October 2, 2007

Sexier than Mallika Sherawat!

In a 2005 piece, DesiClub named the top 25 female Bollywood sex symbols - and our lady rang in at number 12: a little sexier than Mallika Sherawat, but not quite as sexy as Sharmila Tagore.

Okay, I'm being a little flip, but I think that comes from my surprise - and my delight - at seeing Shabana Azmi cracking this kind of list at all.

It's not that I don't think she's sexy - oh my paws and whiskers, is she ever sexy - it's just that Shabana's kind of sexy isn't the kind that I'd expect to land her on lists alongside the likes of Mallika Sherawat, Kareena Kapoor, and Priyanka Chopra. And it's not that the list skews toward actors of today - Shabana ji's contemporaries (and occasional partners-in-crime) Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi top the list at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

The DesiClub article itself hits close to the reason we don't usually see Shabana ji on lists of "sex symbols." The article says that what "Shabana is sexy because she exudes class, charm and strength, which makes her captivating to watch."

Class, charm, and most of all - strength.

These attributes are a substantial part of what drives me to write this blog, and I would bet rupees to rasmalai that they are a substantial part of what draws you here to read it.

Yet when people think of sex symbols today, they think of Mallika Sherawat. They think of big boobs, flat stomachs, and lots and lots of skin. Class? strength? Which of today's female actors even has these qualities, much less is considered ragingly sexy because of them?

This blog is not called "Sounds Like Power" for nothing. There's a reason Shabana ji said that about herself, and there's a reason I liked the sound of it enough to build a blog around it. Shabana ji is formidable, and formidable is sexy. And though I personally don't think she's just "number 12" sexy, that's a quibble, a question of degree - I'm delighted she made the list at all. I'm delighted that there are still people out there who can look at a powerful woman and see sexy.

I wanted to illustrate, or at least supplement, this post with some screen captures from some of what I think are Shabana ji's sexiest scenes - pounding spices in Ankur, seducing Sanjeev Kumar in Shatranj ke khilari, snuggling Naseeruddin Shah in Sparsh, the hopscotch scene in Fire (oh, dear lord, the hopscotch scene in Fire) - but I am a little busy these days, and that combined with my ongoing computer troubles made collecting new screen captures out of the question. It will have to keep for another day. Which scenes do you think belong in that collection?

This picture is at least six kinds of sexy. The crappy scan really doesn't do it justice.

As a final note, I haven't tried here to editorialize on the rest of DesiClub's list, but here are a few quick comments. I can't really quibble with the placement of Zeenat in the top slot, and I'm happy to see my pet crushasaurus Sharmila faring quite well, along with the very worthy Dimple Kapadia, Helen, Madhuri Dixit, and Hema Malini all coming in so high on the list. 25 is a large enough number that no one essential should really be missed - but for heaven's sake where is Madhubala? If it were my list she'd be in the top five, perhaps even top three. Some of the women on the list don't do anything for me at all - Aishwarya, Bipasha, Mallika, Priyanka, Rekha -but I understand their inclusion. And that's enough editorializing for today. Oh, and thanks to Beth for bringing the article to my attention. I guess there's one about the men too, but - who cares? ;-)


Anonymous said...

I think Shabana is a very special lady, and most probably Javed must be a very special person, too. Love is the same as faith: "something" (your very own “something’) makes your heart believe that a "God", "Allah", "Jehova", "Ra", etc. exists and you have faith and it brings comfort, solace, peace and hope to your heart.
The same happens when you fall in love, when time goes by and you continue to love this person... the world may not understand you, but you cannot make that love "not be" since it also brings peace and hope to your soul or whatever you need.
Being sexy, just as faith and love, has to do with what appeals to you and just you. In Shabana's case, I do think she is freaking sexy. To me it has to do with some of her ways. When I met her I felt she knows so much more, she's seen so much more that no matter how much I've traveled, done or seen in my 34 years she is just overwhelming. She looks at you, in her special way, making you feel for a while that you are part of her world and she is part of yours. She transmits this feeling of "I know who I am and where I am standing" and this is what I find incredibly sexy in a person. Just like the person I have in my life and makes me happy ;- )
Have a nice day, folks!

PS: did not mean to brag…

Daddy's Girl said...

I think you might be a little harsh on today's actresses - I think that at least some of them have class and strength, although I do agree that the concept of sexiness these days seems to be all about baring lots of skin. I think the Desi Club list is a decent attempt, but I'm surprised they left out Nargis. She would definitely be in my top 3.

Anonymous said...

Small thought, is the Desi Club list all living people? maybe that is why Nargis is not on it.

--Darshana of Bollywhat

Filmi Geek said...

Darshana - it's possible, and it would explain the absence of Madhubala as well. But it's an odd and arbitrary line for the author to draw, since the article is clearly about these actors in their prime - what difference does it make if they are alive?

Daddy's Girl - I had a feeling someone would call me on that comment about today's female actors, but I stand by it. There may be some who are characterized principally by class and strength (I'm open to suggestions), but are they considered sexy for it? Conversely for the female actors who are considered sexy, are they primarily characterized by class and strength? I'm not sure that all three go together today.

yves said...

Hi Carla,

Thanks for this nice post (one among many others). I enjoyed every bit of it.
But you know, as sexiness goes, it's very much a question of personal taste, I think. That Desiclub list has left out Nargis and Waheeda Rehman for instance. And in the more recent girls, Katrina Kaif or Amrita Rao or Vidya Balan... or...or...

Filmi Geek said...

Yves, it's the very subjectivity of the judgment that makes it pleasantly surprising to see Shabana ji included, especially at the expense of certain others whom one is more accustomed to seeing in a list like this.