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The different phases of Bollywood Fashion…

The history of the fashionable trends or rather the changing trends of fashion in the Bollywood Hindi cinema date back almost to the decades of the 60s till the current phase of the year 2010. And it was in the earlier time zone of time spanning the last four decades of the last millennium that popular star pairs like Dilip Kumar–Madhubala, Rajendra Kumar–Mala Sinha, Raaj Kumar­–Meena Kumari, Biswajeet–Saira Banu, Sunil Dutt–Sadhana, Joy Mukherjee–Asha Parekh, and above all Raj Kapoor–Nargis had played a key role in evolving a fashion conscious trendy style of their own.

The metamorphosis of these styles endorsed so painstakingly by them had somewhat failed to reach its dizzy heights, its pinnacle even then too as even their collective or individualistic contributions had paled in significance compared to the global standards and parameters of that particular phase. Yes, the poor guys used to hang themselves on to every shred of fabric which used to be a part and parcel of their attire just like they were accustomed to hang on to and mouth every bit of dialogues ever uttered by them. To begin with we go back to the era of Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, who ironically were well-known more for their respective images of a tragedy king and Venus of beauty rather than their wardrobe or their hairstyles. it was Rajendra Kumar who had given a boost to executive looks and styles of dressing down while his co-star Mala Sinha had seemed more than happier by slipping in and out of her tight churidaars, kurtas and, of course, hallmarked by her then inventive “Chidiyon Ka Ghosla’ (Bird’s Nest) type of wriggly wigs. After that Shashi Kapoor–Sharmila Tagore, the latter in her individualistic capacity had also popularized the conceptualized fashion of the tightly knotted at the back kind of cholis probably to kick off a bare backed trend of its own, Jeetendra (who was known more for his obsessive passion and penchant for everything white from headwear to footwear than for his acting skills then) – Mumtaz and last but not the least garam dharm Dharmendra and his better half dream girl (or should it be dream woman by now) Hema Malini. And then but then trust Raaj Kumar–Meena Kumari for being simplicity and serenity personified.

Much earlier, it was Raj Kapoor and Nargis, Sunil Dutt and Sadhana who had indeed made a conscious effort to retain their originality by adopting their own style. Raj Kapoor’s Russian styled polo necked T Shirts, the trademarked white sarees or the long flowing umbrella styled gowns of Nargis, Sunil Dutt’s cowboy hats (also copied blatantly by Feroz Khan) and designer goggles in tandem with the long strands of hairs covering his entire forehead and mane (which was earlier noticeable even in his son Sunjay Dutt) and last but not the least Sadhana’s especially scissored hairs in steps cut covering just the front portion of her forehead.  To continue further a daring and dazzling twist in the fashion trend that also occurred in the 60s phase itself when the actresses of that era had shed their inhibitions and dared to wear swimming costumes on the celluloid silver screen. Saira Banu and Sharmila Tagore had gone a step ahead in the Eastman colour era. The former wore a shiny, sequined, colourful and a very chamkila albeit a one-piece swimming costume for a film called April Fool, while the latter had worn a shiny one-piece swimming costume for a film called An Evening In Paris

With the conservative actress taking the lead, can the pin up boys oops actors of those times be left far behind. So the first such breed of non actors of those times to herald the trend of going topless by wearing a swimming costume were none other than Dharamendra, Jeetendra, Joy Mukherjee, Deb Mukherjee and above all Biswajeet. Of course the hot-blooded Salman Khan too has blindly followed in their footsteps.

To proceed further, the last millennium had also seen the then contemporary stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Rakesh Roshan et al glamorizing the fashion trends further with their frilly shirts and flannel trousers aptly rounded off with platform heeled foot wears. While their female counterparts, actresses like Rekha and Sridevi attired most of the times in their bell bottoms and puffed sleeved tops, Jaya Prada in her typical Bhartiya Nari get up of starched white cotton and sometimes chiffon and silk sarees, had indeed made a stylish fashion statement of their own.

Next came the stars lucrative penchant for endorsing brand labels like Big B clad in a Reid and Taylor outfits, While their current crop of contemporary actresses like Lara Dutta, Esha Deol, Sameera Reddy, Bipasha Basu, Malaika Arora–Khan et al have gone one step ahead in not only their body piercing acts but also cladding themselves most of the times in their next to nothing looks and attires like mini skirts, halter necked and boob tube tops exposing their midriff or else they just squeeze themselves up in a low rise albeit skin tight designer labeled jeans and sometimes even in a bra exposing see through tops. Not to forget the Dhak Dhak girl Madhuri Dixit in her famous backless choli from Khalnayak or Mandira Bedi, the cricket field sensation, in her noodle straps and garishly offset chakmak. On the other hand starry actresses like Aishwarya Rai and Rani Mukherjee are still hung up on their mania for favoring and possessing their favorite dress designers like Neeta Lulla and Manish Malhotra respectively. That apart there are some staunch loyalist male stars too like Shah Rukh Khan and Suniel Shetty who strictly prefer to be draped only in the costumes designed exclusively for them, but natural, by their respective spouses Gauri Khan and Mana Shetty. Nowadays bollywood fashion is a mix of retro contemporary and traditional and what not. The sarees of ‘devdas’. The short kurti suits of ‘Bunty and Babli’. The suits of ‘Veer Zara’ to the shorts worn by actresses in many of the films. Bollywood has seen so manu ups and downs in fashion so now this is the time to see whats stored in for us in the upcoming days…..

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