A character that broke through cultural barriers in South Asia and personified the zeitgeist of the 1970s is Janice—a rebellious, pot-smoking nymphet played by actress Zeenat Aman. Janice appeared in the 1971 Bollywood film ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’. Her iconic performance of the song ‘Dum Maro Dum’ (Hindi: दम मारो दम, "Puff, take a puff!" written by Anand Bakshi, composed by Rahul Dev Burman, and sung by legendary Asha Bhosle) in the movie cemented the cult status of the character Janice; Below is an excerpt from the song lyrics.
“What has the world given us?
What have we taken from the world?
Why should we worry about anyone?
What has anyone done for us?
Whether we want to live or die
We won’t be afraid of anyone
The world won’t be able to stop us
For we will do what we want.”
What Janice did as a pop-culture icon is quite phenomenal. She was a character who influenced the coming-of-age rebellions of an entire generation of South Asians—many of who didn’t even understand the dialogue and song lyrics in Hindi. The song itself became an anthem sung with mispronunciations and diverse accents around the subcontinent. Janice went on to become immortalized as a counterculture icon and a story character that did much to break stereotypes associated with the South Asian woman.
This image depicts actress Zeenat Aman smoking a chillum as Janice (1971, Janice aka Jasbir Jaiswal played by Zeenat Aman. Haré Rama Haré Krishna, Dev Anand). We find it an enduring story symbol of defying traditions and an iconic representation of youthful rebellion in South Asia.
What Janice did: two-colour screen-print