Nafisa Ali

There are a few persons I hold in high regard, this beauty from Bengal named Nafisa Ali Sodhi happens to be one. Our earliest association (well that is one way to put it, I guess) was in my college room. She was a roommate, well actually as a wall pinup for two years, standing by the pool side in a blue string bikini. Man! Was she gorgeous (alas, the pinup was lost over the years) …Then we parted ways, though I saw her later on in the movie ‘Junoon’. I recall that in those days we had a pretty interesting magazine around, called JS. I remember an article about her in that mag…probably the pinup came from the same JS (junior statesman) too.

Then I lost touch, nowadays, we see her on TV here & there and she is of course quite popular on the net…She still looks gorgeous, the beauty with the grey hair and lots and lots of grey matter…a pretty rare combination indeed.

She acted in a Hindi movie ‘Life in a Metro’ recently, should watch it one day. We saw her (as Mary teacher) with Mamooty in ‘Big B’ a Malayalam movie. About ‘Big B’ says Nafisa Ali, "I never knew there were so many talented people in the film world, in the North every one has got the feeling that Bollywood is Indian cinema, even though almost all the talented technicians are from the South." Although she had a problem with her dialogues in Malayalam, she says, "You have very down-to- earth people, convenient schedules and you find that your work is finished within the time given. When Kamal approached me for the film, I was reluctant to say yes, but now I am glad to be here". "I have just found out that Mammooty is five years older to me," revealed a 50-year-old and glowing Nafisa Ali who played Mammooty's mother in the film, that was shot in Kochi

Her life has always been varied, mother a Catholic, father a Muslim, husband a Sikh (Pickles Sodhi) and she a pupil of Chinmayanada and one who has studied Vedanta!!! A swimming champion, Miss India, a jockey, and now a social activist working on HIV/AIDS, child welfare, cyclone victim rehab and what not. Dabbling in politics, she was also a Congress party nominee.

Just look at this - "The turning point in my life came 12 years ago, when I prayed to God for a wish – something to do with my family – and I said that if it came true, I would go to Tirupati and shave my head." Ali’s shorn head made a fashion statement – she even took part in a fashion show minus her tresses – and she took to social work in earnest.

Now she wants to race, own a Ferrari or a Lamborghini…taking up from brother Niyaz who is even more into cars, is a race driver, car magazine editor etc. Anyway she enjoys her driving.

In a discussion with Kumkum Bhandari – She says - When I was young, as a swimmer every muscle in my body was toned, my physique perfect. Now at 40, I've realized that a few kilos more or less are not everything. I've learnt to be comfortable the way I am because my friends, my family and my husband love me for who I am. In the Vedas, fitness encompasses the body, mind, soul, spiritual aspects and the relationship you have with people. If all five are in balance, I would consider a person to be fit. always strove to give my best, to win. At 19, I won the Miss India contest. I've never sought to be glamorous or fashionable, but I did feel insecure for a while when the first gray hair came. At 37, I went to Tirupati, shaved my head (to honor a wish come true), stood in front of God (Lord Venkateswara) there and said: "I'm putting my life into your hands. Guide me, I need direction." Shaving my head made me realize how vulnerable we are to our human image, to the façade we cling to. I have seen miserable souls for whom all that counts is dressing well. It's so futile. We need to shed externals and focus on who we truly are.

Much into fitness, she has a good lecture for the obese.

Video interview

Pics - google images - thanks


gauri said…
That sure is one elegant lady. Don't know much about her, but for some reason she's very vivid in my memory. Nice one.

Rada said…
Your reference to the JS magazine brought back a flood of memories from my teenage days. It was nice magazine, very "hep" for its times and I was unhappy when it closed down.

As for Nafisa Ali, what can one say? She is one of those beautiful and elegant women, who has an effortless grace and charm. (I will put Nutan and Waheeda Rehman also in the same category.)
narendra shenoy said…
She's genuinely beautiful, isn't she? And she's aged so gracefully!
CKMadhusudan said…
‘Shaving my head made me realize how vulnerable we are to our human image, to the façade we cling to.’
How true and how beautifully conveyed.
Some years back I had tonsured my head from Palani. On reaching home my son did not recognize me. Away he ran shouting ‘Mom a Motta has come to see you’. My wife came and when I touched her she had a strange look on her face. Later she told me an eerie feeling, as though a stranger is laying a hand on her, had besieged her.
A friend of mine suffering from cancer, after his radiation and other treatments had physically changed a lot. He told me, he felt like a stranger on seeing his own image in the mirror.
But for her philosophical backing, the horror of seeing her own image totally altered, that too for a beauty that is Nafisa, would have drive her to madness. Tinsel beauties should take a cue out of her life and be prepared for such eventualities they may encounter in the future.
Happy Kitten said…
Guess it is very easy to fall in love with her! If she can affect the women in this manner, can imagine how she affects the men.

There is that inner glow and the ageless beauty. Recently when I saw an interview with her on Kairali TV, wanted to pen something...Yes she can touch hearts..

Though I did not enjoy Big B, I loved watching Nafisa Ali on the big screen.
Maddy said…
Thanks Naren, Gauri, HK & Rada..

Rada - a JS in hand, a 4 square between the lips, a pair of north stars on your feet was the hep way to go..

CKM - That was a heartfelt comment. I was also bowled over by that comment from nafisa!

HK - a beauty is always one who gets attention, a beauty with with a brain gets even doubts!! yeah! Big B was a bore..
Nanditha Prabhu said…
enjoyed reading the post... nafisa ali leads an inspired life ....knowing and reading about such people can give direction to many ...
I don't know how I missed this post! It is very interesting, and she is a lady I admire, too
Maddy said…
Thanks Nanditha, Thanks Raji..

Is it not strange, two people i mentioned.... standing in this years elections..

Nafisa & Tharoor...
Indu said…
Hey Maddy,

Wonderful choice of subject for a profile write up!

I have always seen this lady and have wondered on the glow on her face.It is the kind of glow that comes from the beauty of character.I thought about her recently when i saw the finals of the Miss India contest. Forget beauty, the participants lacked content and were a laugh.I think we need to change our Gandhi Jaynthi dates or the dates we honour Mother Teresa to the day we hold these contests for their names are uselessly evoked not to mention the bland reference to poverty,unemployment and blah blah.

She, in my opinion is a classic example of Indian womanhood and all that is true about it.
radha said…
Just stumbled by from iShare. Very nice blog. And this post also reminded me of JS days and a very old post of mine.
Maddy said…
thanks radha - indeed JS was a good read in those days...
Anonymous said…
niaz is her brother...
Maddy said…
thanks anonymous, sorry - my mistake, has been corrected

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