Bollywood losing its grip on popular fashion?

The retro period of the 1970s in Bollywood, made bell-bottoms, flower prints and polka dots an absolute fashion rage.

Ians May 25, 2011


Women used to scramble for the latest Bollywood clothes, be it that blue sari Madhuri Dixit wore in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun or the short kurti paired with the patiala shalwaar donned by Rani Mukerji in Bunty Aur Babli.

Who can forget the fashion statement made by the legendary film Mughal-e-Azam, which popularised the elegant anarkali kameez and churidar, donned by the iconic actress Madhubala?

The retro period of the 1970s in Bollywood, made bell-bottoms, flower prints and polka dots an absolute fashion rage amongst both women and men. And then there were Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas featuring leading ladies who made Eastern wear like heavily embroidered saris intensely fashionable amongst the masses.

But the influence of Hindi films on fashion is waning, say designers. Some pinpoint the fading aura of Bollywood stars while others blame the extensive exposure of the public to international fashion trends.

Does Bollywood really have a superstar? The answer most probably is no. The larger than life image of Hindi film actors has atrophied over the years. Most of them are now constantly under the media’s gaze and are overexposed on the internet.

There was a time when the common man would dream of certain actors, celebrities like Madhuri Dixit ... Rani and Kajol in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai ... because people used to be crazy about them, wanted to look like them to feel special. But now, there are no such faces that excite the masses and give them a push,” says Kolkata-based designer Joy Mitra. “The point is there is no exclusivity anymore.”

Troy Costa, who has been designing clothes for actor Hrithik Roshan, offers another cause for this change in public’s taste. He says that compared to international trends, clothes in Hindi films currently fall short of good fashion.

“The kind of clothes I have seen in movies were not up to expectation. Also, earlier people were not exposed to fashion that much and were dependent on mediums like films. But things have changed now,” Costa elucidated.

He explains that uninhibited access to fashion magazines and the internet has made people develop a keen eye for detecting what’s in vogue.

“With so many fashion channels and magazines available now, people take less than a second to get an idea of the most-sought-after trend,” he elucidates. “Technically speaking, a movie takes a minimum of a year to make and by the time it is released, the trend becomes old and people find it illogical to follow them.”

Delhi-based designer Charu Parashar makes a similar point.

“I think fashion, in totality, has changed. Now people are much more aware of international trends and follow them instead of following any person or a trend that a film tries to bring,” Parashar said.

In recent years the unkempt look of Kareena Kapoor sporting a casual t-shirt with a loose shalwaar became a huge hit. Subsequently Katrina Kaif’s checkered shorts in New York and Deepika Padukone’s leggings worn underneath kurtis in Love Aaj Kal , became a style mania.

But that was in 2009. Newer films have not had the same impact on popular fashion.

While apparel by famous designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Vikram Phadnis, Rohit Bal and Manish Malhotra featured in the latest films has been appreciated, little of this sartorial style has successfully made its way into popular fashion.

Many at weddings will still don a gaudy sari, replete with glittering sequins, typically worn by a film actress, many youngsters would not be caught dead in such over-the-top couture.

Arisha Virmani, a 25-year old movie buff, expresses her disappointment with current Bollywood trends.

“I am a complete movie buff and I used to follow fashion trends from films blindly. But it is sad that now movies are not coming up with any good creative outfits,” she says with dismay. “Rather, the frequency of fashion tips on television and magazines are more informative.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2011.


Erum | 10 years ago | Reply that is also because indian films nowadays just expose. Actresses are trying to wear as short as they could.
asiya | 10 years ago | Reply they both are prety and nice acterres
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