I am a movie buff & there is no confessing about it. If you are an Indian who does not see any Bollywood movie or dance to any of its melodious tunes…………….please don’t call yourself a ‘Saccha Hindustani’…………….Bollywood is in our blood. These days it is in our dressing too…………ever notice your next door neighbour auntyji dressed in a Madhuri Dixit’s ‘Hum Aapke hai kaun’ trademark blue saree or your best friend trying to be like the gorgeous Deepika Padukone in those shorts & spaghetti tops which she wore in ‘Housefull’ or a guy walking in a denim with T-shirt reminding you of Ranbir Kapoor’s recent flick or the sexy siren dancing in a party dressed to kill as Kareena Kapoor in ‘Kambakt Ishq’…………………we all have seen these people somewhere right!!!
Let me take you through the fashion down the decades in bollywood and how it has changed the face of what you, me or anyone as a matter of fact wears in our everyday life.
I think the obsession started with seeing the yester year actresses like Madhubala, Nutan, Meena Kumari, Nargis Dutt, Waheeda Rehman all dressed in sarees with blouses which were printed or plain had puffed short sleeves. The Western wear of the 1950s was long middy dresses since it was considered inappropriate for a woman to be dressed in revealing clothes. How can I ever forget the beautiful vintage jewellery like jhumkas, hooplas, matha tikka, chokker, bangles….. ahhhh……. jewellery……………… beautiful jewellery. The keyword for this decade was ‘Simplicity’……….be it the designs of the clothes or the make-up it was all kept minimal.
Legendary Actors like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Kishore Kumar wore traditional clothes like dhoti kurta, kurta pyjama and when it came to formal western wear they opted for suits with tie. Hair for men were short accesorized usually with hats and women usually wore their long hair in a bun, plaits or simply left them open. There was no space for a tom-boy in that era since women were considered to act more feminine and men had to be thorough gentlemen. Movies like Awaara, Naya Daur, Chalti ka naam gaadi, Daag have set the trends for the people of India. But the fashion of the 1950s is classic and evergreen just like the movies.
Enter the Era of Anarkali suits, chudidhar with fitted kurtis & Mumtaz Saree [as seen above] were what one who has lived that era can recall……unfortunately I was born 2 decades late but would have loved to live the 1960s era when fashion had made a grand entry into Bollywood. People were discovering new styles in both Indian & western couture, experimenting with their looks.
What I can remember after seeing the movie is the high hair updos, ‘Sadhna’ cut which was a name given to fringe haircut, elongated eye-liner, big earrings, tight fitted clothes and the famous ‘twist’ dance. Asha Parekh, Mumtaz, Meena Kumari, Sharmila Tagore, Helen, Saira Bano were the top actresses in this time era influencing the fashion. The clothes were bolder than the previous decade in this ‘eastman’ colour decade.
Of course how can I ever leave the men behind…………..Icons like Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Dharamendra, Manoj Kumar, Sunil Dutt ruled the bollywood scene and they generally prefered wearing western attire. Even today when I see the movies from this era, I brings so much of joy………………..Mughal-E-Azam, Teesri Manzil, Junglee, Aradhana, Bramhachari, Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam, Jigri Dost, Padosan, Pakeezah [though released in 1972 it was made in the 60s]……………always refreshing to see these movies.
The ‘Flower Power’ or the ‘Disco Age’ years must have been the era that left quiet an impression on minds of very bollywood fan. The bell bottoms, platform heels, colourful sunglasses, psychedelic prints, butterfly collar shirts, big jewellery, Maxi dresses, tie-dye designs are still fresh in my memory. ‘Big’ was beautiful in the 1970s……………now that can be your hair, the print on the fabric, buttons on the shirt or the hemlines of your pants…………….
The hemlines went up and the necklines plunged a bit…………bold, demure style followed in this era where actresses like Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh, Hema Malini, Jaya Badhuri Bachchan ruled the time. The ‘bangs’ or the ‘wings’ look was very ‘In’ during the 70s for women…………Men too loved wearing their hair long with prominent side-burns. The leading men in bollywood were seen wearing fitted Blazers which were a bit flared at the hip coupled with broad ties………..I remember my Dad still has a couple of those and still not ready to give them up saying it was huge trend during his college years. Three piece suit also gained prominence during this era where one could see the hero’s of Bollywood wearing this style on & off the silver screen.
Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Dharamdra, Shashi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Jeetendra, were the idols for the young generation. Movies like Sholay, Seeta aur Geeta, Deewar, Yaadon ki Baraat, Amar Akbar Anthony, Bobby, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Anand, Guddi, Chupke Chupke were the movies making waves in bollywood.
I am a sample piece from this era since I was born in 1980s……………I am not telling you the year though………..but the bell bottoms + platform heel trend was phasing out ……………enter the strappy sandals and denim. Loads of colour was also the focus of the 1980s but people prefered wearing single colour instead of going in for fusion.
Rekha, Sridevi, Jaya Prada, Shabana Azmi, Dimple Kapadia, Padmini Kolhapure, Amrita Singh, Poonam Dhillon, Neelam ruled the silver screen in the 1980s. The saree in plain colours was a rage when Mr. India released…………I could see all the friends of my mother buy sarees in plain colour and consider themselves Sridevi……………Bhagyashree made the white Salwar Kameez famous in ‘Kabootar Jaa Jaaa’ song from the movie ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. The hair style meant more volume and people were simply crazy behind Dimple Kapadia’s hair do in ‘Saagar’ that every beauty salon put up a poster of Dimple in order to boost their sales. Hope you all remember the ‘Sagar Choti’ ……………..that is where the name came from. This era also made pants much more of a fashion for common people with denims catching the focus.
Actors like Sunjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Mithun Chakravarthy, Govinda, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Naseerudin Shah, Rishi Kapoor made the fitted pants or jean…a routine. Of course not forgetting Jeetendra who made the white pants with white shoes a must have for every guy………………………. The rugged look was ‘In’ for the guys of the 80s. Movies that left a mark not just at the box office but also in fashion were Umrao Jaan, Mr. India, Maine Pyar Kiya, Chaalbaaz, Silsila, Shaan, Sagar……………
I remember the frenzy that followed the weeks after ‘Hum Aapke hai kaun’ released in India, If I ever went to any wedding I could see a belle dressed as ‘Madhuri Dixit’……………….remember the famous purple saree [Pic above] from the song ‘Didi tera devar deewana’…………….
Colourful Bandhni, shoulder pads, scarves, chunky jewellery, ankle high boots, tight fitted skirts, hair bands, big decorative bindis and matt lipsticks were a rage in 1990s. And of course all the actress like Kajol, Urmila Matondkar, Madhuri Dixit, Karisma Kapoor, Manisha Koirala, Raveena Tandon, Juhi Chawla set the trend for it. Menswear had also changed to a lot of extent with waist coats, leather jackets, baggy pants, loud print ties, dungrees, colourful denim making an entry into their wardrobe. Even if a guy is not all muscles he would wear a T-shirt underneath his over-sized shirt to make him look like a hunk……………..yeah I know you have been there too, buddy. Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan have sported that look in many of their movies. Talking about movies, I feel films like Hum Aapke hain Kaun, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil toh Pagal hai, Yes Boss, Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam, Rangeela, Raja Hindustani made an impact on the fashion industry as well.
These movies also made way for designers to enter Bollywood in a big way………….famously known was Manish Malhotra for transforming Kajol in DDJL, Kuch Kuch hota hai or giving a make-over to Karisma Kapoor in Raja Hindustani…………Designers made it big and created a new path where the clothes were not required to be rented from the dresswala but to be picked up from a boutique. The 1990s era was a gateway for Fashion designers who were able to showcase their creations not just in movies but also on Ramp and international beauty pagents. Actors & Actresses became more image conscious with respect to what they wore…………..each one wanted the designer to create a unique style for them. In india this was a revolutionary period in terms of fashion for sure……
Enter the era of ‘Stylist’ since the designers were already here……………the bollywood actors & actresses started making more frequent appearance on the red carpet hence needed someone to style them both on and off the screen as well. The best example of course can be Dhoom 2 where stylist and fashion editor of Vogue India Anaita Shroff Adajania had made all the people look ‘hot’ with her styling tricks. She was also a part of the cast of ‘Kal ho na ho’ which was another style forward movie. But people loved the ‘Dil Chahta hai’ gang that changed the way men looked at themselves in the mirror.
Suddenly ‘Metrosexual Men’ were very much in vogue………..they styled their hair well, wore designer labels only, went in for a regular manicure/pedicure & professional grooming, carried a pair of stylish shades…………..in short men became much, much more fashion conscious which was a woman’s business till the turn of the century. Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal we owe this change to you guys……..
It was ‘More the Merrier’ for women too who had an array of style to choose from…………she could go vintage with the classy ‘Devdas’ look by wearing kundan jewellery with designer saree or look like a million bucks by adorning short dresses which Kareena Kapoor carried off in ‘Kambakkht Ishq’ ………else look feminine in the Anarkali chudidhar which Sonam Kapoor wore in ‘Saawariya’…………..the choice is unlimited.
Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherjee, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Bipasha Basu are the front runners from the beginning of the 21st century. New faces like Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut are being looked up as the ‘next best thing’ in Bollywood fashion. The movie list that set a fashion trends would go on forever since today fashion changes as quickly as the movies in the theatre……….hope the next decade is even more fun-filled.