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.