Film booklet for 'Pakeezah'

Film booklet for 'Pakeezah'

Bombay, 1971
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.