Monday, 9 April 2012

Good girls wear slits too



Helen the original SLITTED one
“Quick close your eyes” my Mother admonished the eleven year old me, proceeding to cover my eyes with her palm, as I valiantly peered through the fringed screen of her fingers to the silver screen. Helen vamped it up, sizzling as she coyly pushed out her right leg through the trade-mark slit in her long skirt, smiling her hundred watt smile, fluttering her long eyelashes as she walked her fingers seductively over the hero’s shoulders, then folded the same said leg to place it lightly on the seat of the chair next to him. The audience gasped, a few catcalls followed and I lost my heart to my first teenage crush, rightly a glamorous, sexy, powerful Bollywood heroine and a vamp. 
The BIG Slit
Then my Father’s friend gifted him with a vinyl featuring that cult song  Ramba Ho, Sambha Ho. What stays burnt in my memory till today, was the image of the two women on the cover, striking a pose which would put many a Hollywood heroine today to shame. The ubiquitous slit long skirts and not much else they wore. Strangely the sexy poses have always been staple family fare in India... something western audiences still don’t get even today. As long as there is no mouth to mouth kissing its fine, and remember it was still the vamp – the fallen women who wore the slit.
Zeenie and her out there slit
That was until Zeenat Aman in Qurbani made it all acceptable.  As the disco lights covered her in the flashes of white lightning like effect she danced her heart out in a silvery white long gown with that long slit up the side through which her right leg peeked out. The leg had a life of its own playing hide – n – seek with the mesmerised hero on screen entrancing the viewer in real life. I was hooked. (Good girls wear slits too!)
In real life as I had my first high school crush, the first dress I ever bought, was pink and had a long slit up the side. It had to be. Wearing it I was Helen, Zeenie and every single beautiful Bollywood heroine rolled into one. I got his attention too. The romance did not last very long but I do believe that I have the dress in my closet somewhere even today.
The slit that launched a thousand twitter feeds
Why is it that we women are so captivated by that slit? As I speak to my friends it becomes clear it is the power we wield by controlling how much of flesh we show through the window of the slit.                                


Leg pushed out or just coyly shown or just a turn of the ankle sometimes. Yet it seems we like being in control, to turn it off and on, playing with the male libido and being gratified by the instant response it garners. 


The Bollywood Golden Girls, the true mistresses of tantalisation, knew it way before any of us. So as I see Angie walking down the red carpet with her right leg thrust out of the slit in the black dress, I have to chuckle, “Too late babe, Helen was there first!” 



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