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Rakhshanda Khattak Javeri

THE HERALD

September 1970

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Huge almond-shaped eyes that can flash fire or flame as necessary, a tan the colour of burnt sienna, teeth crying out for a toothpaste commercial, hair sleekly, seductively black. 

That is Pakistan’s answer to Emma Peel. In other words, Rakhshanda Khattak – former model, future film star and current housewife.

She’s got good reason to look like she does: a Pathan father and a Burmese mother.

Other things being unequal, Rakhshanda can match Emma judo for judo. Learnt not for love but for money, demonstrated not in fun but in earnest in her forthcoming film Jane Bond 008 In Karachi.

Other noteworthy features of the film: It’s a Pak-Iran coproduction and a spy thriller cum comedy.

Rakhshanda plays a secret agent sent from London to replace another secret agent. That’s where the Emma Peel bit comes in.

But does she like it?

Are you kidding? She asks, rolling her big eyes. “I almost broke my back doing it.”

A pause. Then “Any volunteers?” with a challenging look around at her husband, the photographer, the three guests present and myself.

There were no takers.

Incidentally, Rakhshanda has never tried it off-screen – yet. And of Emma Peel she says: She’s a bit too cool.”

Venue of the exchange: Rakhshanda’s Victoria Road flat. Which, to the uninitiated looks like something out of a film set: curved cardboard arches, low low divans and animal skins and heads galore.

Rakhshanda calls I Moghul-style.

Wedged in uncomfortably between Lolita and Shakespeare in the bookcase is Profitable Poultry Keeping.

What gives? Rakhshanda’s husband, jeweler Hussain Javeri, came out with the dark secret.

He wanted to be a farmer, but his father insisted on jewellery – the family business. So Hussain settled for chickens on the roof – which he and Rakhshanda are reaping jointly now. “It’s a paying proposition,” he confided.

But jewellery, not chicken brought Hussain and Rakhshanda together. She walked into his shop to buy jewellery one day – and found that she had bought him instead.

“I found a customer who was very, very beautiful interested in the same things as I was, and who appealed to me tremendously – so I grabbed her for life”, grinned Hussain.

Rakhshanda has taken to domesticity like a duck to water. “I don’t think it’s dull at all; every day there’s something exciting to do.

She doesn’t see many Pakistani movies but she does like Mohammed Ali and wouldn’t mind acting with him.

At the moment, however, she is just sitting back and waiting for Jane Bond’s release. , supposed to have taken place months back, but now scheduled for the near future.

Meantime she has plenty to keep her occupied: hunting, swimming, riding, driving, plus 60 lovebirds, and plenty of goldfish. And of course, the chickens.

She and Hussain go off for shikar (Hunting) whenever possible. They hunt wild boar and tigers. “I haven’t shot one as yet,” confessed Rakhshanda.

A lizard suddenly darted out from behind a tiger’s head on the wall and made a beeline for a gun at the other end of the room. Rakhshanda screamed.

“The only Pathan who’s scared of lizards,” grinned her husband.

 

 

                                      

Rakhshanda and a leopard skin: The hunter and the hunted

 

The leopard abaove and the model know the wadges of hunting

Smoke a coffee and Rakhshanda takes there to relax

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