1970. Next year Zeenat Aman began her career in Bollywood with O.P. Ralhan's 'Hulchul'.
Zeenat Aman married actor Sanjay Khan in a secret ceremony. Their marriage did not even last a year (December 30, 1978 to November 24, 1979) and ended soon. There were reports that Sanjay Khan physically assaulted Zeenat Aman at a public party so violently that she lost vision in one eye.
In 1985, she married her co-star Mazhar Khan and had two sons Azaan and Zahaan. According to reports, Mazhar used to beat her up often and thus Zeenat filed for divorce. Later, Mazhar Khan died due to renal failure in September 1998.
Zeenat Aman now lives with her two sons and as of February 2013, is reportedly in relationship with a man younger than her.
Mazhar Khan, Zeenat Aman and her son Azaan. (Express archive photo)
Zeenat Aman was the unconventional heroine of her time in Bollywood. At the time when actresses were often seen as mere wives and lovers in films, Zeenat Aman was drawn to more unconventional roles. Encyclopædia Britannica's 'Encyclopedia of Hindi Cinema' wrote, "Zeenat Aman had a definite impact on the characterisation of the heroine in Hindi films. With films such as Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Yaadon Ki Baraat, she fashioned the image of the youthful and westernized woman in Hindi cinema." (Express archive photo)
Zeenat Aman's persona was such that newcomers were and still are compared to her. Parveen Babi was called 'The poor man's Zeenat Aman', Sarika was christened 'Zeenat Aman 2' and Padmini Kolhapure was named 'Baby Zeenat'. (Express archive photo)
After winning the Miss Asia Pageant Zeenat Aman began her career in Bollywood in 1971, with a small role in O.P. Ralhan's 'Hulchul' which did not fare well at Box Office. Her next film (1971) starring singer Kishore Kumar also bombed at Box Office.
After successive failure, Zeenat Aman was ready to pack her bags to leave India when she landed the role of Dev Anand's sister in 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' (1971). Aided by R. D. Burman's song "Dum Maro Dum" Zeenat Aman won over the heart's of audience as Janice.
Throughout 1970s, the Dev Anand-Zeenat Aman 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.
In 1973, Zeenat Aman was a sensation again with 'Yaadon Ki Baaraat' as the girl carrying a guitar, singing 'Churaliya Hai'.
She appeared on almost every Hindi film magazine's cover during 1970s. In December 1974, Cine Blitz magazine was launched with Zeenat Aman on its cover, a testimony to her popularity at the time. However, she went on as the favourite cover girl of the popular magazine 'Stardust'. (Express archive photo)
In 1978, she was seen in Raj Kapoor's 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' which was widely criticised. 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' showcased Zeenat Aman as a sex symbol. Zeenat Amam was highly criticised for her exposure and yet the film took Zeenat Aman's fame to new heights.
Zeenat Aman's entry into Hollywood 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 and in India. (Express archive photo)
In 1978, with the negative response from 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' and 'Shalimar', it was Amitabh Bachchan starrer 'Don' that came to her rescue. Son was a superhit.
According to reports, Zeenat Aman did not charge a penny for 'Don' as she wanted to help the film's producer Nariman Irani, who died while filming 'Don'.
Her role of a westernised revenge-seeking action heroine contributed to the film's huge success and her fans reconnected with her again.
By the beginning of the 1980s, multi-starrer films became a trend and Zeenat Aman was increasingly asked to just provide sex appeal in hero-oriented films, despite success in so many films.
In contrast to this trend was her performance as a rape victim seeking justice in B. R. Chopra's Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1980. This film was followed by success in the love triangle Qurbani, Ali Baba aur 40 Chor, Dostana (1980) and Lawaaris (1981). Her last role as the female lead was in the movie Gawahi, a court room drama in 1989.
In 2000s Zeenat Aman 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).
Zeenat Aman also had a TV show called 'In Conversation with Zeenat'. Zeenat Aman makes many social appearances and film awards functions and she is rarely seen on screen. Here's wishing Zeenat Aman a very Happy Birthday! (Express archive photo)