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Pangs of <i>Umrao Jaan</i> equal real life Umraos

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Varanasi (UNI): The real life Umrao Jaans had a memorable date with the reel life famous courtesan at a cinema hall here.

Courtsey the efforts of Gudiya -- an NGO working for upliftment of sex workers since 1993 -- over 20 prostitutes yesterday watched the Aishwarya Rai-Abhishek Bachchan starrer magnum opus directed by J P Dutta.

Be it 45-year-old Poonam or young Neetu -- both from Bihar -- or Sarita from MP, the hapless women caught in the oldest profession watched the movie in the dark confines of the cinema hall with rapt attention, as if trying to figure out any difference between them and the historical character played on the silver screen by former Miss World Aishwarya.

''There is no difference between any of us and Umrao Jaan. All of us like Umrao Jaan have been Amiran before being pushed into this unholy profession by unsavoury elements,'' said Neetu with wet eyes and an urge to the society to help them live like Amirans.

''Please take us into mainstream by honoring us as the innocent Amiran -- an artist -- rather than the raunchy Umrao Jaan, being seen only as an object on sale,'' she added.

When queried as to which of the two Umrao Jaans -- one played by Rekha or this one essayed by Ash -- was closest to them, Poonam replied the pangs of Umrao were equal whether in Muzaffar Ali's classic or J P Dutta's remake.

An ageing Sarita, went further to say that like Amiran, we also went back to our homes once craving for the unparellel warmth and affection, but all we got was insult and abuses from those once dearest to us.

Urging, the society to respect their art, the hapless women said ''all of you please ensure that no Dilawar is able to prison the dream of any Amiran in the dark alleys of prostitution in future.'' The sex workers later went to Inhani ki Takiya graveyard and offered prayers at a grave presumably of Umrao Jaan

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