By Hindol Sengupta, IANS
New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) With two mega period films "Parineeta" and "Paheli" releasing within days of each other, Bollywood -- that evergreen harbinger of style in India -- has brought back what our grandparents knew best.
Namely, large, stiff collars, sharply cut shirts and trousers, folded cuffs joined by cufflinks, crochet and boots and high heels and delectable kurtas, cut on the side or the more common round-neck worn with neat dhotis or churidars.
All together a mingling of the late 1960s going back to 1940s and 1950s era that includes everything from the seductive red saris and kurtas of Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee in "Paheli" to the white vest and dark trouser (with cigarette dangling from the lips) dare-do of Saif Ali Khan, as he croons Elvis' "I get so lonely I could die" in "Parineeta".
"The classic look is very interesting," said Rocky S., one of Bollywood's best-known clothes-makers. "Fashion goes in a cycle, so we had the whole grunge, street thing and now, the whole dressed up look is coming back," said the designer who has entered the realm of high-end Western wear with his Boulevard Benzer line.
Suits that had begun to get a sense of casualness, coupled with T-shirts or vests, are getting back their dressiness. Ties, even stretched to flashy bows are coming back, as are the kurtas worn by the Khans.
The greatest symbol of traditional elegance this summer is Saif Ali Khan in his side-cut white kurta sitting and strumming his guitar on the boat in "Parineeta", with Vidya Balan in her cotton sari and lace hinted blouse at his side.
In fact, the great sartorial success of "Parineeta" has been to evoke a sense of refined nostalgia without going over-the-top ostentatious like in "Devdas".
There are no top hats, no suspenders and no unnecessary cane.
Instead, there are those lovely suits that Saif Ali Khan wears, including the one at the races. And the red tinted shades that he wears are as close to deliciously retro as you can go this summer.
"The classic look is very becoming," said Sabyasachi Mukherjee. "There is a dash and sparkle in it."
And what can one say about the saris that Vidya Balan wears in "Parineeta", the sheer delicacy of coral lace, and the essentially seductive red of Rani Mukherjee's sari in "Paheli".
Also in "Paheli" there is much to rave about Shah Rukh's bare-chested appeal (very rare, and so, very talked about), which is turning out to be the summer's scorcher sex symbol beating Mallika Sherawat's oft seen cleavage hands down.