Indians loved Elizabeth Taylor, the original Hollywood diva

Her posters made people freeze in their tracks. Her movies were seen again and again. But Elizabeth Taylor will be remembered by Indians as much as a woman who lived life on her own terms as an actress of striking beauty and talent.
Be it her many marriages, her phenomenal jewellery collection or her zest for life, she was the original Hollywood diva.
With the film legend passing away in Los Angeles at the age of 79 Wednesday, many Indians in showbiz and fashion recall being smitten by her arched dark eyebrows, piercing green eyes and oomph factor in the early 1960s.
'For me, she defined cinema and cinematic beauty. When I was a kid, people used to be very attracted to English films. We used to be in awe of her looks. I remember stopping for a glance at her poster,' filmmaker Rohan Sippy said. 'Her presence will certainly be missed a lot.'
Her portrayal of a promiscuous woman in 'Butterfield 8' (1960) and an alcoholic woman trapped in a vicious marriage in 'Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf' (1966) won her Oscars.
But perhaps her most famous role in India remained 'Cleopatra' in 1961 - on the sets of which she met and fell in love with Richard Burton. Taylor was married eight times, including the two marriages to Burton.
'It was with a sense of awe that I watched 'Cleopatra' because it opened up a whole new world for me, particularly on gender issues. At that time in India, a woman's place was generally regarded as at home even though my own mother had a full time job,' said journalist V. Romesh Kumar who saw 'Cleopatra' at the age of 11.
'The fact that a woman could be a queen and a powerful one at that, able to exercise her own judgement was quite a revelation - and Taylor portrayed this forcefully.' Her wide eyes captivated many men.
'We have always perceived her as a rare personality... a lady who thinks from the heart..., and you can see it in her decisions,' Jai of designer duo Parvesh-Jai said. 'Like getting married again and again... falling in love again and again..., but nothing could stop her. She was a person who did what she felt was right,' he added.