Bollywood Sarees of the 1970s – Turning Point of Indian Fashion
Bollywood has always influenced the fashion trends of the common Indian. However, no other decade than Bollywood’s Swirling 70’s have influenced the Indian fashion history more. These were the times when Bollywood heroines were coming out of the closets of coyness of the 60’s into the open as independent modern women. It was the age of “Women power.”
The 70’s Bollywood saw heroines sporting a look of carefree dressing, confidence and novel styles of saree designs and draping. From saree blouse designs to the accessories to go with the sarees, everything got a new bolder look. From the simple stylish retro look to the dazzling disco style, the heroines of the 70’s glorified the Indian screen.
Be it Mumtaz, Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh, Rekha, Hema Malini or Jaya Bachchan, each introduced a new style of wearing saree. The unforgettable saree crafted by Oscar Winner, Bhanu Athaiya for Mumtaz in “Aap Ki Kasam” and “Bramhachari,” made Mumtaz sarees eternal. With see-through layered sarees, Mumtaz brought a new way of wearing saree by casing the pallu twice, with the narrow border creating a circle above the waist and another below the knee.
Sharmila Tagore was responsible for initiating the bold look of Bollywood Fashion with synthetic transparent sarees paired with low-neck laced blouses. Even her traditional look in films like “Chupke Chupke” wearing simple patterned cotton sarees was immensely appreciated, even though Jaya Bachchan can be referred to as the Queen of Cotton sarees as worn in films like “Abhimaan,” “Guddi” and “Parichaay.”
When Jaya Bachchan indulged in the simplicity and ethnicity quotient, the glamour quotient was heightened by divas like Hema Malini and Rekha, who sizzled in their Kanjivaram, printed and fashionable sarees. Rekha was the trendsetter of wearing traditional South Indian silk sarees adorned with heavy jewelry. She also made chiffon sarees with halter neck, high neck or noodle strip blouses a popular and glamorous choice.
A trend of wearing Paachwari or Five yards saree with a small pallu was introduced in the Bollywood Sarees of 70’s, by nearly every actress. From Asha Parekh with her tightly worn traditional sarees to reveal the hourglass figure of Indian women to Babita and Rati Agnihotri in “Ek Duje Ke Liye,” every one sported this look. Even Suchitra Sen, with her high-necked, short-sleeved saree blouses was quite appealing.
Reena Roy’s polka dot sarees are still a rave among fashionable women, with the size of the dots varying from small to large. Bags, shoes, shawls, hair accessories, make up also changed with the change in the saree styles and following them became a style statement for the masses.
The Bollywood Saree style of the 70’s are still popular among today’s generation that is why, you still see films like “Om Shanti Om” and advertisements of Dairy Milk chocolate “Aaj pehli taarikh hai…” as a tribute to the golden era of Bollywood Filmy Fashion.