Bollywood Ladies in need of stylists!
Never mind what the fashion-illiterate , self-styled desi ‘Fashion Police’ say about our stars ( nothing very much, actually!), but even for those who don’t follow trends, it is becoming pretty obvious that by obediently wearing what stylists throw their way, does not a star fashionista make. Some of our former leading ladies are looking positively comical these days. All because of this current ‘fashion mania’ that has gripped Bollywood. Every female star wants to look ‘hot’. Every star mom’s secret fantasy is to be identified as a ‘Yummy Mummy’, even before her poor baby has been weaned. Assuming the baby is breast fed (“What happens to my figure? My boobs? Quick!Get that formula bottle…”), and the star mum still has to shed those extra kilos, shouldn’t a sweet and sincere girl friend tell her it’s okay not to squeeze into those dreadful, clingy, Bangkok ‘gowns’? The latest to fall prey is a woman ( no longer qualifies as a ‘girl’), Kaajol, who has never given a damn in the past as to what the latest craze was ( she left that to her younger sister). Kaajol was Kaajol. An absolute natural – untidy hair, smudged eyeliner, ill-fitting clothes…. and attitude. Loads of attitude - that was her best fashion statement and accessory. Her fans loved her for it. She rarely partied with the Bollywood set. Nor did her husband. And on the rare occasions when she did show up at a public event, it was in non-starry outfits, generally unflattering but altogether endearing. That’s what everybody loved and admired about this talented, feisty, individualistic woman. A few weeks ago, she showed up at a store promotion, clad in something so horribly wrong for her body type, people gasped in shock. Was that really Kaajol in that ghastly electric blue, short and exceedingly tight cabaret dancer dress? Yes, sir. It was. And one immediately wanted to summon her stylist ( does she have one?) and send the person off to the nearest fashion school for some basic lessons in how not to dress a client.
Ditto for the lovely Madhuri. Her smile is dazzling. True. But it is no substitute for a great outfit… a terrific saree. Madhuri never did project any specific style , even during her hey days. Then, all those years of staying away from Bollywood obviously hit home rather rudely . When she finally packed her bags, husband and kids to come home, she forgot to junk her American wardrobe… more Sear’s than Selfridge’s. She plunged into reality shows in which it is mandatory to dress in dreadful clothes and wear purple lip colour. One forgave her those early fashion faux pas. She’d soon pick up on what’s cool, her admirers reasoned. But that didn’t happen. Today, Madhuri continues to sport a rather dated and decidedly down market look, though she can well afford the best. Those lace and net sarees…. the OTT accessories. No,no,no. It’s not happening. Where is Manish Malhotra when we need him the most?
That brings us to Vidya Balan…. yes, yes, yes….
Rani Mukherjee is displaying genuine confusion in all aspects of her life, fashion included. Like Vidya, Rani is an authentic all- Indian, rustic beauty. Like Vidya, she is hugely talented and versatile. We know ‘Bunty aur Babli’ is a part of history. But vintage Rani always got it right, even when she did off-camera Bengali ‘Bahuma’, with such grace and charm. Today, Rani is seen in designer gear ( frightfully pricey, no doubt), which robs her of her natural charm, strips her off her real personality, and makes her look like any other wannabe. Rani in jeans? Rani in gowns? Whyyyyyy? Leave that to the newbies who are desperate to attract attention and make it to Page 3. Rani is Rani. She should dress according to her new found status. Oh oh… maybe not. We like our Rani in Bong-influenced outfits, traditional gold jewellery and a big red bindi. We hope she never resembles a prosperous Punjabi behenji-bahu.
So, what’s happening with these ladies? It can’t be panic? Surely not? Look at Karishma Kapoor. Just look at her. Bravely soldiering on as she weathers domestic storms and gets ready for her comeback. Look at Sridevi ( also poised to re-enter Bollywood). Lolo’s look and looks are getting better and better. She stays true to classic and that’s what suits her . Sridevi… ummm…. some cause for worry, there. She has a great body. But her personality is so fixed in our minds, it’s hard to applaud when she wears say, a Balenciega or a Halston. So not Sri! Next, we’ll have Hema Malini stepping out in a strapless,edgy Valentino. Aiyyyyo. God help us.
Stars who get it right almost all the time are Preity Zinta ( the Ness-effect, some call it), and increasingly, Kangana Ranaut ( let’s credit her own native instincts for what she can rock). For the rest on this list – we have a brilliant suggestion. It’s called a mirror.
Thank you Blogdosts, for your very enthusiastic thumbs up to the 'Savvy ' cover. Credit must be given where credit is due. It starts with a good make-up artist. I was working with one of our best - Ojas, on this shoot. He's the one who made Aishwarya look utterly divine in her movie with Rajnikant - Robot. But it is really the person behind the lens who can create magic. I have worked with the very talented and extremely pleasant Vikram Bawa several times. We share a great rapport. That helps. I like to shoot in natural light. I hate artificial studio lights! Vikram is game, though his preference is for lighting up a shoot himself since a photographer has better control over the images if he is designing the lighting . But Vikram is always considerate enough to accommodate me and shoot outdoors - as in this shot. So glad our efforts were appreciated!