Bollywood's expanding universe

Bollywood's expanding universe

Bollywood's expanding universe

A soft light highlights the runway. Voices of Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Pran and Amrish Puri begin to reverberate in the background. Models saunter in wearing glittering masks. Within seconds, the ramp is illuminated and the ‘Bombay Bioscope’ – designer Nida Mahmood’s latest collection at the recently concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Spring Summer 2014 is unveiled for her eager audience.  


From Hema Malini in Sholay to Zeenat Aman in Hare Rama Hare Krishna to Amrish Puri’s unforgettable Mogambo - digital prints showcase these stars in all the outfits. Indeed, a most colourful and attractive collection.

“This is the second time that I have incorporated Bollywood in my work,” says Nida, who calls her collection An Ode to Indian Cinema. “Undoubtedly, cinema in all these years has given memories we will remember all our lives. It is these memories that makes cinema expand its contours and enter into fields like fashion,” says Nida.

Like Nida, who believes Indian cinema inspires everyone to do something related to it, Nikki Duggal, a digital artist, who presented her artwork on Bollywood villains at the United Art Fair recently also accepts this. Her interest has always been popular culture in India. So, she created narratives using themes such as Villains from Bollywood. Her collection resonated with film posters but she had made them using screen-printing techniques.

“The choice of villains is reflective of India’s relationship with moving images – they are equally feared on onscreen as adored off screen – thus showing the audience’s ability to deal with ambiguities of positive-negative roles,” says Nikki. According to her, depiction of villains as iconic stars reflects their huge mass popularity, often matching that
of heroes.

“I have been entertained by them for all these years. Therefore incorporating them into my work comes naturally. There are people who appreciate it and there are those who say it’s crap. I feel Bollywood’s association with art is creative and adds fun to work,” says Nikki. 

However, filmmaker Anil Sharma, when talking to Metrolife about expansion of cinema to fashion and arts, calls it marketing strategy. “A director always takes the conscience of society into account whereas an actor conveys that feeling onscreen. Bollywood sells on this basic fundamental. So, if people are inspired, designers, craftsmen and artists are no different.

“Designers also know that their product will sell easily if it has something to do with Bollywood. There’s nothing wrong with it because it is marketing strategy. Secondly, anything related to films comes to notice easily,” says Anil.

He recalls a time when he and his friends used to follow Rajesh Khanna’s style. “I used to sport the same clothes as Rajeshji. Then came a time when people copied Amitabh Bachchan’s style. At present, everyone wants to reap benefits out of Bollywood’s imprint on people’s minds,” says Anil.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox