Ever since Zeenat Aman made her Instagram debut, the veteran actress has been treating all her fans with loads of inside stories of the Bollywood industry back then. She is quite regular in sharing snippets from her daily lifestyle, and anecdotes from her decades-long acting career on the platform. In her recent post, the actress who is ageing gracefully shared an unseen photo with the legendary late actor Dev Anand and recalled the story behind the picture.
Sharing a black and white photo with Dev Anand from her earlier days, Zeenat penned a long note. “When entering an industry like Bollywood, every actor hopes for a starmaker. Someone who sees the glimmer of potential and ambition that has perhaps only been visible to the self thus far. Very few are so lucky as to find this person, but I was. My starmaker was Dev saab.” "It was 1970, and I think O P Ralhan was feeling quite sorry for me. He had given me a bit part in Hulchul, it had made little impact, and I was already packing my bags to relocate to Malta with my mother and stepfather.
"Dev Saab and his Navketan team were casting for Hare Rama Hare Krishna at the time. In his largesse, O P Ralhan suggested that they meet me. I vividly remember what I wore that day. A fitted yellow top, a fawn-coloured skirt and glasses with yellow frames. My mother was at the meeting (remember, I was still in my teens). So she held forth, while I spoke when spoken to, and packed tobacco into my pipe. The meeting concluded, and a few days later the landline jangled. I was asked to come for a screen test, and that is how I came to be cast as Jasbir/Janice.
Oh, but the saga doesn’t end here. My family was ready to depart the country, but Dev saab persuaded my mother and I to delay our travels. So instead we flew to Kathmandu, stayed at the famous Soaltee Hotel, and waited long days to be called to set to shoot! I was frothing at the bit by the time it was finally time for my scenes. The first of which was a bus sequence. It makes me laugh to watch it now because I know I’m practically spitting out my lines in my impatience to prove myself!"
"In those days it took much longer to make a film from start to finish. Two or three years even. My mother and I once again prepared to leave Mumbai, and yet again Dev Saab persuaded us to stay. He promised to edit quickly and get the movie into the cinemas. Sure enough, the film released, it became a huge hit, and I became a star. My immigration plans were now indefinitely postponed, and Dev Saab started writing another script with me in mind…(More tomorrow.)"
Zeenat played a drug addict who eventually takes her own life in the 1971 film Hare Rama Hare Krishna. The actress made her Instagram debut in February at the age of 71.