Fashion has always played a major role in Bollywood films. So much can be conveyed about a character, the era they belong to, their socio-economic background through the clothes they wear. But, that is not to say everything about Bollywood style is about practicalities. Many actors and actresses set trends by adopting a signature look for themselves. There have been quite a few Bollywood films as well that introduced major fashion trends over generations. Here are just 10 of them.
1. Mughal-e-Azam (1960) – Anarkali suits
One of the classics of Hindi cinema, K Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam is still considered to be one of the finest films. The entire film was a celebration of aesthetic grandeur and perfection. In the 1960s, Madhubala’s, AKA Anarkali’s suits became all the rage after the film released. To date, anarkali suits remain a favourite ethnic wear option for desi women for special occasions.
2. An Evening In Paris (1967) – Sharmila Tagore’s swimsuit
Sharmila Tagore was the very first Indian woman to don a bikini for a magazine cover, the magazine being Filmfare. But originally, she had planned to wear this bikini in her film An Evening in Paris, but she was asked to wear a one-piece instead. Nevertheless, her swimsuits became a rage that year.
2. Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971) – Hippie chic
Zeenat Aman’s look in the film was heavily inspired by the Hippie aesthetic of the 70s. From bell-bottom pants to big tinted glasses, hoop earrings, marigolds, and middle-parted wavy hair – this film continues to be a style inspiration even now.
3. Bobby (1973) – Polka dots
Dimple Kapadia’s debut in Bollywood was sensational. She had donned a now iconic front-tying, midriff baring top with polka dots for one scene. This one scene will go down in cinematic history as one of the watershed moments for Indian fashion.
4. Chandni (1989) – Vibrant chiffon sarees
Sridevi made vibrant chiffon sarees fashionable AF with films like Chandni and Mr India(1987). Every woman wanted to own chiffon sarees just like the ones she seduced Anil Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor in. There even was a tribute to the bright yellow chiffon saree from Chandni in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
6. Rangeela (1995) – Denim shirts and everything 90s
Urmila Matondkar became the collective crush of every desi 90s kid with her role in Ram Gopal Varma’s Rangeela. From looking like a 90s cool chick to a siren, her looks escalated sometimes within minutes in the film. Denim shirts, chokers, giant men’s shirts, colourful straight-cut trousers, and the sexiest range of beachwear – Urmila was a bomb in everything!
7. Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) – Athleisure
Manish Malhotra is the man responsible for introducing lycra into our lives. Hints of his athleisure streak was visible in Rangeela as well, but he went full bomb in Dil To Pagal Hai with Karisma Kapoor’s look. And sooner than you could finish singing all the nine songs from the film, athleisure gained a permanent spot in our urban dictionaries.
8. Dil Chahta Hai (2001) – Urban chic
This is the film that made leather pants and iridescent, holographic trousers look cool. Though they were strictly meant to be worn at parties. Outside the dance clubs, it was all about contemporary, urban chic clothes. This film was all about wearing clothes that fit your personality, not society’s expectations. This film was all about being cool, basically, and what can be trendier than that?
9. Jab We Met (2007) – T-shirts with Patiala salwar pants
No one has ever been able to make T-shirts and Patiala pants look as cool as Kareena Kapoor did in Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met. For the longest time, everyone tried to embrace this combo as their personal fashion mantra. But, we all gave up eventually, at least in public.
10. Cocktail (2012) – Deepika Padukone’s comfy festival-ready outfits
Whoever thought fashion needs to be uncomfortable was clearly not paying attention to everything Bollywood made trendy. Everything that is libertating, including Deepika’s comfy chic, always festival-ready (Coachella, not Kumbh ki mela) outfits has been a bigger trend. We are still not over this one.