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Aarti (4), 1962

Aarti, 1962, Museum Series

showcard, c. 1962, 60 X 52 cm (23.6 X 20.5 inches)
tinted gelatin silver print and poster paint on textured board with hand-lettering
set of 4 showcards  (what is a showcard?)

Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema ShowcardsIndian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980sShowcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011, p. 72, Cat. no. 17.

Filmfare Awards, 1963
Best Actress - Meena Kumari 
Best Supporting Actress - Shashikala 

Meena Kumari made history by being nominated for three Filmfare Best Actress Awards for three different films in 1963. She won the award for her role in Aarti

Meena Kumari became famous at the age of six, credited in films as Baby Meena. As a young woman, she was renamed Meena Kumari and played many roles portraying innocent lovestruck women, tormented and suffering.  This theme was paralleled in her personal life as she fell into alcoholism and endured a difficult marriage to Kamal Amrohi who had directed her in many of her most popular roles. After many years of separation, the two reunited to make a film based on their love story. She died in 1972, shortly after the release of the film.

"Many showcards feature a female face whether there is a female lead in the film or not.  
Aarti is one of the few Bollywood films with a strong female lead character, as reflected in the showcards which place her in the centre of the composition.  Modern roles clash with traditional values as Meena Kumari plays a young dentist named Aarti who has a bad romance resulting in marriage to a man she does not love. The showcards convey the tension between Aarti and the two men, making the love-triangle clear to the viewer. The association of one man with a sense of duty and the other with modern romance is conveyed by their dress — traditional Indian clothing versus the Western suit. In the end, the film promotes duty as the right path even in modern times.

The film Aarti (1962) was produced by Rajshri Productions and directed by Phani Majumdar. Music by Roshan. Black and white, Hindi, starring Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari and Pradeep Kumar."

--Additional text by Dr. Deepali Dewan and Alexandra McCarter, based on Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s. Showcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011. Copyright of and reproduced here with the generous permission of the Royal Ontario Museum.

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