Courting Courtesans


We have a strange fascination for what we otherwise are conditioned to condemn. The big screen works this transformation in a way only art can. Courtesans are just so right for evoking a myriad emotions, aren’t they?

Oh, the tragedy of it all! Lust. Sin. Love. Conflict. Redemption.

You root for her – her lips quivering and tears perched strategically in her eyes (glycerine is known to help here) – to give up her dancing bells for the Prince (or anyone rich from a respectable family) who is ready to sacrifice all.

Presenting, the faces and performances that have stood the test of time………


Rekha as Umrao Jaan in Umrao Jaan (1981)


Meena Kumari as Sahibjaan in Pakeezah (1972)


Vyjayantimala as Chandramukhi in Devdas (1955)


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