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Meet the seductive Nandana Sen

A sari can be a six-yard wrap, which hides a woman's physical flaws. Or it can be a piece of fabric that reveals as much as it hides. On Nandana Sen, it just looks sizzling hot. Clad in an abbreviated version of a white sari with a gold border and with hair cascading down to her hips, she reminds us of the sexy Zeenat Aman in Raj Kapoor's Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram.

Next month, we'll see the actor play Sugandha, a devdaasi and muse to Raja Ravi Varma, in Ketan Mehta's Rang Rasiya. Varma, a 19th century artist, was famous for his paintings based on mythology, and for his life-like portraits of the country's elite.

But not many are familiar with the erotic paintings that are an important part of his vast repertoire. They can now be found only in private collections and are rarely exhibited.

Varma often painted his muse as characters from Indian mythology, literature and religious texts -- Shakuntala, Urvashi, Sita, Draupadi, Menaka and Urvashi among others. "Varma saw in her (Sugandha) the face and soul of a goddess. (For him) she is passionate, possessive and hungry for love," says Sen.

Text: Man's World

Photographs: Farrokh Chothia/Man's World

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