Blast from the past, Bollywood goes vintage

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Call it the filmmaker's confidence in the bygone era or their love for the romanticism of the retro look - Bollywood's forthcoming offerings "Lootera", "Gunday", "Bombay Velvet" and "Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Dobara" have oodles of the past in their look and feel.

The old world charm has gripped Bollywood, a key element of Indian cinema that is celebrating 100 years of its existence this year. But it requires the right mix of research and vision to hit the bull's eye as far as styling such projects is concerned, designers say.

A retro look can be described as anything from the 1930s to the 1960s or even the 1980s, said designer Pria Kataaria Puri, who is responsible for actress Priyanka Chopra's look in the remake of the 1973 film "Zanjeer".

"It's easy to pull off such projects provided you do a bit of research. For example, if you're styling an actress according to the fashion of the 1960s, you know the way they (women) wore saris and eyeliner and made the beehive (hairdo)," Puri told IANS.

There are different examples of films experimenting with some distinct looks of the past - some focus on bell-bottoms and some on fitted short kurtis, while others are inspired by the Sadhana cut, the bouffant, the cat eye makeup, the oversized glasses and the hairbands, as well as the unique sari drapes.

"Lootera", a period romance drama set in the West Bengal of 1950, spells the vintage flavour from the word go - Ranveer Singh sports a clean-shaven, hatted and neat look, complete with crisp white shirts and chic braces to hold up his trousers. His on-screen lady love, essayed by Sonakshi Sinha, is seen in simple saris teamed with quarter-sleeved blouses and a big round bindi.

Fashion from the past years also reflects in "Gunday", set in the Kolkata of 1971 to 1988. True to its time period, the film's lead actress, Priyanka Chopra, dons a stunning retro look, with sensuous saris, sleeveless blouses and long tresses.

Similar is the case for "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara", with the story backdropped against Mumbai of the late 1980s.

In her new film "Bombay Velvet", actress Anushka Sharma will reportedly go retro as the movie chronicles the evolution of Mumbai over a period of two decades.

The trend is surely up and coming!

Ace designer Anju Modi, who has designed costumes for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's period drama "Ram Leela", co-starring Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra, said it is the "romanticism of the retro look" which inspires filmmakers to dig into the past.

"They like to recreate the old world charm. While there is no dearth of stories that they can derive from the modern era, there is a certain glamour that constantly draws Bollywood filmmakers to the retro look," Modi told IANS.

Globally known designer Ritu Kumar said of the trend: "It is a measure of confidence in India's history and identity that any industry goes looking back to recreate a bygone feel and touch."

Designer and stylist Pernia Qureshi, who was behind Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor's uber chic style in "Aisha", believed "Indian films have now started taking fashion more seriously".

"People have realised how styling can play a key role in portraying exactly what is needed," Qureshi told IANS.

"To go deep into a character, the clothing, accessories and the overall look are vital. The retro look is about imitating the styles from the past without losing out on the modernity of the clothing and the looks so that it is relatable to the people of today's day and age," she added.

However, Modi said, designers and filmmakers must work closely to get the desired effect for such projects.

"Creative freedom is a must, which is also why most filmmakers prefer fashion designers assisting with the costumes for their movies. A lot of research went into Deepika's look for 'Ram Leela'.

"However, since Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a very creative man, it was interesting how he and I tried to create a different look by putting our minds together," Modi said.

Filmmakers have also harkened to the bygone era in the recent past.

Actress Aishwarya Rai played a 1970s' girl in retro comedy "Action Replayy", and her attire was in tune with the theme. Even Deepika Padukone spelt style galore in retro outfits in her Bollywood debut "Om Shanti Om".

In "The Dirty Picture", Vidya Balan also sported colourful retro styles, complete with the bandana, and "Once Upon A time In Mumbaai" saw actresses Kangna Ranaut and Prachi Desai in some evergreen styles.

Don't they say old is gold?

(Nivedita can be contacted at nivedita.s@ians.in)

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