Bollywood Flashback: When Sanjay Khan beats up Zeenat Aman!

February 14, 2022 0 By admin

After having studied in Los Angeles, winning the Miss Asia Pacific, 1970 contest and a successful modeling career, Zeenat Aman’s film career began with a small role in O P Ralhan’s ‘Hulchul’, in 1971. The film bombed, but soon, in Dev Anand’s ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, Zeenat, aided by R D Burman’s song Dum Maro Dum, won over the heart’s of audience as Janice and she earned a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for the film.

When heroines preferred to play obedient girlfriends and wives on screen, Zeenat was noted for her Western outlook and unconventional choice of roles. She was the first mainstream bold actress to set a bench mark for other ladies in the tinsel town to come forward with their bold avatar. She was the unapologetic female seductress of Indian cinema who was more than aware of the effect she had on men. Zeenat’s roles in ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’, ‘Qurbani’ and ‘Insaf Ka Tarazu’ are still rated as ground-breaking for Bollywood actresses.

However, the actress’ rapid rise up the ladder of professional success was overshadowed by the tragedy and drama in her personal life. It’s said that she had a thing for married men and threw herself into relationships that ended terribly. One such gory, complex, scandalous and abusive relationship was with Sanjay Khan. Emotional scars aside, the physical wounds she allegedly received, are visible to this day.



How Sanjay-Zeenat romance began:

The rumoured marriage…

The two good-looking stars, Zeenat Aman and Sanjay Khan, met on the sets of ‘Abdullah’ (directed by Sanjay himself) in Jaisalmer sometime in the late 70s, and fell in love. Zeenat was a hugely popular star then. Sanjay, a married man with three children, entered her life. Rumour has it that they married in Jaisalmer with two witnesses present, on December 30, 1978, and divorced on November 24, 1979. Both had apparently admitted to this. ‘Yes, I was married to Abbas (Sanjay’s real name). I believed in the sanctity of my marriage. And all the time I was married to him, I have served him as a dutiful wife’, Zeenat was once quoted saying.  “I was very naive and vulnerable at that time. It was a few weeks of madness, that’s it,” she said in an interview much later.


…and the breakup

Ultimately, the pressure of Zarine’s (Sanjay’s wife) heartbreak and pain forced Sanjay to distance himself from Zeenat. By this time Zeenat too had realised that all the negative drama surrounding her relationship was destroying her peace of mind. But the incident that marred her for life came shortly after wrapping up the movie ‘Abdullah’.


What happened at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai when Zeenat was confronted by Sanjay?

One evening, when Zeenat was shooting at a hotel in Lonavla, she received a trunk call. It was Sanjay Khan calling from Bombay and he demanded that she come on the line. He wanted some dates to reshoot a small portion of a song in ‘Abdullah’ which had already been shot. ‘Abdullah’ was completed but Sanjay wished to reshoot and demanded four days to redo a two minute scene in Jaisalmer. Zeenat pleaded that she had given dates long ago to B R Chopra and Tony-Tito for their film shoot. But Sanjay was adamant. Apparently, he accused her of having an affair with B R Chopra and Deepak Parashar (the ‘Insaf Ka Tarazu’ team). It was a half hour call and she took Chopra’s permission to leave Lonavla for Bombay. Since everybody had heard their turbulent conversation, she did not have to explain about the urgency.


Violence and Abuse

On reaching Bombay, Zeenat went straight to Sanjay’s house late evening to work out the shooting dates. He was not home and she was informed that he was at the Hotel Taj. Zeenat then went to the Taj in the night and found that Sanjay was attending a private party. The actress requested the host that she did not want to break the party but just that she wanted to speak to Sanjay for a few minutes but the host insisted that she join the party. The host threw open the door and when Zeenat entered, the atmosphere suddenly turned cold and tense and the guests looked stunned. All conversation stopped, and Sanjay, with a glass in his hand, demanded to know why Zeenat had come there.


Zeenat requested Sanjay if she could speak to him privately as she wished to settle her shooting dates and report back to Lonavla. Sanjay followed by Zeenat walked into the adjoining room and it was there he let lose his wrath. He did not give Zeenat a second to speak. He abused and accused her with several allegations of having multiple affairs and relationships. And what apparently followed was one of the most brutal bash-ups. It was reported that Sanjay hit her and she fell. He lifted her and hit her again and again. One could only hear her wails. A steward helped Zeenat out of the door. Her face was swollen and her nose was streaming with blood. Strangely, not a single guest present at the party, intervened or tried to help her. She was escorted to her car through the lobby with blood and tears streaming down her face. Zeenat, who was obviously in an extreme state of shock, was in bed for about a week after this gory incident, with a doctor and a day and night nurse in attendance.


Zeenat ditched once ‘Abdullah’ was complete?

Zeenat did not lodge any police complaint because she was still in love with Sanjay and was willing to forgive him. She tried her best to protect him saying that he did not bash her up but then her face was proof enough. Apparently, her friends, colleagues, producer, directors had warned her from this relationship. Zeenat was professionally in top form those days. They would say that Sanjay wanted her only till ‘Abdullah’ was completed. However, Zeenat felt people were just condemning Sanjay because careerwise he was on a low. It was clear that she was madly in love with him. And ‘Abdullah’ had just been completed before their breakup. It clearly appeared that the whole thing was planned in such a way that Zeenat, who had made ‘Abdullah’ possible, had to be ditched as soon as the film had been made. The industry blamed Sanjay for trying to ruin Zeenat’s life. The rumours those days were circulating in the industry that even as ‘Abdullah’ was complete, Sanjay’s demand for those extra dates for reshooting was just an excuse for the final showdown which happened in Taj as he wanted to end their relationship.