Is Bollywood losing its grip on popular fashion?
New Delhi: Oh how 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 with patiala salwaar donned by Rani Mukerji in ‘Bunty Aur Babli’. But the influence of Hindi film industry fashion is waning, say designers. Some put the blame for it on the extensive exposure to international fashion, thanks to TV, fashion magazines and the internet, and others on the fading aura of Bollywood stars.
"Does Bollywood have a superstar? The answer is no, we don`t have a starry-eyed image whom people would look up to. They are so approachable now. All the heroes and heroines you see are over-exposed; their visibility is way too much for people to absorb a particular trend. The point is there is no exclusivity any more," Kolkata-based designer Joy Mitra told reporters.
"There was a time when the common man would dream of certain actors, celebrities like Madhuri Dixit...owning her outfit became a dream for every woman, Rani and Kajol in `Kuch Kuch Hota Hai`... their trendy youthful clothes, 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," he said.
Troy Costa, who has been designing clothes for actor Hrithik Roshan, says film clothes 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 told reporters.
He says platforms like fashion magazines and internet have widened the reach of the common man.
"With so many fashion channels and magazines available now, people take less than a second to get the idea of the most-sought-after trend. After all, it`s better to follow something which is in today.
"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," he added.
Who can forget the fashion statement made by the legendary film ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, which gave birth to the elegant anarkali kameez and churidar style, donned by the iconic actress Madhubala?
The retro period of Bollywood, the 1970s, needs no introduction as bell-bottoms, flower prints and use of polka dots became a rage with not only women but men too.
Then there were "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" and ‘Devdas’ - both of which featured leading ladies in heavily embroidered saris, with the use of silk and brocade, signifying the rich heritage of India.
Down the years, the unkempt look of Kareena Kapoor in ‘Jab We Met’ where she sported a casual t-shirt with a loose salwaar was a huge hit. Then came Katrina Kaif`s ‘New York’ which brought check shorts to town, closely followed by Deepika Padukone`s ‘Love Aaj Kal’ where she wore leggings with kurtis.
But that was in 2009. Newer films have not had the same impact.
Delhi-based designer Charu Parashar, who will design clothes for item girl Rakhi Sawant for her upcoming film ‘Qasam Se Qasam Se’, says people have become more internationally-oriented.
"I think fashion, in totality, has changed. Now people are much aware of international trends and follow them instead of following any person or a trend that a film tries to bring. With so many fashion forums and fashion weeks, people are aware about the latest trend and pick and choose accordingly. They are no more under the influence of celebrities," Parashar said.
Famous designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Vikram Phadnis, Rohit Bal and Manish Malhotra have made clothes for the screen and been appreciated for it. But not much has translated into popular fashion.
While at weddings, some may still wrap around that glittering sari, with sequins and heavy embroidery, much like a film actress, many youngsters would not be caught dead in gaudy, over-the-top clothes on most occasions.
Agrees Arisha Virmani, 25, who works in a private firm.
"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. Rather, the frequency of fashion tips on television and magazines are more informative," she said.