Zeenat Aman, a Bollywood diva from the 1970s, is winning over Gen Z online

Aman Zeenat

Actor. Mother. Maverick.

Zeenat Aman, who wowed Indians in the 1970s with her avant-garde style and outlandish Bollywood roles, made her Instagram debut earlier this month and described herself in that way.

Even though the 71-year-old has only posted a little over a dozen times, mostly self-portraits with reflections on aging, her eventful career, and her pet dog Lily, her presence has captured people's interest and imagination.

In her first couple of posts, a young female photographer took pictures of her in the "comfort of [her] home.". Aman pondered in her caption how predominate the male gaze was in movies and fashion during the 1970s while donning cozy linen overalls and sitting on a stool next to a spot of sunlight.

"Many talented men have taken photos and videos of me throughout my career. But a woman's gaze is distinct. There are no lights, a makeup artist, hair stylist, or assistants. Just a lovely afternoon spent together in the sun," she wrote.

Aman has received praise for his simple yet effective use of social media to start a meaningful conversation after the post has been shared thousands of times.

The most amazing thing about her Instagram debut, however, is how quickly she was able to establish a connection with a much younger audience for an actor whose most memorable performances took place forty years ago. Even millennials, who typically prefer memes, exaggeration, and Reels, claim to be enjoying her profound, perceptive captions.

The metaverse "can be a quiet, graceful space, if you want it to be," as one user put it. Zeenat Aman demonstrated how. ".

Aman is, of course, no stranger to fame and attention—both positive and negative.

She had already established herself as a successful model before beginning her Bollywood career in 1971 with a small part in the movie Hulchul.

Her role as a naive, young flower child who is a drug addict in the popular movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna propelled her to sudden fame that same year.

Aman and the movie completely changed how women dressed in the movies, from dancing with hippies in scanty tie-dye dresses to blowing smoke rings in crowded, dank rooms. Aman would continue to set trends in the ensuing years by trying out roles that were decades ahead of their time.

She was not a typical Bollywood heroine because of her outlandish looks, daring wardrobe choices, and outspoken personality. However, audiences adored her.

Zeenat Aman
Aman has collaborated with a number of notable actors, including Dev Anand.

She was also very aware of herself. "It is very simple to get caught up in labels in the world of commercial Hindi cinema. She told the BBC in 2013 that "women have a very set thing to do - sing songs, look pretty.

"Over time, even I became part of the mainstream, but in the latter half of my career, I worked on films with diverse roles. ".

She did, in fact. Aman continuously pushed the boundaries of cinema and encouraged many women to do the same in their own lives, from Sheetal in Roti Kapda aur Makaan (1974), who chooses a sexy, wealthy man over her jobless boyfriend, to Bharti, a rape survivor on a quest for justice in Insaf Ka Tarasu (1980).

In 1978, Aman played the role of Roopa in Satyam Shivam Sundaram, which caused a flurry of controversy due to the scanty clothes she wore and an intimate scene between her and Shashi Kapoor.

Aman brought up the controversy again while sharing a photo of herself taken during a camera test for the movie in one of her Instagram posts.

"I always found the accusations of obscenity to be quite amusing because I did not and still do not find the human body to be in any way obscene. The main conflict in the story wasn't Rupa's sensuality, but it played a role in it, she wrote.

Throughout her career, Aman's "Western image" was hotly contested, but the actor never lost her sense of self. She exuded charisma on screen and led a confident life, despite going through difficult personal experiences.

Aman is no longer the smoldering diva from her career's height, decades later. But she still has a tendency to strike up conversations. .

The actor is endearing and unflappable on Instagram as she reflects on her youth and fame – not from a perspective of regret, but simply from the perspective of being older.

Her remarks about not wanting to dye her gray hair resonated with her audience. "Although I had received strong advice against it, I was initially reluctant to stop coloring my hair. I didn't realize how much I didn't want to support our society's idolization of youth until I thought about my own hesitations, she wrote.

Aman maintains that an older woman does not lose her beauty or agency in post after post. In general, she writes, "men are left with gravitas as we age, but women are at best offered sympathy.".

She continues, "It's wonderful to be young.". Age is also a factor.

NEW DELHI, INDIA - AUGUST 22, 2007: Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman at the launch of DLF group and DT Cinemas' book 'Women in Indian Cinema', on August 22, 2007 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Aman gives off the impression of being self-assured.

According to some women who spoke to the BBC, Aman's posts made them think about their own vitality and agency.

"Aman, with her gorgeous silver bob and soft wrinkles, is sparking a more honest assessment of what it means to be a woman at a time when technology and Instagram filters are rewriting our bodies and faces," claims one fan.

Another person adds, "I just love how frill-free and real she is.

And it's not all somber introspection. The actor also includes brief anecdotes about herself; for instance, last week, she mentioned that it was her sons who taught her the definition of "thirst-trap.". Young and old fans alike adored every aspect of her innocence.

Zeenat Aman joining Instagram is among the best things to happen on the internet recently, as one Twitter user put it.

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