Zeenat Aman, who portrayed various grey characters while she was a leading lady in Bollywood during the 70s and 80s, has said she thinks her journey in Indian cinema was defined by such roles. Zeenat said that she was accepted by the audience even as a drug addict, which prompted directors to make fascinating roles particularly for her.
Zeenat portrayed a drug-addict who ultimately takes her own life in the 1971 movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna, a musical drama by Dev Anand featuring himself as Zeenat’s brother. It was one of the early roles in Zeenat’s career after she debuted with 1971 movie Hulchul.
According to PTI, Zeenat spoke about her unconventional roles at an event in Delhi, and said, “I was accepted by the audiences at that time in characters which had grey shades, whether it was a drug addict, or someone who died of an overdose… There was an audience acceptance. Subsequently, writers wrote parts for me where it was a good bad girl, good girl and other kinds of roles that did well.”
She said, “My journey in Indian cinema started when I was a teenager and I stopped working when I became a mother. Along the way, there were many milestones. I had the good fortune of working with a lot of actor-directors like Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Amjad Khan, Feroz Khan and Sanjay Khan. All these filmmakers were actors themselves. So they brought that extra bit of creativity to the table.”