Zeenat Aman speaks to Roshmila Bhattacharya on reality TV, those Zeenie baby days, politics and making a comeback.
We've seen you as a guest on Rendezvous with Simi Garewal and Koffee with Karan but it's surprising to see you on a reality show.
Yeh Hai Jalwa on 9X has some really big names from television and several talented dancers. Shiamak (Davar), Ravi Kissen and I had to decide which team would return on a wild card. This was the only time that the jury voted.. otherwise it's the viewers' verdict that's all-important.The whole package was taken into consideration, from costumes and choreography to presentation and energy. I even watched some of the earlier episodes.
Will you be watching the episode?
Sunday, 8 pm, I'll be in front of the telly.
Do you watch a lot of television?
(Laughs) I do a lot of channel surfing. Mostly, I pause at Star World, Zee Café and AXN. Sometimes I watch an English film.(Laughs) Never any of my own films. I'm not big on soaps but I enjoy reality shows like Dhoom Macha De, Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa and Biggest Loser Jeetega..
I saw a few episodes.
What if you were invited into the House?
(Laughs) No way! It takes courage to open up to the world. And I value my privacy too much.
For someone who was so rocking in the 1970s, why did you almost vanish from public view?
Once you have a family, start raising your children, you need your space and anonymity. You want to be left alone.
You mean no one comes to you for autographs?
(Laughs) Oh they do, all the time. Indians are such warm and emotional people. Even now, when I'm on a holiday, I'm stopped on the streets.
Ever think of hosting a show?
Why not? TV goes into every house today.
Your comeback film with Rajesh Khanna, Jaana-Let's fall in Love, went unnoticed.
The director passed away, it was unfortunate. But I have a couple of interesting films coming up. Monopoly-The Game of Love with Karan Khanna who is Vinod Khanna's nephew, and Dil to Diwana Hai with Hyder Ali, Aamir Khan's brother.
You were felicitated with a Lifetime Achievement Award recently.
(Laughs) Yeah, it had me thinking about how time had flown so quickly. I'm now so old that I was being acknowledged for my lifetime's work. But it's an honour really. I was very lucky.
I got to work with several iconic directors. Many of them were actor-directors like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Manoj Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Sanjay Khan, Feroz Khan and even OP Ralhan.
There were other wonderful directors like BR Chopra, Nasir Hussain, Manmohan Desai and Shakti Samanta who were at their peak. When I look back I realise I do have a body of work that can be acknowledged. But you have also complained that your potential was rarely exploited to the fullest.
It's just that whether it was the critics or the common man, the focus was always on my physicality.. on my looks more than my performance. There were a few substantial roles in films like
Insaaf ka Tarazu, Satyam Shivam Sundaram
. Most producers only wanted to repeat the formula.
Which actress from today's times can you see stepping into your shoes?
Oh, there are so many lovely girls around, talented actresses and great dancers. There was Rani (Mukherji) earlier, Katrina (Kaif) and Kareena Kapoor are doing well now. Also, Priyanka (Chopra). She was there in Don.
Qurbani remake is on the cards too. Who could play your role?
Priyanka, I think. Qurbani had great songs. Aap jaisa koi, Laila o Laila, Hum tum ek jaan hain.. I loved them all. And Feroz (Khan) was such a slick director.
Ever thought of writing your biography?
I've been in talks for the last three years. (Laughs) I will have to give it a long, hard think soon.
Have you read Dev Anand's biography?
There are passages that mention you and your romance. No, I haven't. I have to run now, have to meet a friend.
Hey, wanted to ask about your sons, Azaan and Zahaan.
The elder is 21, the younger one 18. Azaan has been training in filmmaking in London. Zahaan is doing his BA.
Have they been watching your films?
When my mother was alive she made them watch a few. (Laughs) But they were more interested in our home videos.
Would you get into politics if you were offered a ticket?
There have been no such offers.. so why jump the gun? But you did campaign for DP Yadav last year during theUP Assembly elections? I did it for the Congress.
Would you do it again?
If it's for the Congress, sure.