Beautiful women of India

Lara Dutta

Lara Dutta, Indian beauty

Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Anu Agarwal, Diana Hayden, Yuktha Mookhey, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Indira Varma, Rekha, Aamna Shariff, Bhavana, Deepa, Devayani, Jyothika Surya,  Katrina Kaif, Konkona Sen Sharma, Moon Moon Sen, Nagma, Riya Sen, Vijayashanti, Freida Pinto, these are just a small number of Indian beauties and superstars who have melted the heart of writer Angelos Fertakis.

My own name, Angelos, is simple enough but throughout my college years, friends, fellow students, and professors would tie themselves in knots, making the name for more difficult than it is. In the end, I became "A" or "Ange" (rhymes with flange) because guys are supposed to be called Chuck, Chip, Hank, Bud, or Tip.

The first thing Hollywood wanted to do with Aishwarya Rai was to make her Aish. What on earth would they do with Konkona Sen Sharma or Yuktha Mookhey? Would these stars have to become Conk and Yucky to be marketable?

Rant over ... let's get on with the job of praising Indian talent, intelligence, and beauty. Indian beauty is global in appeal. How else can you explain the many Indian winners of Miss World and Miss Universe pageants? Indian beauty appeals to Caucasian audiences, so necessary in this world of fading white rule, but it is also warms the hearts of middle Eastern men, Latinos and Africans.

Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai. See Swedish women

Freida Pinto

Freida Pinto. See Swedish women

Bipasha Basu

Bipasha Basu. See Swedish women

Isha Koppikar

Isha Koppikar. See Swedish women

Rani Mukherjee

Rani Mukherjee. See Swedish women

Indian beauty is truly classical, responding to basic yearnings for harmony, balance, health, and sensuality. It does not so much shout at you but beckons softly.

My first serious girlfriend, the first young women that I fell in love with, a love so deep that for months I was unable to sleep or eat properly, was a ravishing beauty from Bangalore (Bengaluru) who walked like a panther, softly padding across the ground. She had exquisite feet, so beautiful in simple, pretty sandals, perfect toes, a fine ankle, smooth, soft skin.

She was one of those beauties who stop you in your tracks. You are amazed that women so beautiful exist in the world. Their beauty outshines everything around them. It is grand and timeless.

As was common in those days, my girlfriend's name, Anu, was anglicized to Anne. We laughed that people found Anu impossible to pronounce.

Her intelligence and knowledge of the world, of science and literature were impressive and intimidating, even at 18. When fellow students, in typical American style, would talk about how a book had impacted them, how it related to incidents in the their lives, gushing as American kids do with "It's like how when I was a kid and I was like, 'Man I was so out of control' and so I like totally relate to the writer in this chapter", Anu would look at them puzzled and say, "A common failing of the western mind is that everything must be personal, simple, and accessible." She would then lecture the class on the evils of the culture industry from the viewpoint of Theodor Adorno and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, the Calcutta-born literary theorist and translator of Derrida's "Of Grammatology".

Needless to say, she got into Harvard without breaking a sweat, completed her doctorate at Princeton, and in seemingly record time became a tenured professor. But I knew her as the teenager blossoming into a woman, someone who took her family and traditions seriously and respectfully, and yet who was open to the most profound, radical, and ground-breaking ideas of western and eastern thought.

She was confident about the intimate torrents of life, something she had to keep secret from her more culturally-bound friends and family. More than once, delegations of her countrymen called at my apartment to coerce me into leaving Anu for my own good. "Her future is not with you," they told me. "She is a beautiful woman who will marry an Indian man. We need women like her to build our country. You have no future with her, you are a Greek engineer, you do not have a right to our Indian women."

One of her classmates even tried to strike me over the head with an umbrella for walking hand in hand with her across campus. He shouted that I had no right to flaunt my affection for one of his country's women. I was behaving with impudence, he said, and Anu, who should know better, was prostituting herself, making a fool of her family's good name.

Anu told him: "You foolish little man. I recommend you return to your cave at the first opportunity. Take your violence and stupidity with you, and learn some manners before you address a lady again". The man skulked off with his devil's tail between his legs.

My favorite pastime back then was photographing Anu as stretched out her slim, toned body on silk sheets.

All of this was done tastefully. The photographs could, without dificulty, have been hung in any art gallery. No shame was brought on me or Anu with the photographs.

That is not how some of her compatriots saw it. They considered me a sordid, decadent Westerner whose thirst for female flesh was endless.

But really, I was interested in her perfect body as art. Her shapes were so seductive to the eye. I was not then, nor have I have been, drawn to the obvious, the gaudy, the lowest common denominator.

There is nothing finer to photograph than the female body, and it can be done artfully, beautifully, sensually, without venturing into areas that would be considered lewd or overtly provocative.

By Angelos Fertakis