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Saree,Wrong Number



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.

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