When recently Shilpa Shetty cribbed goodnaturedly about wearing cotton sarees in the chilly wintry weather of Lucknow while shooting for a film,we were reminded of all the lovely ladies who have shivered through songs and dances in freezing temperatures while their co-stars were all warmed up in woollies.
Years ago in the iconic hit Aradhana , the legendary Sharmila Tagore had to shoot a song in the snow with Rajesh Khanna.
She recalled, “It was the song Gun guna rahen hain bhawar.Kaka(Khanna) was suitably attired in warm clothes. I was in a saree, shivering between shots dancing when the camera was on as though I had no care in theworld.”
Hema Malini says it has to do with staying elegant . “When you are dressed in heavy woollens, your dance movements get restricted. So us heroines were never allowed to wear sweaters, etc during song sequences.”
Asha Parekh who has shot a number of songs in the snow says she always insisted on dressing appropriate for wintry numbers. “Who goes out in a saree without a shawl or a cardigan in the cold? Sardi lag jayegi(you will catch the cold) . I’d always insist on being appropriately dressed. But I rememnber shooting at a hill station for the song, Jab chali thandi hawa in Raj Khosla’s Do Badan. I was dressed in a saree with no warm clothes , pretending I was comfortable.”
Reminds me of the much-missed Sridevi who was within her rights to crib about her songs with Rishi Kapoor in Yash Chopra’s Chandni, “He would be in fancy sweaters.I’d be in a flimsy chiffons shivering away.”
Yash Chopra loved to shoot his heroines in pastel chiffon sarees preferably in freezing weather. Who can forget Amitabh Bachchan(in wollens) and Rekha(stunning in a saree) in the songs Neela aasman so gaya and Yeh kahan aa gaye hum in the film Silsila.
Not all filmmakers assume their heroines’ immunity to the cold weather when shooting romantic songs. Gulzar in Namkeen allowed Shabana Azmi to wrap herself comfortably in a red shawl while singing the evocative Phir se aaiyo badri bidesi through the fogs of Himachal Pradesh.
Recalls Shabana, “I don’t remember doing any songs in the snow without woollens . The most wintry song I shot was for Gulzar Saab in Namkeen. And I was suitably covered up.”
Even the gorgeous screen queen Mumtaz was in a thick coat and muffler while shooting the romantic song Karvatein badalte rahen in Aap Ki Kasam.
I guess filmmakers need to stop believing in objectifying their heroines. They will automatically cease to see the ladies as cold-proof.