An actress saree has, over the years, revolutionized the way the Indian woman on the street dresses up and inspired new lines of apparel, though it is not just the clothes worn by leading Bollywood men and women-even their hairdo and accessories have set the flavor and the look of the season.
Dev Anand’s ‘puff’, Sadhna’s fringe nicknamed the ‘Sadhna cut’ after her in the yesteryears and, recently, Sanjay Dutt’s ‘Khalnayak’ look was emulated by millions of ardent fans. Rekha’s jewellery in ‘Umraao Jaan’ and Salma Agha’s adornments in ‘Nikaah’ made many a woman look at them with imploring eyes. Starved of real life models, the Indian audience has always looked upto their Bollywood counterparts for inspiration and has lapped out gleefully whatever is served to them. With such unflinching support from the masses, Bollywood is perpetually under the scanner-each and every nuance becoming a trendsetter.
Many Indian men fantasized about Sridevi when Mr. India did untold things to her in ‘Kaate nahin katate ye din ye raat’ while she was dressed up in a seductive blue chiffon. How can a dedicated Hindi movie buff forget the purple saree worn by Madhuri Dixit when she sang Didi tera dewar deewana? This particular saree was aped by many an Indian woman and featured on the cover pages of numerous periodicals. Chandni and, more recently, Devdas, Mohabbatein and Main hoon na which were huge hits were as much talked about in terms of performances and storyline as they were regarding the leading lady’s stunning wardrobe. An actress saree featured in these movies has often gone on to become a fashion furore, as was the case with Aishwarya’s dark blue saree in Devdas, the Dream girl Hema Malini’s timeless collection in ‘Baghbaan’ and Katrina’s black saree in ‘Teri ore’. And the reason for this is the fact that lots of hard work and personalized designing goes into the making of each and every actress saree. The body structure, height and weight of the heroine are kept in mind while designing an outfit for her. A saree which can look killing on a tall, svelte and sultry Deepika Padukone may look totally digressive on a short and stodgy Rani Mukerjee. With more than one brain working to get the desired effect, the end product is bound to leave a deep imprint on the audience.
With Indian fashion designers like Manish Malhotra, Nita Lulla, Wendel Rodricks, Ritu Beri, Rohit BAL and Sabyasachi Mukherjee infusing new life into this traditional piece of attire for our glam dolls at Bollywood, an actress saree now gets unprecedented popularity and following. This size-zero girls who have attained their immaculate, sculpted bodies with lots of hard work are perfect for showcasing and popularizing a garment which is as old as the Indus valley civilization. Thanks to their endorsements at various awards functions and performances, this tradional drape is no longer meant for a dull and boring housewife- it is now a must have for fashionistas all over the country, the barriers of age, region and religion notwithstanding.
However, mindlessly aping an actress saree does not always work. A woman has to know the plus points and shortcomings of her figure, what colour would look best on her complexion, the occasion for which the outfit is meant, what fabrics would bring out most elegantly the feminine side in her, etc. before finalizing her choice of saree. While one can take a cue about what is the ‘in-thing’ for the season from Bollywood, every woman has to bear in mind that the final choice has to be made according to her personality. A woman should be comfortable in what she id wearing and be able to carry off her outfit with élan and panache. It would be silly trying to go for a makeover and try that ultra-modern look on a woman with a sheer saree and bikini-top blouse, if she feels embarrassed revealing too much of herself in public.
The bottomline, therefore, is to look for what looks best on oneself and CREATE a fashion statement, rather than follow the much-trodden path!!