Dressed in a body-hugging gown, her blonde hair aflutter and eyes highlighted, this woman ruled Hindi cinema in the 1960s and 1970s. Sometimes she was a vamp, at other times a seductress. This “other woman", as critical to the film plot as the heroine, was brazen about herself and her sexuality, while the “heroine" was docile and “cultured".

Sengupta has curated a show, The Other Woman, “as homage to the vamps, anti-heroines, seductresses and dancers of Bombay cinema". It includes an exhibition of film memorabilia from the Priya Paul collection as well as a showcase of B-grade horror cinema from Pakistan and the feature film Miss Lovely from India.

“The collection includes lobby cards, posters, song booklets, magazine covers from the 1960s to the early 2000s, including posters of heroines like Bindu, Aruna Irani and cabaret queen Helen," says Paul, chairperson of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels. Paul has been collecting these works from art dealers and at auctions. “However, these are only 31 of the more than 1,000 pieces I have," she says. The film posters are of movies like Masterji, Geeta Mera Naam and Jungle Ka Jawahar. The only contemporary film poster is of Dil To Pagal Hai.

“There was a need to reinforce the notion of Indian-ness after independence. And in Hindi cinema, it was the women through whom this notion was conveyed," argues Paul.

The Pakistani horror films that are being showcased include Zibahkhana (2007) by Omar Khan, Zinda Laash (1967) by Khwaja Sarfraz and Aurat Raj (1979) by Saeed Khan Rangeela. South Asian Cinema: A Documentary (2002) by Pete Tombs and Andy Starke, which looks at the horror films made in Mumbai and Lahore in the 1980s, will also be shown. So will Eisha Marjara’s documentary Desperately Seeking Helen, which revolves around a young Indian immigrant’s life in Canada and her search for her childhood film idol. Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely (2012), a film set in the nebulous world of Mumbai’s C-grade horror porn circuits, will be showcased on the last day.

The Other Woman is on till 8 December, 11 am-7 pm, at Khoj International Artists’ Association, S-17, Khirki Extension, New Delhi (65655873). For the schedule, visit www.khojworkshop.org

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