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Decades through Bollywood - 50s to 70s

Last week, for a change, I was attending a training as a participant (I am generally the facilitor / trainer, you see) and we were set an impromptu speaking activity. We were given 10 minutes to gather our thoughts & talk about any topic that we wanted for 15 - 20 minutes.

I initially decided to talk about the Decision Making Process, what makes decisions difficult etc. But then a couple of my colleagues convinced me to talk about something more zany (I suppose, since they had chosen topics like "The Metrosexual Man" & "Are Indians Hypocrites?"), so on the spot with 2 minutes remaining I decided to talk about Fashion in Bollywood through the decades.

I reproduce some of the point I spoke about. Please note that these my own observations & inferences, which may or may not be accurate. These are just my opinions.

Bollywood in 50's:
India had just won Independence, there was hope in people's eyes. They were full of optimism despite the fact that there was seering poverty, people who had been uprooted were setteling down, trying to forget the truma of partition.

Most movies were set in villages where most of the population resided, hence you saw village clothes (dhoti, chanya cholis) et al. Those set in cities had men dressing up in dapper suits & women prefered sari's. The dress code was awefully formal. Jeans had not yet arrived in India. In western clothes, the tendency was to imitate the English Babus & Mem's who had just departed our shores, we were now showing them that we too could dress like them.

Bollywood in 60's: The dress code stayed formal but clothes started to get really tight. It was tight, tight chudidars that women had to lie down, and use paper strips to help them glide on from the ankles (This is a first hand account from my mom & aunts). The sari too got tighter around the hips, so women were still covered, yet very tightly so with little left to the imagination. (Think Mumtaz) The men continued to wear suits, but with color movies coming in, some of the suits began to acquire a rather weird colors.

Bollywood in 70's: The golden era according to me. The Flower Power - Hippie Movement had begun to trickle down to bollywood. One saw fitted tops with loose hipsters. Jeans had begun to slowly trickle down into the wardrobe of the Indian heroine. Polka dots were the range, so were knotted tops thanks to Dimple Kapadia in Bobby. Mini skirts which were very popular abroad were showcased in Bobby as well platform shoes. Men wore slim fitted shirts which had flared collars & were printed as well. Synthetic material also found it's way to India & ployester clothes became very popular as shirt material. The 70's also saw the rise of the Angry Young Man - most Indians were dischanted, the promise of the 50's had fallen through thanks to corruption as well as our government's dilly-dallying on communist v/s capatilist policies. The Indian hero now occupied two slots - either the hippie styled college youth or the khoon - paseena labourer who wore basic earth toned clothes tinged with a communist red cloth. Eventually this person would become a smuggler to earn money and would step out in dashing white suits which were very, very loose for some reason.

This is part I of the series, I'll cover the remaining decade in part II. 

Which is your favourite decade out of these? 


  1. this post is very refreshing tanveer..cant wait for the second part...

  2. lovely post Tanveer,do more please :)

  3. WOW! love this post... very well thought and great analysis... can't wait for the second part :)
    thumbsup tanveer :D

  4. Hmmm...that was a refreshing take on the topic..

    My personal preference would be the last one among the three the 70's.

  5. what an observation.... i like the way you've coorrelated fashion with the social atmosphere....

  6. I love when you write posts like this,, so in-depth and refreshing..!!

    I love how you have given your observations linking with the social situations of the time..!!!

    I love the 50s fashion internationally,the longer fitted dresses,the red lippies,the structured suit fr guys.! all that F"ire fly"-esque Shiz.!

  7. My fav will be 50s only and i so want to drape sari's like Mumtaz now ....loved the article Tanz.

  8. this post is great tanveer. I love 70's fashion

  9. Really good post!! Waiting fr the 2nd part!! :)

  10. Can give eye witness account for ur love of this place!!
    U TOTALLY deserved tht happer tht shetty got!! :)
    Nice post!

  11. Lovely post T. laughed so hard @ "It was tight, tight chudidars that women had to lie down, and use paper strips to help them glide on from the ankles...." :D

    My favorite decade was the 70's, I guess...polka dots, mini skirts n all :))


  12. This is a lovely read Tans...leaves me wanting t read more... :)

  13. @Zara: Thanks :D.. next part coming up next week :)

    @CZ: LOL - I got this bit of info frm my mom - she used to do that..

    @Simran: Thanks!

    @IMW: Thanks girl! :D

  14. @GJ: Thanks girl!

    @Ananika: Anks, U can do that style for KC :D

    @Fathima: Thanks a lot babes, actually the events in our society at large play a huge role in style - even makeup gets heavily influenced by it - I'll talk about it some other time :D

    @Anks: Thanks!

    @GGG: Thanks! Even I love the 70's! I love collecting polka dotted hair bands :D

    @samyukta: Thanks!! :D

    @IBC: I will :D :D

    @Pavani: Thanks girl!! :D


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