Sabyasachi Mukherjee once said that the costumes should never overpower the character and actor. It should meld in so seamlessly that you should hardly notice the clothes. And if the actors are not present, the clothes should be able to tell that narrative within a scene. While many bollywood movies do employ designers, sometimes it is important to have the character take centrestage than the designer. There were some gems in 2015 that did just that.
Probably the best Deepika has ever acted and that too effortlessly. From tees to organic cotton kurta tunics, and a striped scarf, Deepika was the professional headstrong opinionated stubborn architect yet who likes to speak her mind. She is non fussy, yet will ocassionally make an effort to dress up with big earrings, a cotton sari and kohl lined eyes to portray the fiesty bengali babe, even though her banglorian roots do come through. You hardly notice the costumes because they are normal and meld in so well with the character that there is no fight for attention between character and its costumes. For people who used to comment that Deepika can’t turn off her glam factor, she turns on her charm in the movie.
DUM LAGA KE HAISHA
Small town nineties, in this gem of a film is so cute and delectable that you cannot not be nostalgic if you are a bollywood baby like me. The floral prints, the cardigans over saris, the jarring embroideries, the confusion of fusing west with east, with detail done right even down to the nightgown the lead actress wears, it was all in this movie. The everyday headstrong newly married wife yet a non confirmist, Sandhya just adopts the character just brilliantly from mannerisms to clothes. Her counterpart with ‘sweayters’, high waisted baggy and oversized pants, even though in an earthy color is a complete contrast to the self assured leading lady. And the concluding song just revives up all the nineties bollywood movies someone like me came across.
The most impressive debut this year, and one of the most endearing films, Masaan’s costumes tell a story. Using a pinch of black ash to age clothes and show caste differences between the pair, kurtas for Devi’s clothes in different hues were all presented beautifully. Tiny masterstrokes like no ironing, under-vest for Deepak amounted to a much larger picture in this engrossing well made movie. To show something rooted in culture and orthodox yet not trying to hard making it a second nature to the world where these characters live is no mean feat.
Even though she might try, in a high profile movie, it takes just little to glam up this leggy lass and this movie, even in her everyday outfits, her ease was commendable, her attitude casual and her outfits on point – this mona darling was bohemian easy and flirty . However in the second part of the movie, this headstrong lass showed her hero she pretty much could steal the scene and her transformation to pants, power suits, and that amazing first date red hot outfit with leather jacket (was to die for), knits and denims was quite seamless from the first part of her character. Even in Ved’s story, she is the most endearing part of it. In contrast from free spirited Don to the stuck in societal norms and unconfident Ved, this has to be Ranbir’s most underrated performance after Rocket singh. From bombers and tees to tucked in shirts and knits, the difference is stark and a shock for both audience and Tara.
TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS
I am totally game for when two contrasting elements come together beautifully and in this case, radically in an outfit, Tanu in Tanu weds manu returns does just that. Singlets, short kurta tunics with printed and patterned shalwar and harem pants coupled with her wild curls and those dior shades, this rebel with a cause was sassy, suave and super self aware. Her brightly colored ensembles were fun and flirty bringing cool to being a desi in a very casual avatar. Even her formal wear with mirrorwork, the orange and two piece was fun. This is a woman who shows that even with something as desi as shalwar kameez could be as sexy without being much just with the right cut and shape. The opposite end of the spectrum, Datto was simple sweet, though I wasnt too sure about the dark lip, a button up shirt, a gharara and a dopatta all into one – not the dulhan, even a sportswoman, would be like. Maddy happily being the coy yet headstrong husband, was good in the ‘regular guy’ look with knits, shirts and formal pants, complete with glasses. Here is a story where not the good girl gets the guy.
Pulling off a period drama is no mean feat, and especially of this scale, Bajirao Mastani was awe inspiring. While I had personal issues with Deepika’s dialogue delivery (Yes Urdu does take a certain decorum) and her ‘muslim’ outfits weren’t really impressive barring a couple of ghararas, and the golden one where she dances, it was the Maharashtrians that took me my breath away. Anju Modi’s outfits for the maratha general’s family was tight and crisp with pitch perfect contrasts and color denoting when and where its worn. The embroidery, the weaves and the styling was certainly bang on. The chikankari as well as neutral brocade kalidaar kurtas worn by Ranveer were easily lustworthy and paired with jewel toned embroidered jackets and dhotis, with the turban, was just pitch perfect. It helps that he can act well and pull off those outfits brilliantly.Priyanka chopra would carry off a brocade sari with as much elan as organic indigo ones. She literally takes your breath away, never losing a beat as Kashi.
BOMBAY VELVET / DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHI
The two noirs of bollywood, one more successful than the other, set in similar timezones but different cities, but high on style and glam. While Bombay Velvet was high on glamour quotient so much so that it did venture out into western noir, Slick men, sexy femme fatale as a jazz singer in some gorgeous gowns and finery, guns Bolmbay velvet was everything but wasn’t at the same time. From bouffants to curls to tight buns, Rosie sports them all, accompanied with feathers, jewels and all sometimes felt a bit too much on petite Anushka. Ranbir mostly decked up in suits and so was Karan Johar, one brash, other slick were on point. Bakshi on the other hand was more rustic. Jackets with dhotis and boots kept him more grounded within the geographical setting of the time. The vamp Anguri Devi is to be seen just for the novelty of her name. A dancer and a spy, this curvy lassie was all that and more with the perfect curl bob without a hair outta place, the blood red lips and a black sari was just the stuff hindi noir vamps are made of and she hit the nail bang on.
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