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In the 1970s Bollywood, when the film industry showed women in a restrained light, Zeenat Aman emerged as an unconventional and free-spirited actress, whose fashion was ahead of her times. With her boho chic avatar in Dev Anand's 1971 movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Zeenat Aman beckoned the young women to look beyond the usual conformist narrative. Zeenat Aman, born on 19 November 1951, redefined fashion in her own emancipated style. On her birthday, let's try to understand her fashion in the movies.
Soon after, Hare Rame Hare Krishna, Zeenat Aman did diverse roles, where she portrayed women with a fresh perspective. Her outfits in the movies substantiated her roles. It was not as if there weren't actresses, who wore bikinis but there was something about Zeenat Aman, which stood out. The actress wore bikini in Heera Panna(1973) and Qurbani(1980) and she looked comfortable in her own skin. She was unapologetic about it and didn't give qualms about how people would brand her. It was this fuss-free aspect about her fashion coupled with her natural beauty and long tresses, which made Zeenat someone unique and inspirational to women, who were still coming out of their shell in terms of clothes mostly. For instance, in Dostana(1980) she donned crop tops and wrap-around skirts and vibrant dresses with such elan that most of the women during those times wanted to be like her. Her plunging neckline and floral outfits in Laawarisfurther made concrete space for her in the industry.
She was tapped beautifully by the filmmakers and writers, who made Zeenat do roles that beckoned women to be upfront and bold. In her song, Chura Liya Hai Tumnefrom Yaadon Ki Baaraat, she was the woman, who didn't have any reservations telling the man that she is attracted to him. Dressed in her iconic long white full-sleeved gown with hoops and a black choker, Zeenat Aman stole hearts and till date, women around ace this style. But with Western upbringing, one would feel that whether she was able to pull off only western outfits with such ease. What about traditional ensembles? But no, Zeenat Aman had her individualistic style when it came to ethnic outfits. Her white one-shouldered and tied sari in Satyam Shivam Sundaramwas quite path-breaking. She gave refreshing turn to saris and other traditional wear as well.
On her birthday, we celebrate Zeenat Aman as the actress, who didn't stick to the norms and created her own distinct path. Her style and fashion is liberating. Happy Birthday, Zeenat Aman!