New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) A sari-clad woman walking down New York's swish Fifth Avenue would cause any number of heads to turn but sadly, Bollywood, through whose eyes much of the world sees India, has virtually discarded the six-yard wonder.
This despite the fact that Bollywood siren Sridevi wooed Anil Kapoor in "Mr India" in a sari, that Kajol made everyone fall in love with her in "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" and the ever-gorgeous Rekha still swears by it.
These days, on the big screen, most Bollywood actresses are seen in western attire or in fusion wear - but hardly ever in a sari, unless the role involves an older woman.
One reason for this is that art imitates life and vice versa. With today's young people largely opting for Western wear, it was only natural that this would be reflected on the big screen, experts say.
"Today's generation is more inspired by fusion and Western wear," designer Leena Singh of the Ashima-Leena duo said.
She, however, was confident that the sari would one day regain the pre-eminent status it enjoyed in Bollywood till the late 1990s.
Designer Ritu Kumar had a different take on this.
"I do not think that saris have disappeared. They have just shifted from the big screen to the small screen," Kumar told IANS.
"You can see them in different avatars and vibrant colours on the small screen. As a matter of fact, the sari will always remain in fashion one way or the other," she contended.
It's not that the sari has totally disappeared from Bollywood films but its appearances are few and far between.
"This is just a phase. A sari is a designers' paradise and every woman's desire. It will surely make a comeback," Leena Singh maintained.
Earlier, Bollywood producer-director Yash Chopra's movies invariably featured the leading lady in a sari. But today, Western outfits have replaced this trademark of his movies.
One only has to compare his "Silsila" in the early 1980s to "Tara Rum Pum" of 2007 in which Rani Mukerji wears only Western outfits to realise the truth of this.
"Today, young actresses are more comfortable in contemporary Western dresses and their fans, who look up to them, also imitate them," designer Kavita Bhatia pointed out.