The First Ever Filmfare Bikini Cover By Sharmila Tagore Was Her Personal Decision That Become A Wind Of Change In Bollywood And We Should Thank Her
In today’s day and age when bikini clad women are accepted in Bollywood, there were times when the idea was unfathomable even to the photographers. It was the courage of these actresses which normalised things for the seeds germinating now. Not saying that the skin show on covers and movies doesn’t create ripples, but we have come a long way from the times when women were clicked with sindoor, bindi, and ghunghat on the magazine covers, an idea of beautiful women according to Indian patriarchal society.
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Then came Sharmila Tagore, who explained herself, ” Maybe, there was an exhibitionist in me, as I was young and excited to do something different”. Her most controversial cover shoot comes from the house of Filmfare magazine where she, herself, decided to wear a bikini for the photo shoot. A great hullabaloo followed the release in 19th of August 1966 as she was the first ever Bikini clad cover woman .
People accused her of a publicity stunt whereas for her, it was just about looking nice as she had “no qualms doing that shoot”. Her brave and rebellious move was even questioned by the photographer who, time and again, asked her if she is sure about it, and asked her to cover her a body a little.
We have travelled lengths since then, and just because of women like her, Bollywood’s perception of women sexuality changed. They were liberated from the bindi and sandoor to nude body paint. Pooja Bhatt appeared in body paint on the covers of MOVIE,1993. It was freedom of body and sexuality that these women were exercising.
In the same year, Mamta Kulkarni posed nude for the cover of Stardust and got arrested. Her bold demeanour was too much for the mindset of that time, but nothing deterred the sense of sensuality that Bollywood had already developed.
We must thank these women who show us the way to the road less travelled.