Zeenat Aman Was Never Just a Glamour Girl

The Bollywood actor, with her radical honesty and insight, is the zenith of celebrity Instagram. Those who are surprised are simply late to the party.

zeenat aman
Zeenat Aman (Instagram)

Mehr Singh


March 16, 2023

In a scene from the film Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), a 20-year-old Zeenat Aman dons bright orange garb and shares a clay bong with a group of hippies, complete with a John Lennon lookalike. She, or rather, Asha Bhosle, croons, “Dum maaro dummmmm” as a disapproving Dev Anand, who plays her brother in the movie, looks on. 

From the get-go, Jasbir aka Janice Jaiswal, Aman’s character, the daughter of wealthy Canadian Indians, symbolizes euphoric revelry, temptation, a textbook “bad girl.” During her acting career, Aman continued to be cast in similar roles, as glamazons with big aspirations and shaky moral compasses. 

These days, Aman, now 71, prefers a quieter life, playing with her dog Lily, or reciting Derek Walcott poems. We know this because after decades out of the spotlight, Aman joined Instagram for the first time on February 11, 2023. And generations of fans celebrated with inordinate joy. Aman had opened up her life (and DMs) up to people who thought they would never have access to her. Her grand arrival inspires a fresh line of questioning — ranging from our preconceived notions about the famous to what we expect from them. But, if we look more deeply, Aman had always been thoughtful, unique in her perspective, and insulated from what others may think of her.

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