A honey-rich voice greets you on the other end of the line. Its sacrilege to ask how many springs its owner has lived through but at least the mysterious mellow timbre has remained unscathed by the crush of the wheel of time. Zeenat Aman still sounds as luscious as Qurbanis Laila.
It will be my first, as a judge in a major reality show, Zeenat says of her one-off appearance on Sunday on 9Xs 8pm dance show Yeh Hai Jalwa. She will be choosing a wild card entrant for the finals alongside Shiamak Davar. And yes, she will be shaking a shapely leg to her Laila main Laila number.
Would she have agreed to do television in her heydays? After holding forth on how cine stars on TV is an old trend abroad, Zeenat pauses and then breaks out into a laugh and a wondrous I dont know!
Zeenie Baby (one dare not call her that any more) is back to doing some films. The last — Jaana-Lets Fall in Love — with Rajesh Khanna came and went in 2006. Now there are the launch vehicles of Aamir Khans nephew Imran and Vinod Khannas nephew Karan. I am an aunt in one and a mother in the other.
Sizzling siren then, ma-mausi now? This time the laugh is loud and long. My dear, time stops for nobody... rukti nahin hai ek pal bhi kisi ke liye. I went from girlhood to womanhood on screen. Then I left everything to concentrate on my family, on raising my sons. I have grown in very many ways, though it was outside films. Now my sons are 21 and 18. They want me to be happy. So I can do what I want to, the single mother takes over from the siren.
Zeenats first-born Azaan (she carefully spells out the names) has just finished a course in direction from the University of the Arts, London. The younger, Zahaan, is doing a BA in culinary art. Does he cook for mom? Yes, lots of interesting dishes when he is back home on vacation. He has a lot of talent — plays the guitar, writes poetry.... The transformation from enchantress to doting mother seems complete.
That is why she has no qualms in seeing the mantle of the dons moll pass to GeNext in the new-age Don. She has heard rumours of Qurbani being remade too. If it so happens, can anyone in the current crop fit into the stilettos of the nightclub crooner Sheela who made the 80s swoon with her proposition, Aap jaisa koi meri zindagi mein aye toh baat ban jaye? Priyanka Chopra. She did an effective job in Don, didnt she? Zeenat offers.
Neither does Zeenat have a problem with remakes. They are bringing the old superhits to this generation, she reasons.
She might not have met Mallika Sherawat, one of the foremost contenders to Zeenats legacy, but she did meet a brash (and most inappropriate) pretender — Rakhi Sawant. The meeting took place on the sets of Yeh Hai Jalwa, as Rakhi is one of the finalists in the contest. She is direct and straight-forward, observes Zeenat.
Composed and calm, at peace with life, Zeenat is ruffled just once during the conversation. Dev Anand has confessed in his recently released book how he had fallen for his heroine but Raj Kapoor pipped him to the post. I respect him. He launched me. Please dont go on that route, she bows out of controversys path.