Apparels from the filmi duniya, be it peek-a-boos, white trousers, piano shoes or hairstyles, all have been the yardstick of fashion down the ages. ARCHANA NANDAL traces Bollywood pręt till the sixties.
AT `23 Days of Bollywood', a recently concluded exhibition at Selfridges, the Oxford Street clothes store in London showed design works inspired by Hindi films.
Whether it was Marilyn Monroe who made famous the corset, a luscious mouth and blonde hair, or Madhuri Dixit, her Indian alter-ego of three decades later, these very stylish ladies of the movies have time and again inspired and influenced fashion. There is a style-quake happening around us and there is not one amongst us who remains unaffected by it - images bombarding our T.V. screens, a barrage of fashion and style magazines on the stands, designers showcasing at fashion weeks, style supplements in the news dailies, and, the most powerful and dynamic medium which touches every true-to-heart Indian, and leaves it's indelible mark every Friday - THE MOVIES!!!
Recurring images of the oh-so-stylish Devika Rani of the 1940's, to the rebellious Zeenat Aman of the 70's, to the most contemporary and natural style of Preity Zinta, continue to influence us. We would be lying if we say that we have not looked up to these women over the century to inspire us to look good and feel better.
Let's take a walk down memory lane to celebrate a century gone by of incredible style.
The 1940's - was a decade of emerging fashions at the movies, and none other than Devika Rani epitomised the essence of 40's style - neat hairdo's, sharply outlined lips, pearl jewellery, frills and fancy - hers was an inimitable style which taught many of our grandmothers the coy act. Her delicate song-and-dance manner in "main ban ki chidiya ban ke ban-ban dolu re" was simply seductive.
Then came the timeless black and white images of the 50's - and brought with it the chameleon like Madhubala - whose transition from the melancholy to the impish was as smooth as quicksilver. Her moon pale face, the half smile and wild hair- who can forget? She taught our generations of yore - how to wear pants!!! Waist tightly cinched in, tight tee tops teemed with naughty scarves, and a full red alluring mouth. Hearts stopped beating when she came crooning - " haal kaisa hai janaab ka... ... ... "
On the flip side of the 50's coin was Helen, the paradoxical image of the "pativrata bharatiya naari" - in fact the only image in those days which symbolized the emergence of a bold and liberal thought that was to sweep across the country - her streaked hair, kittenish eyes and glam doll look peaked in the china girl of - " mera naam chin chin choo... ... ... "
The dignified lull of the 50's gave way to the style storm of the 60's - movies became coloured and there was a no holds barred approach to fashion. Asha Parekh became the ultimate style goddess - her petulant mouth coloured with creamy orange lipstick, hair elaborately done up in bouffant, short fitted kurtas worn with tight churidaars in icy pastel colours with dupattas neatly pinned with jewelled brooches - she was one of the most enduring images that defined early 60's style and had the nation gasping for breath when she sang - " achcha to hum chalte hain ... "
In the late 60's came Mumtaz, the child woman who we could never have enough of. She taught our moms and their friends how to sulk with style! An elaborate hairdo, tightly wrapped saris, lots of jewellery was the order of the day. The jive became most fashionable when she let loose in
" aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche har jabaan par... ... ... "
(To be concluded)
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