Women have historically been shown as either 'traditional' or 'modern' in character, but the visual representation of women has changed dramatically.
A film by M F Husain, Produced by Rakesh Nath
Music by Bhupen Hazarika
Cinematography by Ashok Mehta
Choreography by Saroj Khan & Jojo Khan
A Yash Raj Films Pvt Ltd release
Museum no. IS.101-2001
Given by Yash Raj Films
Directed by one of India's most important contemporary artists, M F Husain, this film is an exploration of womanhood spanning 5,000 years. Husain casts his favourite actress, Madhuri Dixit, in a role which sees her transforming herself into many different women, but who ultimately is the one ideal woman encompassing all other women. The film uses sets designed and painted by Husain. The poster shows Madhuri as the Mona Lisa next to an image of her kissing her lover, played by Shah Rukh Khan.
Directed by Muzaffar Ali
Presented by S K Jain for Integrated Films
Music by Khayyam; Lyrics by Shahryar
Museum no. IS.112-1986
Directed by Raj Khosla
Produced by Sunil Dutt for Ajantaa Arts
Museum no. IS.128-1988
Featuring Zeenat Aman & Sashi Kapoor
Produced & Directed by Raj Kapoor for RK Films
Music by Laxmikant Pyarelal
Museum no. IS.75-1987
Featuring Dilip Kumar, Vijayantimala & Suchitrasen
Produced & directed by Bimal Roy for Bimal Roy Productions
Museum no. IS.94-1988
Museum no. IS.165-1992
This lavishly produced film booklet gives a detailed account of the cultural importance of the courtesan. Known as tawaifs, courtesans are represented as custodians of culture, well versed in Hindi, Urdu and Persian poetry. Their existence is traced back to ancient India, where the administrators used them as informers. They were thus placed at the centre of politics and culture. The booklet gives a history of the making of the film Pakeezah (1971) and information about the director and actors. The cover depicts a classic scene from the film, in which the courtesan dances over broken glass and marks the floor with her blood as she continues to dance. The underlying contradiction between the impurity of Sahibjaan’s actions and the purity of her soul is made apparent in the film title, Pakeezah, which means pure heart.
Painted by Balkrihn Arts
Museum no. IS.114-2002
An unfinished hoarding that shows the different stages of painting involved in the creation of hoardings.
The portrait is of the actress Meena Kumari in her most famous role of the courtesan, Sahibjaan.
Painted by Balkrihn Arts
Oil on canvas
Museum no. IS.113-2002
The design was taken from the compact disc cover for this film - the main character (Devdas) is played by Shah Rukh Khan. On the right is his childhood sweetheart played by Aiswarya Rai. On the left is the courtesan who falls in love with him, played by Madhuri Dixit.